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Cellist | Chang Chen-chieh

  • Date:2023-08-23
Chang Chen-chieh

Chinese Name: 張正傑

Born: 1961

Place of Birth: Keelung City (Northern Taiwan)


Did You Know?

Chang Chen-chieh was discovered to have a natural talent for music at a young age by his father, who decided to let him learn an instrument. To encourage him, his father allowed him to choose the instrument he wanted to learn. Surprisingly, Chang chose the cello. The reason behind his choice was not because of its deep and beautiful sound, its unique look, or a desire to stand out, but simply because he could sit down while playing it, unlike the violin which required standing and was too tiring.

Chang Chen-chieh started learning to play the cello at the age of seven. At 12, he won first place in the national music competition for three consecutive years and even represented the country on a tour in the United States. From the ages of 15 to 28, he studied abroad in Europe, obtaining performance diplomas from the Sibelius Academy in Finland and the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna in Austria. In 1989, Chang returned to Taiwan and became a university professor. He currently holds a full-time professorship at National Taiwan Ocean University and a part-time professorship at Soochow University’s Department of Music.


Chang appreciates that introducing classical music in a relaxed and concise manner can bridge the gap between the audience and the music. As a result, he pioneered solo concerts with personal explanations and organized various alternative concerts, such as prenatal concerts, parent-child concerts, concerts for children with cancer, and wheelchair concerts. These concerts allow pregnant women, infants, children with cancer, and wheelchair users, who would not normally have the opportunity to attend concerts, to enjoy the beauty of classical music.

In an interview, Chang Chen-chieh mentioned that after watching the movie "The Shawshank Redemption," he applied to the Ministry of Justice to hold a concert in a prison and then performed for the inmates at Lyudao Prison (綠島監獄). In addition to prisons, he has performed in hospitals, factories, and campuses.


Chang integrates classical music into everyday life, expanding its presence beyond concert halls. He enjoys performing with a playful attitude, combining different elements and inspirations from life. He takes his performances seriously, incorporating cross-genre performances. In his concerts, he brings together Peking opera, Taiwanese opera, puppet shows, fashion shows, and a mix of Eastern and Western music, challenging the pipa with his cello performance.


Chang Chen-chieh constantly experiments with and unleashes his creativity, breaking away from the traditional format of concerts and bringing music outdoors. He successfully brought classical music to Taroko Gorge in eastern Taiwan, as well as venues such as the Taipei Zoo, Zhaishan Tunnel (翟山坑道) in Kinmen, and Longpan Park (龍磐公園) in Pingtung’s Kenting. His goal is to allow more people to appreciate classical music in different settings. As a result, he founded the Taroko Gorge Music Festival and the Kinmen Tunnel Music Festival.

In 2018, Chang Chen-chieh broke his left wrist in a bicycle accident in Vienna. However, he never canceled any of his performances. Some friends suggested that he take a three-month break to recover, but Chang insisted on not resting. Even in his first concert after the injury, he came up with the idea of using his nose to replace his left hand to play the cello. Chang Chen-chieh said, "Doing this gives me hope. Even if my left hand becomes useless, I can still play the cello in other ways!" Fortunately, through active rehabilitation and treatment, his left hand fully recovered, and Chang has gratefully continued playing the cello, considering it a gift from the heavens.

After the stabilization of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2023, Chang Chen-chieh initiated a 10-year plan called the "Journey to the Ends of the Earth Concerts (走遍天涯海角音樂會)," aiming to hold 100 concerts throughout Taiwan. This cellist recognizes that many children in remote areas of Taiwan have limited access to classical music due to the urban-rural divide or economic factors. He hopes to share the beauty of music with these students and has volunteered to design special concerts for them in remote areas. He plans to travel to various rural campuses in Taiwan with his cello, bringing music, love, and inspiration to these children.