On the Couch with Belle Chen

OzAsia-21-Belle-Chen-photo-by-Bobby-WilliamsWho is Belle Chen?
I am a pianist-composer whose work blurs between multiple genres – mainly classical, jazz, world and experimental. I was born in Kaohsiung, raised in Brisbane and now living in London.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I would be doing the same thing, just more of it, and in a world without COVID.

Who inspires you and why?
This may sound a bit odd: I find inspiration in everyone. In general, I’m fascinated by people – I feel like observing the stories of others enable me to catch a glimpse of a life and story that is different from mine.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I hope that through my music, I create a pocket of space for listeners to breathe, think, engage, imagine and converse. I hope to create this safe pocket of space in a world that may feel increasingly chaotic. Empathy, kindness, curiosity and openness are also values I hold very closely, and this is communicated through the work I create, as well as through my growing community of listeners. I hope that my work will be able to contribute to the broader humanity – to balance out the tension, the ‘hustle’, uncertainty, the darker sides of life – one listener at a time.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I don’t really have a singular answer for this question as there are many places that I enjoy visiting. I feel like there’s so much of the world that I have yet to discover… also, every destination has a personality of their own so it’s a bit difficult to choose a favourite!

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
In London, I’d take them to see concerts, shows, and art galleries; followed by dinner in Soho and a stroll to and along the Thames, passing by some stunning architecture and cityscape. In Brisbane, I’d take them to beaches near Burleigh, followed by a walk along Southbank and drinks at Howard Smith Wharves In Kaohsiung, I’d take them for a ride on the scooter around Cijin, taste some seafood there, catch the sunset at Sizihwan, then a drink and karaoke by the Love River.

What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading The Art of Partimento by Giorgio Sanguinetti.

What are you currently listening to?
I’ve been listening to Keith Jarrett’s 2015 live album Creation.

Happiness is?
A choice.

What does the future hold for you?
A lifetime of music and exploration.

Belle presents the Australian premiere of Destinations – a celebration of our planet in all its splendor, see the stage transformed through an enthralling synergy of music and sound art – at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide on Thursday 21 October – as part of the 2021 OzAsia Festival. For more information, visit: www.ozasiafestival.com.au for details.

Image: Belle Chen – photo by Bobby Williams