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Taiwan trumpeter loving life playing in mainland orchestra

Updated: Mar 22, 2024 By Zhao Ruinan in Nanchang China Daily Print
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Chen Yen-wei (middle) poses with his colleagues from the Nanchang Symphony Orchestra. [Photo for China Daily]

Chen Yen-wei, a Taiwan musician, enjoys a simple and comfortable life in Nanchang, the capital of East China's Jiangxi province. He is passionate about playing the trumpet and is fortunate to be doing what he loves.

On weekdays, he wakes up at around 9 am and prepares breakfast before heading to work at the Nanchang Symphony Orchestra by 10 am. As a trumpeter, he follows the day's schedule, which includes practicing and rehearsing. After taking a short nap at around 1:30 pm, he continues practicing until 4 or 5 pm before wrapping up his day.

"The Nanchang Symphony Orchestra has dozens of members, each with their roles. Basically, our work consists of practice, orchestra rehearsals and performances. Life is quite simple here, and it suits my expectations," said the 33-year-old.

This is Chen's third year living on the Chinese mainland.

In 2021, amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Taiwan, Chen found himself out of work for nearly three months. Seeing a recruitment notice from the Liangshan Symphony Orchestra in Sichuan province, he decided to give it a shot.

After arriving, Chen found playing the trumpet in the mountainous area to be an enthralling experience. The scenery, air quality, environment and pace of life were all marvelous. It was just as he had imagined.

After one and a half years, when Chen's contract expired, he still wanted to continue working and living on the mainland. So, he joined the Nanchang Symphony Orchestra and signed a three-year contract. "It's quite convenient for me to work and live on the mainland, with a travel permit for Taiwan residents. I'm quite satisfied with my current life," Chen said.

The mainland has been continually improving its policies for Taiwan compatriots. In 2021, Jiangxi released 60 measures to encourage Taiwan people to work and invest on the mainland, covering areas such as healthcare, buying property and tourism.

Chen started learning the trumpet in his early teens and was a freelancer before coming to the mainland. "I performed in concerts and taught trumpet to primary and secondary school students, but it was always unstable. I just wanted to find a quiet place to do what I love — playing musical instruments. I feel like I've found that here," he said.

He enjoys traveling around the mainland in his free time. He has explored popular cities such as Shanghai, Suzhou in Jiangsu province, and Changsha in Hunan province. "Compared to Taiwan, the Chinese mainland is vast, with many fun places to explore. I usually take a short trip every one or two months," he said.

Apart from being an avid traveler, Chen is also a vlogger. He occasionally uploads vlogs documenting his daily life and travels onto video platforms such as YouTube and Bilibili.

He sees himself as a messenger and aims to promote mutual understanding between young people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

"Most Taiwan people rely on local media for information, but it can be inaccurate and misleading at times. My friends like to watch my videos and told me that they are impressed by what life is like on the Chinese mainland.

"I hope that by doing so, I can help bridge the gap between both sides of the Taiwan Strait," Chen said.

When asked why he chose to work in Nanchang instead of heading to major cities such as Beijing or Shanghai, Chen said: "I've been to places like Shanghai and Beijing, where my friends lead busy, tiring lives with no time to enjoy themselves. That's not the kind of life I want.

"Living in Nanchang is comfortable and affordable. I enjoy playing my trumpet, working out at a nearby gym, and traveling during my free time. That's the lifestyle I desire."

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