China Huskies

Husky profile: Zhao-Rong Chen, ’99


Zhao-Rong Chen has been instrumental in strengthening the relationship between the UW and China. In 2013, he helped the UW Wind Ensemble orchestrate its first trip to China with a series of six special performances around Beijing, including a sold-out concert the National Center for Performing Arts in Tienanmen Square. The concert was popular; it was broadcast on Chinese national television, and was featured on national newscasts the same week. “It was a very successful trip. I was happy to make the connections for my alma mater,” he said.

Zhao-Rong’s road to Seattle began in Beijing. He played both the Chinese bamboo and western flutes in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Academy of the Arts and PLA Band for 16 years, but wanted a deeper mastery of the western version. He met an American flute teacher visiting China who convinced him to bring his talents to the United States.

Zhao-Rong chose the UW because he was impressed by the warmth and knowledge of the School of Music’s faculty and felt at home thanks to the strong Chinese community in Seattle. After four and a half years in the School of Music’s doctoral program, he took his skills back home to Beijing and is now Professor of Flute at the China Conservatory.