Originally from Atlanta. Georgia, Jordan Dale (MM ’23, Instrumental and Orchestral Studies, oboe) graduated from The Tianjin Juilliard School in May 2023. Upon graduating, he joined the oboe section of the Chengdu Symphony Orchestra, covering a range of positions, from principal to English horn.  

During his time at Tianjin Juilliard, Jordan was an active part of the community, participating and organizing events on campus. At commencement, Jordan also received the Dean’s List Award.

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Jordan Dale (MM ’23, oboe) on the commencement ceremony in 2023.

What are your favorite memories of Tianjin Juilliard? 

I think some might expect me to offer a specific performance of a piece I like, but when one gets to play good music with good musicians all the time, the concerts kind of run together in the mind. The performances were all great experiences, but that became expected in the culture of excellence at Tianjin Juilliard. The times that stick out the most are those that offered a change of pace or scenery. I spent my first New Year’s Eve in China in Shanghai with new friends, which was so much fun after getting to play some great chamber music with students of the Shanghai Orchestral Academy. The following summer, I was lucky to get to play some great chamber music with my closest friends both in the student-organized Ensemble Plus and in the city of Qingdao.  

What is a typical day for you when working in Chengdu?   

In the morning, I rehearse for work, followed by lunch, and then afternoon rehearsal. I usually practice and prepare for the upcoming rehearsals at home. As a professional, sometimes we may have 4 concerts in a week, and sometimes we only get one rehearsal before a concert, so the pace of the preparation is very fast.

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How did you decide on studying at Tianjin Juilliard? 

I had worked very hard to establish myself in Austin, Texas, I was subbing in several orchestras and had accumulated over 30 students. I had no intention of going back to school until the opportunity presented itself, and I only applied to Tianjin Juilliard. One of my friends from the United States learned of the school, and she encouraged me to apply after she spent her first semester at Tianjin Juilliard. The pandemic created a reason for me to look for a change in my life, and Juilliard carried enough weight for me to consider a change so significant as this. I had been taking auditions in the US for several years at that point and had come close to getting a job in an orchestra. I thought returning to school might help get me in better shape and refine my playing enough to have a successful audition.  

What unique opportunities were available at Tianjin Juilliard?

In my first year, we were very fortunate to have many guest conductors come and work with our school orchestra. This is something that I had never experienced in other schools, and I think it was incredibly beneficial for me, especially as an international student in China. I would otherwise not have much exposure to the significant figures in the orchestras of China, and playing for them helped me be more comfortable and confident in auditions. I now play in an orchestra whose Music Director, Chen Lin, conducted my first performance at the school. Last month, Jing Huan greeted me by name when she came to Chengdu to conduct our New Year's Celebration concert, so this exposure to conductors at our school has been significant. 

Did the school provide you with professional development support?  

Being at Tianjin Juilliard allowed me to take part in auditions that I would have never had access to in America. The school encouraged us to take part in  auditions and helped us explore job opportunities. I had a lot of assistance from the Office of Student Development with planning travel, extending my residence permit, working with visas, and many other aspects of navigating life as an international student. The facilities in the school are spectacular. Student grants were very helpful in allowing me to take some auditions. Professional development from internships might prove to be helpful in the future. Many musicians go on to work in some capacity of arts leadership, management, or in the music library. It’s important to have well-rounded experiences, in case a job in performance is not immediately available. For me personally, I imagine that my experience as an English language assistant will continue to prove quite useful. 

Looking ahead, do you have any specific goals in mind?  

Going forward, I am just trying to stay optimistic. For now, I am in a lovely city and fortunate to have kind coworkers I like. I hope that I can fit in at my new job and that we can grow together as an orchestra in the coming years. My main personal goal is to become a better Chinese speaker.