"Pianist Gloria Cheng is one of the most adventurous interpreters of contemporary music around, and in a spectacular recital on Friday at the University of Maryland's Gildenhorn Recital Hall — consisting almost entirely of works written in the 21st century — she showed just how surprising, eclectic and emotionally engaging the contemporary piano repertoire can be."
— The Washington Post
Grammy-winning pianist Gloria Cheng has been a recitalist at the Ojai Festival, William Kapell Festival, and Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, and has performed on leading concert series including Carnegie Hall's Making Music, Cal Performances, San Francisco Performances, and Stanford Lively Arts.
In recital and on recording Cheng explores meaningful interrelations between composers, as in her 2008 release, Piano Music of Esa-Pekka Salonen, Steven Stucky, and Witold Lutosławski, which captured the Grammy for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance [without Orchestra]. Her second Grammy nomination followed for her 2013 recording, The Edge of Light: Messiaen/Saariaho. 2015 saw the launch of MONTAGE: Great Film Composers and the Piano, a themed recital, CD, and award-winning film (Breakwater Studios), featuring works composed for her by Bruce Broughton, Don Davis, Alexandre Desplat, Michael Giacchino, Randy Newman, and John Williams. The film was broadcast six times during the spring of 2017 on PBS SoCal.
Cheng was the last soloist to appear in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion with the Los Angeles Philharmonic during its historic final concerts there in 2003 under Pierre Boulez; at Mr. Boulez's personal invitation she performed Messiaen's Oiseaux exotiques with the orchestra. Cheng's concerto debut with the L.A. Philharmonic was in 1998 under the direction of Zubin Mehta. Other concerto engagements have included appearances with the Louisville Orchestra, Indianapolis, Shanghai, Pasadena, Long Beach, and Pacific symphonies.
Recent seasons have seen Cheng and pianist/composer Thomas Adès join together to premiere of Adès' 2-piano Concert Paraphrase on Powder Her Face, the premiere of the late Steven Stucky's Piano Sonata on the Piano Spheres series, and coast-to-coast screening/recitals of MONTAGE: Great Film Composers and the Piano, with one or more of the celebrated composers in attendance. Cheng has curated programs such as Music at Black Mountain College for the Hammer Museum; BEYOND MUSIC: Composition and Performance in the Age of Augmented Reality at UCLA, an international gathering of composers and media artists featuring the music of Kaija Saariaho and Jean-Baptiste Barriere; and a daylong symposium at UCLA celebrating the 70th birthday of composer John Adams entitled Inside the (G)Earbox.
In Los Angeles Cheng has been a frequent guest on the L.A. Philharmonic Green Umbrella series, performing works such as Elliott Carter's Double Concerto for Piano and Harpsichord conducted by Oliver Knussen, John Cage's Concerto for Prepared Piano, and the world premiere of Esa-Pekka Salonen's Dichotomie, composed for and dedicated to her.
Cheng's countless premieres, commissions, and dedications come from a varied and distinguished roster of composers who include John Adams, Gerald Barry, George Benjamin, Gavin Bryars, Daniel Strong Godfrey, John Harbison, Joan Huang, William Kraft, Veronika Krausas, Magnus Lindberg, James Newton Jr., Bernard Rands, Terry Riley, Carl Stone, Steven Stucky, Stephen Andrew Taylor, Claude Vivier, Andrew Waggoner, and Gernot Wolfgang.
Cheng received her B.A. in Economics from Stanford University, followed by graduate degrees in Music from UCLA, where she studied with Aube Tzerko, and from the University of Southern California as a student of John Perry. She teaches at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music where she has initiated classes that unite performers and composers. She is often invited to speak as an advocate for contemporary music, and in 2012 served as Regents Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley.
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