GLORIA CHENG BIO
Pianist GLORIA CHENG, winner of the 2009 GRAMMY® for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without Orchestra), is widely recognized as a colorful and communicative interpreter of contemporary music. She has garnered universal acclaim for her unassuming virtuosity and eloquence, and has premiered dozens of new compositions, including works composed for her by John Adams, Mark Applebaum, Pierre Boulez, Joan Huang, David Raksin, Terry Riley, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Stephen Andrew Taylor, Chinary Ung, and Andrew Waggoner. Cheng’s passionate dedication to contemporary music has brought about close collaborations with many of the leading composers of our time: Thomas Adès, Henry Brant, Earle Brown, Elliott Carter, George Crumb, John Harbison, György Ligeti, Witold Lutoslawski, Steve Reich, and Steven Stucky.
On the world premiere of Salonen’s Dichotomie, composed for and dedicated to Cheng, the Los Angeles Times described her performance as “miraculous in the sheer speed and sureness of her fingers, in the rich depth of color and sonority she obtained from the piano, and in the sheer expression of joy she brought to a demanding new work.” The New York Times has praised her “commanding technique, color and imagination..”
Cheng has twice been featured with the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group at Alice Tully Hall, and made her solo debut with the L.A. Philharmonic in December, 1998, performing Messiaen’s Oiseaux exotiques and Couleurs de la cité céleste under the direction of Zubin Mehta. In May 2003, Cheng was personally invited by Pierre Boulez to appear with him in the L. A. Philharmonic's historic final concerts in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, again performing Messiaen's Oiseaux exotiques. Recent engagements include appearances with the Pacific Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Long Beach Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Shanghai Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, Opus Novum (Hawaii), Composers Inc., and San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. Additional projects have brought Cheng to festivals at Ojai, Tanglewood, Aspen, Bad Gleichenberg, and Kuhmo (Finland), to the Chicago Humanities, Other Minds (San Francisco), and Composer-to-Composer (Telluride) Festivals, and to venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Radio France, Kennedy Center, and the Théatre du Châtelet.
As the 1992 winner of the League of Composers/ISCM performer competition, Cheng was sponsored in an acclaimed solo debut recital at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. In Los Angeles she appears annually on the Piano Spheres concert series founded by Leonard Stein and collaborates with a number of chamber ensembles, most notably with the Calder Quartet and on the Jacaranda Music series. She has been featured in film scores by composers such as Don Davis, Danny Elfman, James Horner, Maurice Jarre, David Newman, and John Williams.
Cheng's solo discography includes her first highly praised CD of music by Olivier Messiaen on Koch, and two critically acclaimed Telarc releases: Piano Music of John Adams and Terry Riley and Piano Dance: A 20th-Century Portrait. In July 2008 Cheng’s newest Telarc disc: Piano Music of Esa-Pekka Salonen, Steven Stucky, and Witold Lutoslawski, was released to international accolades that include Gramophone Magazine's Editor's Choice, New York Times Record of the Year, and the GRAMMY® for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance.
Cheng’s writings have appeared in Piano Today, Piano & Keyboard Magazine, and New Music Box, and in 2005 she was the keynote speaker at the national convention of the Music Critics Association of North America. Cheng has served as a panelist for the Minnesota Composers Forum, Coleman Chamber Music Competition, California Arts Council, the U.S. Festivals’ Fund, and as a board member of the American Music Center.
Prior to post-graduate studies in Paris and Barcelona, Cheng earned her B.A. in Economics from Stanford University, and graduate degrees in Music from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Southern California. Her primary teachers were Isabelle Sant'Ambrogio, Aube Tzerko, and John Perry. She is on the faculty at UCLA.
Visit Gloria's website at: www.gloriachengpiano.com