The Usual Suspects

Gio Washington-Wright's Top L.A. Studio Musicians Tribute Site


Photo Credit: Dan Goldwasser / scoringsessions.com
Grammy-winning pianist Gloria Cheng, described by the New York Times as "an invaluable new-music advocate and a preferred collaborator of composers like Pierre Boulez and Esa-Pekka Salonen," is widely hailed as a compelling and eloquent performer of new works. She is often cited for tapping the emotional core of contemporary music, and her recitals and recordings are noted for exploring significant interconnections between composers. Again according to the New York Times, "It's not just that Ms. Cheng plays these daunting pieces with such commanding technique, color and imagination. She has brought together works that fascinatingly complement one another."

Ms. Cheng appears on over twenty recordings, with solo discs that showcase the range of her taste in contemporary music: Piano Music of John Adams and Terry Riley, Piano Dance: A 20th-Century Portrait (both on Telarc), and her most recent Telarc recording, Piano Music of Esa-Pekka Salonen, Steven Stucky, and Witold Lutoslawski, which garnered international accolades culminating in her 2009 GRAMMY® for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance. A forthcoming disc of solo and chamber works by Olivier Messiaen and Kaija Saariaho, in collaboration with the award-winning Calder Quartet, will appear in 2012 on the Harmonia mundi label.

BBC Music Magazine has declared, "Cheng is a winner (no wonder one of her greatest fans is Boulez)." It was Pierre Boulez who invited Ms. Cheng to perform as soloist in Messiaen's Oiseaux exotiques during the Los Angeles Philharmonic's historic final concerts in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. She performed with Mr. Boulez most recently in March 2011, in his iconic Sur Incises, for the L.A. Phil's tribute to the late Ernest Fleischmann.

Ms. Cheng's concerto debut with the L.A. Philharmonic was in 1998, performing Messiaen's Oiseaux exotiques and Couleurs de la Cité céleste under the direction of Zubin Mehta. Other concerto engagements have included appearances with the Louisville Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, Shanghai Symphony, and Pacific Symphony. Festival highlights include recitals at Ojai, Bad Gleichenberg (Austria), the Chicago Humanities Festival, and Tanglewood, where she will return this season to perform the opening recital of the 2012 Festival of Contemporary Music. She has been featured on leading concert series that include Carnegie Hall's Making Music, Cal Performances, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Engine408, Stanford Lively Arts, and at (le) Poisson Rouge.

In Los Angeles Ms. Cheng has appeared on countless L.A. Philharmonic Green Umbrella concerts in repertoire that ranged from Elliott Carter's Double Concerto for Piano and Harpsichord conducted by Oliver Knussen to Esa-Pekka Salonen's Dichotomie, composed for and dedicated to her, in its premiere performance. She presents an annual recital on the Piano Spheres 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. At the request of film composers who include Don Davis, James Horner, Maurice Jarre, and John Williams, Ms. Cheng has been featured in numerous movie soundtracks that range from The Matrix trilogy to The Adventures of Tin Tin.

With dozens of commissions, premieres and dedications from a distinguished roster of composers who include John Adams, Mark Applebaum, Pierre Boulez, Daniel Godfrey, John Harbison, Joan Huang, James Newton, Bernard Rands, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Carl Stone, Stephen Andrew Taylor, Andrew Waggoner, and Gernot Wolfgang, Ms. Cheng has also enjoyed close associations with many others: Thomas Adès, Henry Brant, Earle Brown, Elliott Carter, George Crumb, William Kraft, György Ligeti, Witold Lutoslawski, and Steven Stucky.

Ms. 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. In addition to solfège and piano studies in Paris and Barcelona, her primary teachers were Isabelle Sant'Ambrogio, Aube Tzerko, and John Perry. She is on the faculty at UCLA, and has been named 2012 Regents Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley.

 

2012     The Amazing Spider-Man [Music from the Motion Picture]     James Horner     Piano
2011     Arthur [2011]         Keyboards
2011     The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn [Music from the Motion Picture]     Keyboards
2011     War Horse [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]         Piano
2009     The Uninvited [Original Motion Picture Score]     Christopher Young     Piano
2008     The Curious Case of Benjamin Button [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]     Celeste
2007     August Rush         Piano
2005     An Unfinished Life [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]     Deborah Lurie     Piano
2005     Munich [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]     John Williams     Piano
1990     Jacob's Ladder     Maurice Jarre     Piano

 


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