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
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.