GLORIA CHENG, described by the San Francisco Chronicle as “one of the heroes of the new-music world,” is widely recognized as an insightful and communicative performer of contemporary music. She is the most recent winner of the Grammy for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without Orchestra) for her most recent Telarc premiere recording of works by Witold Lutoslawski, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Steven Stucky.
Cheng has twice been a featured soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group at Alice Tully Hall, and made her solo debut with the full orchestra in 1998, performing Messiaen’s Oiseaux exotiques and Couleurs de la cité céleste under the direction of Zubin Mehta. In May 2003, Cheng was invited by Pierre Boulez to appear with him in the L. A. Philharmonic’s historic final concerts in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, again performing Oiseaux exotiques. Recent orchestral engagements include appearances with the Louisville, Pacific, Long Beach, Indianapolis, and Pasadena symphony orchestras. Cheng has appeared in festivals at Ojai, Tanglewood, Aspen, Bad Gleichenberg, Kuhmo (Finland), and the Chicago Humanities and Other Minds festivals. As a soloist she has appeared at Lincoln Center, Radio France, the Kennedy Center, (le) Poisson Rouge, and the Théâtre du Châtelet. In Los Angeles Cheng performs an annual recital on the Piano Spheres series, collaborates with a number of chamber ensembles – most notably with the Calder Quartet and Jacaranda – and has been featured in numerous film scores.
Cheng’s solo discography includes her highly praised debut CD of music by Messiaen on Koch, and two 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 Best of 2008, and a Grammy.
Cheng received her B.A. in Economics from Stanford University, graduate degrees in Music from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Southern California, and pursued post-graduate studies in Paris and Barcelona. Her primary teachers were Isabelle Sant’Ambrogio, Aube Tzerko, and John Perry. She is on the faculty at UCLA.