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Michele Cheng is an interdisciplinary composer and improviser-performer intertwining diverse media such as music, theatre, visuals, and puppetry to engage with social issues and cultural identities. Through a journalistic approach to interview and research, she develops creative work that shines light on underrepresented narratives. Her works have been performed internationally at National Sawdust, Roulette, MATA, CCRMA, ICMC, ISSTA, SICMF, SEAMUS, Sonorities, MANTIS, NYCEMF, eavesdropping, New Music Gathering, White Snake Project, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon, among others. Michele plays multiple instruments and builds custom instruments and puppets. She has shared the stage with artists from various disciplines. She is a co-founder of the experimental pop duo Meoark and fff, an interdisciplinary improv collective led by feminist media artists. Michele was recently awarded the New Music USA Creator Development Fund and a scholarship from Atlantic Center for the Arts. She is currently a JACK Studio artist commissioned by the JACK Quartet and an author commissioned by the American Composers Forum and I Care If You Listen for their "Casting Light" essay series.
Michele Cheng is an interdisciplinary composer and improviser-performer intertwining diverse media such as music, theatre, visuals, and puppetry to engage with social issues and cultural identities. Through a journalistic approach to interview and research, she develops creative work that shines light on underrepresented narratives. Examples of her work include: Voir dire, a modern fairytale about criminal justice; Speed Dating, a three-screen video piece in ambisonics with puppetry on Asian American's dating culture; Doyennes' Diaries, an electroacoustic work with self-built instruments and narrated diaries from women-identified artists; A Different Reality, an intermedia project examining today’s world through lens of the next generation by incorporating interviews with kids; Jaack, a musical puppet theatre work for the JACK Quartet with hand-made puppets, interactive visuals, AI images, and a custom smart mirror; and OMW, a feature-length documentary film interviewing Taiwanese-American artists in Southern California.
Her works have been presented at Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon (France), Sonic Arts Research Centre (UK), Podium Gigant (Netherlands), Karol Lipiński Academy of Music (Poland), Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal (Canada), Seoul Arts Center (South Korea), National Theatre & Concert Hall (Taiwan), National Taichung Theater (Taiwan), and throughout the United States at National Sawdust (Brooklyn, NY), Roulette (Brooklyn, NY), Bing Concert Hall (Stanford, CA), Orange County Museum of Arts (Santa Ana, CA), Experimental Media Performance Lab (Irvine, CA), Emerson Paramount Theatre (Boston, MA), among others.
She has been featured by MATA Festival (NYC, US), CCRMA Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (Stanford, US), ICMC International Computer Music Conference (Santiago, CL), ISSTA Irish Sound, Science & Technology Association (IE), Sonorities Festival Belfast (Belfast, UK), MANTIS Festival (Manchester, UK), SICMF Seoul International Computer Music Festival (Seoul, KR), SEAMUS The Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (US), NYCEMF The New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival (NYC, US), ESPACIOS SONOROS (Salta, AR), New Music Gathering (Portland, US), eavesdropping symposium (London, UK), TMAO Thailand Music and Art Organization (Bangkok, TH), Vu Symposium (Park City, US), Hot Air Festival (San Francisco, US), White Snake Project (Boston, US), Resonance Works (Pittsburgh, US), UCI Illuminations (Irvine, US), 26th Young Composers Meeting (NL), New Music On The Point (US), and LMCML Laboratoire de musique contemporaine de Montréal (CA).
She has worked with ensembles including International Contemporary Ensemble (US), orkest de ereprijs (Netherlands), Ensemble Instrumental de l'ESM Bourgogne-Franche-Comté (France), NOMON (US), Amaranth Quartet (US), Stanford New Ensemble (US), Taipei Symphony Orchestra (Taiwan), Baroque Camerata (Taiwan), and Yunlin Sharing Chamber Orchestra (Taiwan) where she is a composer-in-residence since 2007.
In 2020, she received National Sawdust's commission and was named a JACK Studio artist commissioned by the JACK Quartet. Recent projects include an intermedia work supported by the New Music USA Creator Development Fund; a residency with full scholarship from Atlantic Center for the Arts; and an essay commissioned by the American Composers Forum and I Care If You Listen for their "Casting Light" series.
Michele was the winner in Digital Music for u19 Award, a media arts competition for youth inspired by renowned u19- CREATE YOUR WORLD and was hosted by Taiwan Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) in 2007. She was then invited as a representative to visit Prix Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria. In 2017, she was recognized as a winner of The American Prize for her experimental music theatre project To Be Heard X Unheard about Asian women's experiences.
As an improviser-performer, Michele plays multiple instruments (piano/keyboard/drum set/percussion/electric bass). She builds custom instruments and puppets, which are often incorporated into her improvisational practice. She has shared the stage with International Contemporary Ensemble, Sō Percussion, Taiko Center of Los Angeles, Antenna Fuzz, and artists from various backgrounds. She is a co-founder of the experimental pop duo Meoark and fff, an interdisciplinary improv collective led by feminist media artists, and was a member at Stanford New Ensemble.
Dedicated to nurturing future innovators, she has worked with children to college students. She was a TK-3 music educator at public elementary schools in the San Francisco Bay Area, a graduate teaching assistant for School of the Arts and School of Education at the University of California, Irvine, and a teaching intern at Orange Coast College. She has also given guest talks at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Western Ontario, National Taiwan Normal University, National Sun Yat-sen University, National Chung Cheng University, and National Yunlin University of Science and Technology.
Michele holds an M.F.A. in Integrated Composition, Improvisation, and Technology (ICIT) from the University of California, Irvine, studying with Nicole Mitchell, Michael Dessen, Chris Dobrian, Kojiro Umezaki, and Lukas Ligeti. She received her B.F.A. in Theory and Composition from National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan where she studied with Szu-Hsien Lee and Kwang-I Ying. She joined Cornell University as a DMA Composition fellow in Fall, 2021.