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Michele Cheng is an interdisciplinary composer who intertwines music, experimental theatre, and other forms of media 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 figures and their disregarded narratives. Her works have been performed internationally at National Sawdust, CCRMA, ISSTA, SICMF, ICMC, NYCEMF, SEAMUS, Sonorities, eavesdropping, New Music Gathering, White Snake Project, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon, among others. As an improviser-performer, Michele plays multiple instruments and self-built electroacoustic devices and has shared the stage with artists from various disciplines. She is a co-founder of the experimental pop duet 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 is one of the authors commissioned by American Composers Forum and I Care If You Listen for their "Casting Light" essay series.
Michele Cheng is an interdisciplinary composer who intertwines music, experimental theatre, and other forms of media 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 figures and their disregarded narratives. Examples of her work include: a modern fairytale about criminal justice (Voir dire, 2018), a three-screen video piece in ambisonics with puppetry reflecting on Asian American's online dating culture (Speed Dating, 2019), an electroacoustic work with self-built instrument and narrated diaries from women-identified artists (Doyennes' Diaries, 2020), and more. In 2017, she released a documentary film featuring the narratives of four 1.5 generation Taiwanese Americans (OMW, 2015-17), a grant-supported project she produced, directed, and composed. The film was recognized as a finalist by Formosa Festival of International Filmmaker Awards (FFIFA).
Her works have been performed internationally at venues including Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon (France), Sonic Arts Research Centre (UK), Podium Gigant (Netherlands), 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), 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 CCRMA Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (Stanford, US), Sonorities Festival Belfast (Belfast, UK), ISSTA Irish Sound, Science & Technology Association (IE), ICMC International Computer Music Conference (Santiago, CL) KEAMS Seoul International Computer Music Festival (Seoul, KR), SEAMUS The Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States, NYCEMF The New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival (NYC, US), New Music Gathering (Portland, US), eavesdropping symposium (London, UK), Vu Symposium (Park City, 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).
Her music has been performed by ensembles including orkest de ereprijs (Netherlands), Ensemble Instrumental de l'ESM Bourgogne-Franche-Comté (France), Amaranth Quartet (US), Stanford New Ensemble (US), Taipei Symphony Orchestra (Taiwan), Baroque Camerata (Taiwan), Tone Melody Flute Ensemble (Taiwan), Muse Trio (Taiwan), and Yunlin Sharing Chamber Orchestra (Taiwan) where she has been a composer in residence since 2007.
In 2020, she received National Sawdust's inaugural commission and was named a JACK Studio artist commissioned by the JACK Quartet. Upcoming projects in 2021 include an intermedia work supported by the New Music USA Creator Development Fund in collaboration with percussionist Ian Rosenbaum, a scholarship from Atlantic Center for the Arts where she will be in residency and working with composer Marcos Balter, and an essay commissioned by American Composers Forum and I Care If You Listen for their "Casting Light" essay series.
Michele was the winner in Digital Music for the u19 Award- a media arts competition for youth inspired by renowned u19- CREATE YOUR WORLD and was hosted by Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) in Taiwan in 2007. She was then selected 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 and self-built electroacoustic devices and has shared the stage with Sō Percussion, St. Lawrence String Quartet, Taiko Center of Los Angeles, Antenna Fuzz, Yunlin Sharing Chamber Orchestra, and many artists from various disciplines. She is a co-founder of fff, an interdisciplinary improv collective led by feminist media artists. She also co-founded the experimental pop duet Meoark and was a member at Stanford New Ensemble.
Michele has guest lectured at UC Berkeley (University of California, Berkeley), UWO (University of Western Ontario), NSYSU (National Sun Yat-sen University), NTNU (National Taiwan Normal University), NCCU (National Chung Cheng University), and NYUST (National Yunlin University of Science and Technology). She was a graduate teaching assistant for School of the Arts and School of Education at UC Irvine (University of California, Irvine) and a teaching intern at OCC Orange Coast College. She is dedicated to nurturing a younger generation of innovators and has taught music education (TK-3) at several public elementary schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and worked at a children's museum as a program specialist.
Michele holds an M.F.A in Integrated Composition, Improvisation, and Technology (ICIT) from 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 and a minor in Piano Performance from National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan where she studied with Szu-Hsien Lee and Kwang-I Ying. She joins Cornell University as a DMA Composition fellow in Fall, 2021.