Photo by Chien-ying Hsieh
Michele Cheng is an interdisciplinary artist who uses music, experimental theatre, and other forms of media to be in dialogue with social issues and cultural identities. Taking a journalistic approach through interviews and research, she develops creative projects and often uses storytelling as a vehicle for expression to present underrepresented figures and their disregarded narratives. Her works have been featured by National Sawdust, CCRMA, ISSTA, KEAMS, Sonorities Festival Belfast, Young Composers Meeting, New Music Gathering, White Snake Project, eavesdropping Symposium, among others. As an improviser-performer, Michele plays multiple instruments as well as self-built electroacoustic devices, and has performed with diverse groups that feature experimental, electronics, classical, world, and rock music. She is a co-founder of the interdisciplinary improv collective fff led by feminist media artists and the experimental pop duet Meoark. Michele is currently a JACK Studio artist commissioned by the JACK Quartet through their two-year residencies (2020-2022).
Michele Cheng is an interdisciplinary artist who uses music, experimental theatre, and other forms of media to be in dialogue with social issues and cultural identities. Taking a journalistic approach through interviews and research, she develops creative projects and often uses storytelling as a vehicle for expression to present underrepresented figures and their disregarded narratives. Examples of her works include: a modern fairytale about criminal justice (Voir dire, 2018), an ambisonic & three-screen video piece with puppetry reflecting on the online dating culture (Speed Dating, 2019), an electroacoustic work with self-built instrument and intimate narratives from four women-identified artists (Doyennes' Diaries, 2020), and more. In 2017, she released a documentary film featuring the narratives of 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 featured internationally at places including Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon (Dijon, France), SARC (Sonic Arts Research Centre) (Northern Ireland), Podium Gigant (Netherlands), Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal (Montreal, Canada), National Theatre & Concert Hall (Taiepi, Taiwan), National Taichung Theater (Taichung, Taiwan), as well as 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, CA), Sonorities Festival Belfast (Belfast, Northern Ireland), ISSTA (Irish Sound, Science & Technology Association) (Ireland), Seoul International Computer Music Festival (Seoul, South Korea), New Music Gathering (Portland, OR), eavesdropping Symposium (London, UK), White Snake Project (Boston, MA), UCI Illuminations (Irvine, CA), 26th Young Composers Meeting (Apeldoorn, Netherlands), New Music On The Point (Leicester, VT), and Laboratoire de musique contemporaine de Montreal (Quebec, Canada).
Her music has been performed by ensembles including orkest de ereprijs (Netherlands), Ensemble Instrumental de l'ESM Bourgogne-Franche-Comté (France), Amaranth Quartet (USA), Stanford New Ensemble (USA), 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 through their two-year residencies (2020-2022).
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 about Asian women's experiences To Be Heard X Unheard.
As an improviser-performer, Michele plays multiple instruments as well as self-built electroacoustic devices, and has performed with diverse groups that feature experimental, electronics, classical, world, and rock music. She 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 the interdisciplinary artist collective fff, an interdisciplinary improv collective led by feminist media artists. She also co-founded the experimental pop duet Meoark and is a member at Stanford New Ensemble.
Michele has guest lectured at universities included University of California, Berkeley, National Sun Yat-sen University, National Taiwan Normal University, National Chung Cheng University, and National Yunlin University of Science and Technology. She was a graduate teaching assistant for School of the Arts and School of Education at University of California, Irvine and a teaching intern at Orange Coast College. Dedicated to nurturing a younger generation of innovators, she has taught music education (TK-3) at several public elementary schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
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 where she studied with Szu-Hsien Lee and Kwang-I Ying.