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Michele Cheng

San Francisco Bay Area, CA   

Michele Cheng is an interdisciplinary artist, composer, multimedia producer, improviser-performer, songwriter, educator, and activist-artist. Her works have been performed in North America, Europe, and Asia.

She often 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 that reflect the complex issues to create public understanding. Examples of her works include: a modern fairy tale about criminal justice (Voir dire, 2018); an experimental music theatre project about Asian women experiences (To Be Heard X Unheard, 2016); an ambisonic & three-screen video piece with hand puppet which reflects the online dating culture (Speed Dating, 2019); a musical card game that triggers laughter and cultural-awareness (Conversation-ish, 2018). 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) and its soundtrack received award from American Tracks Music Awards.

At the age of sixteen, Michele was the winner in the category of Digital Music for the u19 Award- a media arts competition for youth inspired by renowned u19- CREATE YOUR WORLD and was hold 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 the winner of The American Prize and a finalist of ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards for her experimental music theatre project To Be Heard X Unheard.​

Her works have been featured around the world at places including Bing Concert Hall (Stanford, CA), Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon (Dijon, France), Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal (Montreal, Canada), National Theater and Concert Hall (Taipei, Taiwan), Emerson Paramount Theatre (Boston, MA), Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (Stanford, CA), Orange County Museum of Arts (Santa Ana, CA), Experimental Media Performance Lab (Irvine, CA), National Taichung Theater (Taichung, Taiwan), White Snake Project (Boston, MA), UCI Illuminations (Irvine, CA), New Music on the Point (Leicester, VT), Laboratoire de musique contemporaine de Montréal (Montreal, Canada), and many more.

Michele also performs with diverse performing groups that feature experimental, classical, world, and pop music. Collaborations included Sō Percussion, Yunlin Sharing Chamber Orchestra, Taiko Center of Los Angeles, and Antenna Fuzz. She is a co-founder of the interdisciplinary artist collective fff and the experimental pop duet Meoark with composer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Hassan Estakhrian, and a member of Stanford New Ensemble (SNE).​

TO BE HEARD X UNHEARD (2016)

An interdisciplinary experimental music theatre research project with multimedia collaboration between music, theatre, dance, and arts speaking about Asian women experiences in the United States.

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VOIR DIRE (2018)

Voir dire is a theatrical piece for two sopranos, two percussionists, and a contrabass player. There are four sections: Epilogue, How to Get Out of Your Duty, Voir dire, and Prologue (And yes, Epilogue then Prologue is not a typo). This piece is based on real cases, personal experience as a selected juror for a criminal case, and field research.

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Speed Dating (Ambisonic Audio & Three-Screen Video) (2019)

Speed Dating talks about Asian American self-image and online dating culture. The piece incorporates creative writing, puppetry, and graphic design to create an interdisciplinary experience. Besides the prologue (Non-typical!) and the epilogue (It’s a Match!), there are three acts and each act includes the profiles and monologues of a couple. The piece is based on real stories, in-person interviews, and field research.

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