Michele Cheng is an interdisciplinary artist, composer, multimedia producer, improviser-performer, songwriter, educator, and arts activist. She is an award-winning composer in both the academic field and the commercial industry. Her works have been performed in North America, Europe, and Asia.
She often uses music, experimental theatre, and other forms of media to confront 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 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); a musical card game that triggers laughter and cultural-awareness (Conversation-ish, 2018); a solo duet piece for a singer and hand puppet which reflects the online dating culture (Speed Dating, 2019); and more. In 2017, she released a documentary film featuring the narratives of 1.5 generation Taiwanese Americans (OMW, 2015-17). It was a grant-supported project she produced, directed, and composed. The film was recognized a finalist by Formosa Festival of International Filmmaker Awards (FFIFA) and its soundtrack received awards from American Tracks Music Awards.
She was the winner in digital music of 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 compositions have been performed by ensembles include Amaranth Quartet, Taipei Symphony Orchestra, fff ensemble, Stanford New Ensemble, Baroque Camerata, Tone Melody Flute Ensemble, Muse Trio, Yunlin Sharing Chamber Orchestra where she has been a composer in residence since 2007, and many more. Her works were featured by Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), Bing Concert Hall, ESM Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Orange County Museum of Arts, Experimental Media Performance Lab (xMPL), National Chiang Kai Shek Cultural Center, National Taichung Theater, Forum Music, White Snake Project, New Music on the Point, and Laboratoire de musique contemporaine de Montréal.
Michele also performs with diverse performing groups that feature experimental, classical, world, and pop. Collaborations include 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 ensemble, the experimental pop duet Meoark with composer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Hassan Estakhrian, and a founding 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.
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.
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.