Michele ChengSan 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 on complex issues in hopes of broadening public understanding as well as her own awareness. 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); among others. In 2017, she released a documentary film featuring the narratives of 1.5 generation Taiwanese Americans (OMW, 2017), 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 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 by ITRI as a representative to visit Prix Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria. In 2017, she was recognized a winner of The American Prize for her experimental music theatre project To Be Heard X Unheard.
Her works have been featured around the world at places including Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon (Dijon, France), Sonic Arts Research Centre (Belfast, Northern Ireland), Podium Gigant (Apeldoorn, 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), Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (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 Sonorities Festival Belfast (Belfast, Northern Ireland), Young Composers Meeting (Apeldoorn, Netherlands), Laboratoire de musique contemporaine de Montreal (Montreal, Canada), New Music Gathering (Portland, OR), White Snake Project (Boston, MA), UCI Illuminations (Irvine, CA), She Scores Festival (Pittsburgh, PA), and New Music On The Point (Leicester, VT).
Michele also performs with diverse performing groups that feature experimental, classical, world, and pop 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 improv collective led by feminist media artists. She also co-founded the experimental pop duet Meoark and is a member at Stanford New Ensemble.
Through intimate perspective of four women-identified artists, the project peeks into the everyday life of modern women that we don’t usually see on the media.
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 (2019)
Speed Dating, a multimedia piece including text score, graphics, and a hand puppet, talks about Asian American self-image and the online dating culture. The fictional narratives were based on in-person interviews, real stories and figures that I have encountered which I infused into the seven fictional characters, and sources including dating websites’ slogans, article Asian Bodies That Proudly Defy An Archetype from HuffPost, and Noёl Alumit’s Rice Room: Scenes From a Bar.