Pius Cheung

The young Chinese-Canadian marimbist Pius Cheung has already been recognized as a master soloist on his unusual instrument. His brilliantly played CD of Bach’s Goldberg Variations elicited a feature story in The New York Times, which praised not only his technical feat of performing the intricacies of this keyboard work with 4 mallets, but also his “deeply expressive interpretation, notable for its clear voicing, eloquent phrasing and wide range of color and dynamics.” The album has been heard in the U. S. on National Public Radio and in Canada on CBC Radio. His second CD, Symphonic Poem, comprised entirely of his own compositions, was released at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) in 2009.

After winning First Prize in the 2008 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, Mr. Cheung made debuts in the Young Concert Artists Series at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. As recipient of the Usedom Music Festival Prize, he also performed in Germany. During the 2010-11 season, Mr. Cheung’s engagements include a concerto performance of Creston’s Marimba Concerto with the Simon Sinfonietta (MA) and an appearance with Stratford Summer Music in Ontario. He makes his European recital debuts in Denmark and Croatia. Last season, Mr. Cheung appeared in a concerto performance with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra under the direction of conductor Alondra de la Parra in Alberta and recitals at the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC, the Oberlin College Conservatory, the International Marimba Conference and Festival in Minnesota, PASIC, and his Japanese recital debut at the Japan National Percussion Association Festival, where he served as guest artist and competition judge.

In 2003, Mr. Cheung appeared as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center as winner of their annual concerto competition, and appeared as soloist with the British Columbia Chamber Orchestra and the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra in Canada. He has performed marimba recitals at the Boston Public Library, Missouri State University, the University of Georgia, the Colonial Theatre (MA), The Paramount Theatre (VT), Jordan Hall in Boston, at the Bucks County Performing Arts Center (PA), and also in his native Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Arts Festival. Mr. Cheung has presented master classes in some of the world’s finest music institutions in Amsterdam, Paris, and throughout the U.S.

As a composer, Mr. Cheung’s Three Etudes won First Prize in the Classical Marimba League’s 2007 Composition Competition. Among his other compositions are a Concerto for Marimba and String Orchestra, and collections of preludes, etudes and sonatas.

Mr. Cheung moved to Vancouver with his family at the age of 12. He received his Bachelor of Music from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, his Artist Diploma from The Boston Conservatory, and his Doctorate from the University of Michigan. Mr. Cheung is a Yamaha Performing Artist and Vic Firth Artist.

He was recently appointed Director of Percussion Studies at the University of Oregon, starting Fall 2011.
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