VIC FIRTH ARTIST
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 on the marimba, 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 PASIC in November 2009.
Since his U.S. concerto debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2003, Mr. Cheung has toured extensively as a concerto and recital soloist around the world. Highlights of his recent performances include concerts at the Usedomer Music Festival in Germany, Hong Kong Arts Festival, 8th International Marimba Festival in Mexico, Percussive Arts Society International Convention 2009, Terrace Theater at Kennedy Center and Zankel Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.
In addition to concert performances, Mr. Cheung has presented masterclasses in some of the world’s finest music institutions including the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Conservatoire de Paris, Conservatoire National Supérieur de Lyon, Curtis Institute of Music, Boston Conservatory, Universities of Michigan, South Florida, Central Florida, Illinois and Boston.
As a composer, Mr. Cheung was hailed by Washington Times as “… a composer in his own right – one who writes the kind of music people will want to hear.” He won 1st Prize at the Classical Marimba League’s 2007 Composition Competition for his Three Etudes. Among his numerous works for the marimba are a Marimba Concerto with String Orchestra and Timpani, Symphonic Poem, and collections of sonatas, ballades, musical moments and etudes. His compositions have been recorded by renowned marimbists and chosen as repertoire for numerous national and international competitions.
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.
For more information, please visit Pius Cheung online at:
“ “It has been 3 years since I recorded my debut album of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. While the recording experience was, on one hand, enjoyable, and the response for the album was better than I had even dreamed of, the whole process consumed all of my energy. But at the encouragement of family, friends and colleagues, I decided to embark on my 2nd CD project, for which I have chosen to record selections of my own compositions that I hold dearly to my heart.
I have always favored large compositions through which the composer conveys to us his or her view on the world as well as life itself, ergo the choice of the Goldbergs 3 years ago. While I can in NO WAY be compared to the genius that is Bach, the featured composition on this album – Symphonic Poem – is an epic journey in my imaginary world, one that is spawned from the duality that I find exists in almost everything in life. In the music is my take on human emotions and states of being, a few of which include Good and Evil, Love and Hate, Life and Death, Agony and Joy, Fear and Courage, Pride and Humility, etc. As suggested by the track titles, there are vague programatic ideas behind the music that serve as its structural guildline. The piece is about 40 minutes long. Though I divided it into 8 tracks, I would highly recommend listening to the entire composition in one sitting and being fully immerged into a world outside of reality.
Also included on this album are some of my smaller compositions: Etudes in d minor, c# minor, D Major, e minor, and Musical Moment No. 5 – Romance. I am extremely grateful to fellow percussionists and marimbists for learning and performing them; there is no greater satisfaction for me as a composer than to hear my music being performed by fellow musicians.
– Pius Cheung