Musician Rachel Cheung is praised by The Dallas Morning News as “a poet, but also a dramatist,” producing “the most sophisticated and compelling music-making.” With such acclaim, and with an extensive tour schedule that takes her across the globe, we are fortunate to present a recital by Rachel Cheung here in Central Texas on October 20th at the Klett Center for the Performing Arts.
Award-winning performer on three continents
Making her Carnegie Hall debut in 2018 is but one of the many achievements in this young performer's career, which began with piano lessons from her father that started at age four and is accentuated by her Masters in Music from Yale School of Music (conferred at the age of 21, no less). She plays regularly in concerts halls on three continents: Europe, Asia, and North America, and has earned awards on these same continents as well: including first prize from the Steinway and Sons International Youth Piano Competition in Hong Kong; first prize in Europe at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod; and as finalist of the Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2017, where she received the Audience Award.
The significance of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
Taking place every four years, the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition is considered to be the top-most international contest for budding concert pianists. First established in 1962 by native Texan musician Van Cliburn, musicians' careers have launched from earning awards at this prestigious event. The Boston Globe likens this competition to "a cross between the Miss America Pageant, the Olympic Games, the Academy Awards and the Pulitzer Prize." The next Van Cliburn International Piano Competition will take place in 2021 in Houston.
Speaking about the responsibility of her own role as a musician, Rachel Cheung shares, “Music is bigger than us. Every time I read a score sheet, I feel the importance of the music and that I have to treat it with the utmost respect. Every composition has its meaning, and a musician’s job is to communicate the message that the composer tries to convey.” (Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts' Academy News interview)
Program for Sunday, October 20, 4:00 PM
Van Cliburn Finalist Recital
Rachel Cheung, Piano
Klett Performing Art Center, Georgetown, TX
Jean-Philippe Rameau - Les Cyclopes L’Entretien des Muses La Poule
Claude Debussy - Estampes Pagodes La soiree dans Grenade
Jardins sous la pluie
Gabriel Fauré - Nocturne No. 6 in D-flat Major, op. 63
Impromptu No. 2 in F Minor, op. 31
Maurice Ravel - “Toccata” from Le Tombeau de Couperin
Franz Liszt - Sonata in B Minor, S. 178
More praise for Rachel Cheung
“She crafts each piece she plays as a sculptor or a painter creates a work of art. Cheung is the complete package: skill, technique, artistry.” –Culture Spot LA
“Cheung didn’t put on a show for us, she drew us into the music’s magic. This will be a hard act to follow.” –Dallas Morning News
“The most sophisticated and compelling music making…” –Dallas Morning News
“Her playing is rich and she demonstrates a deep comprehension of the structure and the meaning of the music, as well as a great technique, a soft touch, and a delightful sound.” –Musical Toronto
“Cheung’s journey through the set was full of lyrical beauty and stylish interpretations. It was 45 minutes that made me long for more.” –Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“It takes intellect as well as musicality to play the [Brahms Quintet]… Rachel Cheung possesses both.” –Clavier Companion
“She is a poet, but also a dramatist...” –Dallas Morning News
“silken tone, subtle sense of color, and stunningly imaginative…” –Musical America
“She was able to tame the Hamburg Steinway’s enormous sound and achieve a balance with the orchestra that was nothing short of amazing.” –Culture Spot LA
“impeccably played… with flights of both beauty and virtuosity…” –Theater Jones
“There was nobility in her interpretation, and she proved to be something of a musical dramatist as well…” –Fort Worth Star-Telegram
About Rachel Cheung, 2017 Cliburn Audience Award Winner Pianist
Rachel Cheung is hailed as “a poet, but also a dramatist” displaying “the most sophisticated and compelling music-making” (The Dallas Morning News). She won over audiences and critics alike as a finalist at the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition with “stunningly imaginative” (Musical America) interpretations marked by “flights of both beauty and virtuosity” (Theater Jones) and was awarded the Audience Prize by online vote. Also a Young Steinway Artist, she continues to build a reputation for a sparkling stage presence and elegant performances across three continents.
Rachel has appeared with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Sydney Symphony, London Chamber, and Fort Worth Symphony Orchestras, collaborating with conductors including Edo de Waart, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Jaap van Zweden, Leonard Slatkin, Sir Mark Elder, Christopher Warren-Green, and Nicholas McGegan. She conducted and played Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto with the Orchestre de chambre de Paris at the 2017 Play-Direct Academy led by Stephen Kovacevich, where she was awarded the Prix du Jury at the closing concert. Enthusiastic about that experience, Rachel play/conducted the same concerto with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra in March 2019 and was invited to return to the Play-Direct Academy as a member of the jury in September 2019.
She has performed in recital at the Auditorium du Louvre in Paris, Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Steinway Hall in London, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Richmond Hill Centre for Performing Arts in Toronto, the Philharmonie de Paris, and in other cities across the United States, Europe, and Asia. As an active chamber musician, Rachel has worked with world-renowned musicians including violinists Latica Honda-Rosenberg and Ning Feng, violist Vladimir Mendelssohn, cellists Jan-Erik Gustafasson and Trey Lee, mezzo-soprano Virpi Räisänsen, clarinetist Michel Lethiec, the Brentano String Quartet, and Quatuor Leonis. Rachel also enjoys participating in outreach and educational events, which allow her to “connect and communicate with different walks of life and to experience the beauty and joy of music-making with my audience and students in a more interactive and personal way.”
Highlights of the 2019–2020 season include concerto performances with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and Jaap van Zweden and a tour of China, Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong with the Asian Youth Orchestra. Last season saw recitals throughout Europe and the United States, concerto performances with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and National Philharmonic of Ukraine, appearances at the Princeton and Rockport Chamber Music Festivals, and residencies with RTHK Radio 4 and the Chamber Music Academy Heidelberger Frühling.
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Rachel graduated with first class honors at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts under the tutelage of Eleanor Wong and later studied with Peter Frankl at the Yale School of Music, where she was awarded the Elizabeth Parisot Prize for outstanding pianists. Additional competition honors include prizes at the Leeds, Chopin, Horowitz, Gina Bachauer, and Geneva International Piano Competitions. Her first concert DVD was released by VAIMUSIC in 2007, and her first CD, under the Alpha Omega Sound label of the Chopin Society of Hong Kong, was released in 2009. In 2019, Rachel was awarded Artist of the Year (Music) by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council.
Rachel is also an amateur photographer; she documents her travels with her analog camera, particularly enjoying the ability to capture the character and feeling of each moment.View Map