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Pius Cheung (Marimba)

Born: 1982 - Hong Kong

The Chinese-Canadian marimbist and composer, Pius Cheung, started to learn piano at age 5 and marimba at age 9 at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. At age 10, he made his solo debut as a marimbist in Hong Kong in 1993. At the age of 12 he moved to Vancouver, Canada with his family. In his teenage years, Pius was a member of the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Vancouver Academy of Music Orchestra. He appeared as marimba soloist with the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra at the World Music Forum in 1999 and on its tours to Holland (1999), Australia (1997) and Canada (1996). In 1998, he made his European solo debut in the Great Hall of Moscow, performing the Marimba Concerto by Paul Creston.

In 2000, Pius Cheung was admitted to the Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia USA, where he studied with the late principal percussionist, Michael Bookspan, and the principal timpanist, Don Liuzzi, of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Pius was awarded a merit-based full-tuition scholarship, the Mary Louise Curtis Bok Fellowship. During his studies, he has presented in concert with the world famous marimbist, Keiko Abe, and in master-classes with Evelyn Glennie, Nancy Zeltsman, William Moersch, Robert van Sice, and Keiko Abe. In 2004, Pius continued his studies with the international concert marimbist, Nancy Zeltsman at the Boston Conservatory under full scholarship. He received his Bachelor of Music from the Curtis Institute of Music and his Artist Diploma from The Boston Conservatory. He is currently attending the University of Michigan School of Music, Theater and Dance in pursuit of a doctorate in music.

In addition, Pius Cheung won First Prize in the 2008 Young Concert Artists International Auditions. At the Auditions, he was also awarded the Miriam Brody Aronson Award, the Brownville Concert Series Prize (NE), the Swiss Global Artistic Foundation Award for an engagement in Europe, the Embassy Series Prize (DC), the University of Georgia Performing Arts Center Prize, and the Usedom (Germany) Music Festival Prize.

As an orchestra musician, Pius Cheung has worked with world-renowned conductors including Sir Simon Rattle, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach, Mstislav Rostropovich, Yuri Temirkanov, and David Zinman. In 2003, he was awarded 1st prize at the senior division of the Philadelphia Orchestra Albert M. Greenfield Student Competition. He then made his USA concerto debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at Kimmel Centre, and was invited to perform with them again in June 2004.

As one of today's most promising marimbist and composer, Pius Cheung has captivated audiences with performances of compositions by contemporary composers, his own compositions, and arrangements of the classics, most notably J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations (BWV 988). He made his USA concerto debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center in 2003, as winner of the orchestra’s concerto competition. In recent seasons, he has appeared as soloist with the British Columbia Chamber Orchestra (performing Keyboard Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052 by J.S. Bach) and the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra, and given performances at Jordan Hall in Boston, the Hong Kong Arts Festival, the Edmonton Recital Society, Kennedy Center, Stratsford Summer Music Festival, Bucks County Performing Arts Center, the V Festival Internacional de Marimbistas in Mexico, and Zeltsman Marimba Festival 2005 and 2006. Additionally, Cheung has presented concerts and master-classes in some of the world's well known music institutes, including Amsterdam Conservatory, Paris Conservatory, Lyon Conservatory, Juilliard School of Music, Curtis Institute of Music, Boston Conservatory, Universities of Michigan, South Florida, Central Florida, Illinois, and Boston. During the 2008-2009 season he gave debut recitals in the Young Concert Artists Series at Carnegie Hall in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, as well as his Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum debut in Boston.

His debut album of the Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) is the first and only recording of the work on marimba. The album has received critical acclaim and has aired on CBC Radio in Canada and National Public Radio in the USA.

As a composer, Pius Cheung won First Prize in the Classical Marimba League’s 2007 Composition Competition for his Three Etudes, part of a cycle of Twenty-Four Etudes which he is currently working on. He has written numerous other works for the marimba including a Marimba Concerto with String Orchestra, a set of Five Musical Moments (Lust, Storm, Solitude, Dance of the Golden Mean, and Romance) for solo marimba, Sonata No. 1 "Vitanata", Symphonic Poem for solo marimba, two Ballades (including Ballade for Eriko Daimo) and a collection of smaller pieces including Etudes (including Etude in E minor), Nocturnes, and Preludes. His music is published by the Connecticut Hill Music Publishing Company.

Pius Cheung is a Yamaha Performing Artist and Vic Firth endorser.

“Absolutely Incredible! Cheung adds a tasty amount of musical nuances that Bach would have likely approved of had he heard today’s modern marimba.” - PAS Percussive Notes Magazine
“Pius Cheung is a remarkably gifted and accomplished young artist.” - Gary Graffman

More Photos

Source: Pius Cheung Website; Wikipedia Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (September 2009)

Pius Cheung: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Pius Cheung, Marimba Artist, Marimbist & Composer (Official Website)

Pius Cheung (Wikipedia)

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Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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