BY MICHELE CHENG
MICHELE CHENG is a Taiwanese-American composer, multimedia producer, songwriter, and improviser-performer on the piano and vocal with live electronics processing. Her works explore a diversity of compositional approaches, aesthetics from different cultures, and cross-disciplinarity in musicking. She produces experimental music theatre as a medium to reflect humanity, to question clichés with humor, and to connect different communities by consolidating her belief in interdisciplinarity and skills in multimedia production.
She is the first prize winner in digital music of U19 Award Competition, which is originally from Prix Ars Electronica in Austria, and was hold by Industrial Technology Research Institute in Taiwan in 2007. She was then selected as a representative to visit ARS Electronica in Linz, Austria. In 2017, she was recognized as the finalist of ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards with her interdisciplinary experimental music theatre work To Be Heard X Unheard which integrates music, theatre, dance, and visual arts and reveals Asian women’s experiences in the United States. Her compositions have been performed by Amaranth Quartet, Taipei Symphony Orchestra, Tone Melody Flute Ensemble, Baroque Camerata, Muse Trio, and she has been the composer in residence of Yunlin Sharing Chamber Orchestra since 2007.
Michele received her M.F.A in Integrated Composition, Improvisation, and Technology (ICIT) from University of California, Irvine, where she was supervised by Nicole Mitchell and studied with Chris Dobrian, Michael Dessen, Kojiro Umezaki, and Lukas Ligeti. She got her B.F.A in Music Theory and Composition from National Sun Yat-sen University, in which she was supervised by Szu-Hsien Lee and studied with Kwang-I Ying. Other than music, Michele works as a photographer, martial artist, writer, and she is the director of documentary OMW, a grant-supported project she produced as well as composed music for. Learn more here.
“Preconsciousness” is a large ensemble piece for soprano, flute, tenor saxophone, cello, piano, harp, and electric bass. Preconscious thoughts present an interesting mental state between consciousness and subconsciousness, one that might evoke human anxiety and embarrassment through dreams and the so called “slip of the tongue.”The noise-based materials, a variety of sonorific layers, and the integration of tone colors evoke a continuous auditory experience that represents the ongoing yet slightly changing waves of preconsciousness. The piece is notated as a graphic score, and the pacing of musical ideas is based on clock timing rather than measures, beats, or tempo.