One of the foremost young pianists in Asia, born and raised in Hong Kong, Rachel Cheung is a graduate of the Yale School of Music and winner of awards from many of the most prominent competitions in the world, including the 2017 Audience Award at the Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Musical America described her as having a “silken tone, subtle sense of colour,” and as “stunningly imaginative.” She brings her talent to HKUST for an evening of classical and contemporary piano music, including the Asian premiere of a work by HKUST’s composer-in-residence, Ilari Kaila.
- Robert Schumann – Fantasiestücke, Op. 12
- Ilari Kaila – Taonta
- Frédéric Chopin – Andante Spianato et Grande Polonaise Brillante, Op. 22
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. A Young Steinway Artist, she continues to build a reputation for an elegant stage presence, giving sensitive and refined 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. Rachel is also interested in play-conducting; following her Prix du Jury win at the 2017 Play-Direct Academy for her performance of Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto with the Orchestre de chambre de Paris, she play-conducted the same concerto with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra in March 2019. She was also invited to return to the Play-Direct Academy in 2019 as a member of the jury.
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. She also enjoys community residencies and outreach events, which allow her to make a deeper connection with audiences and share her passion of storytelling through music.
Recent and upcoming highlights include concerto performances with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and Jaap van Zweden, National Philharmonic of Ukraine and Vitaliy Protasov, and on tour with the Asian Youth Orchestra and Joseph Bastian; two collaborations with the Hong Kong Ballet, her first experience with dance; residencies with RTHK Radio 4 and the Chamber Music Academy Heidelberger Frühling; and recitals throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. Rachel was featured in the Hong Kong Philharmonic’s first live broadcast concert in July 2020, and was invited to contribute performances to StageHub, a new online concert platform connecting artists with audiences worldwide.
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. Her next recording project, a CD featuring the Chopin preludes, will be released by IMC Music. Rachel was awarded Artist of the Year (Music) by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council in 2019.
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.