Grammy and Emmy Award-Winning Pianist Gloria Cheng to Present Recital at William Paterson University on February 7

--She also will give an interdisciplinary Midday Artist presentation on music, math, and the keyboard on February 8

Grammy and Emmy Award-winning pianist Gloria Cheng, who has won accolades for her interpretations of contemporary music, will present a recital at William Paterson University in Wayne on Wednesday, February 7. The recital, part of the University’s New Music Series, begins at 7:30 p.m. in Shea Recital Hall 101. Admission is free.

The program, titled “Root Progressions,” showcases piano compositions commissioned by Cheng from six contemporary jazz composers and noted improvisers: Linda May Han Oh, Jon Jang, Arturo O’Farrill, Anthony Davis, James Newton, and Gernot Wolfgang.

“I named my Root Progressions commissioning project in homage to a noted jazz theory and practice method codified in 1997 by clarinetist Alvin Batiste,” she says. “My attraction to jazz is rooted in my profound respect for the quicksilver genius of jazz improvisers. They exude such joy and abandon as they unleash the discipline of their training in spicy, dizzyingly complex escapades—miraculously composed in real time.”

Cheng adds that the six composer/improvisers agreed to write almost fully notated works for her. “My interest was to experience what they might choose to express in a fixed, contemporary classical medium,” she explains.

In addition, on Thursday, February 8, Cheng will give an interdisciplinary presentation, “Perfectly Imperfect: Music, Math, and the Keyboard,” at 12:30 p.m. in Shea Auditorium as part of the Midday Artist Series. Admission is also free.

Cheng’s distinguished and varied career has been highlighted by ongoing partnerships with major composers. She has been a concerto soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta and Pierre Boulez, and performed on its acclaimed Green Umbrella series with Esa-Pekka Salonen and Oliver Knussen. As a recitalist she has appeared at the Ojai Music Festival (where her long association with Boulez began in 1984), Chicago Humanities Festival, William Kapell Festival, Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, and Mendocino and Chautauqua Music Festivals.

Her countless premieres and dedications include John Williams' Prelude and Scherzo for Piano and Orchestra (dedicated to her and pianist Lang Lang), Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Dichotomie, and Pierre Boulez’s courtes dérives à partir d’Éclat. She commissioned the two-piano arrangement of Concert Paraphrase on Powder Her Face from Thomas Adès and premiered it with the composer on the Piano Spheres series.

Winner of the Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without orchestra) Grammy Award for her 2008 recording, Piano Music of Salonen, Stucky, and LutosÅ‚awski, she received a second nomination for her 2013 disc, The Edge of Light: Messiaen/Saariaho. MONTAGE: Great Film Composers and the Piano—a film and CD documenting works written for her by Bruce Broughton, Don Davis, Alexandre Desplat, Michael Giacchino, Randy Newman, and John Williams—garnered numerous festival awards and captured the 2018 Los Angeles Area Emmy for Independent Programming.

Prior to embarking on her musical career, she earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University; she also holds graduate degrees in performance from UCLA and the University of Southern California. Cheng is an adjunct professor at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, where he much sought-after classes and programs bring students together with noted performers, composers, and scholars.

Cheng’s project has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Angel City Jazz, Piano Spheres, and the Christine and Hugo Davise Fund from the Herb Alpert School of Music at the University of California, Los Angeles.

For additional information, call the Shea Center for Performing Arts Box Office at 973-720-2371 or visit