Rachel Cheung, piano
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.
Eric Fung, bass clarinet
Clarinetist Eric Fung started his music education at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, studying with John Schertle. He pursued his education at Mannes College The New School for Music and The Yale School of Music under the tutelage of Charles Neidich, Ayako Oshima and David Shifrin. During his studies he also worked with renowned clarinetists like Anthony McGill, Stephen Williamson, David Krakauer and Richard Stolzman. Eric has participated in various music festivals around the world including the Tongyeong International Music Festival, the Pablo Casals Festival of Prades, the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Immanuel and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. As an active performer, Eric has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Alice Tully Hall and the Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center.
Since his return, Eric has played an active role in Hong Kong and China’s music scene, participating in performances with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, and the National Center for the Performing Arts Orchestra in Beijing.