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Marietta Cheng (Conductor)

Born: USA

The American conductor, Marietta Cheng, obtained her Bachelor of Art degree from the Smith College in 1974; and her Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory of Music in 1976.

As a choral conductor, Marietta Cheng served four years (1980-1983) on the conducting faculty of the Aspen Music Festival where she taught conducting, oversaw choral placement, and prepared choruses for musical luminaries including Robert Shaw, Jorge Mester, Fiora Contino, and John Nelson. She was conductor of the Binghamton University Symphony Orchestra from 1983 to 1986. She taught summer workshops at the New England Conservatory of Music in 1982 and 1983. Her university positions include also ssociate Professor of Music and Conductor of the orchestral and choral programs at Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges.

Marietta Cheng was the Music Director and Conductor of the Corning Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus from 1986 to 1996, a leader with “a ton of charisma”. From its creation in 1995 until May 2008, she was conductor of the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes (OSFL), a widely acclaimed professional orchestra in the southern tier of New York State. She is credited with bringing the OSFL to new artistic heights and exceptional organizational growth. Under her direction, the orchestra reviews were overwhelmingly positive: "If you weren't there, I send you my sympathy," "an unforgettable experience…" and "run, not walk, to get your tickets…" She is now Conductor Laureate of the OSFL. She has guest conducted the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra of the Chautauqua Institution (1998) and the Hudson Valley Philharmonic.

Praised as a vibrant and compelling conductor who is a born communicator, Marietta Cheng is Professor of Music and and has been chair of the Music Department for nine years. The Colgate University Orchestra, under her baton, is one of the best liberal arts college orchestras in the country. She has been a Colgate Presidential Scholar, AAUP Professor of the Year, and recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award given by the Colgate Alumni Board. She was also the founder Conductor of the Colgate University Chorus (1976-1994) and Chamber Singers and the Syracuse Vocal Ensemble. All told, Cheng has four European tours and four recordings to her credit.

As a pianist, Marietta Cheng has been a soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra under Arthur Fiedler. She performs chamber music frequently, having often collaborated with the Manhattan String Quartet, the Southern Tier Chamber Players, and at Colgate University.

Marietta Cheng is an active lecturer, specializing in composers of the romantic period. In 1998, she was the guest lecturer at Carnegie Hall for a Teachers' Symposium on Tchaikovsky. She has conducted 28 concerts for the All-State programs of the Music Educators National Conference. Among them are the annual festivals for the All-Eastern Orchestra, the Pennsylvania All-State Orchestra, the New York State String Orchestra, the Pennsylvania All-State Chorus, and the New York State Women's Chorus. Since 2000, she has conducted an exceptional and model children's concert series (21 concerts) for more than 17,000 public school children in upstate New York with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. She served as a music panelist for the New York State Council on the Arts, twice as its chair, judging music grant applications for all music organizations in the state of New York.

Marietta Cheng has been a national spokesman for issues on women. Her appearance on CNN focused on her role as a woman conductor. In addition, she has written many articles on women in music, one which appeared in the Op/Ed Page of the New York Times, April 19, 1997; another appeared in Harmony, Forum of the Symphony Orchestra Institute; others have appeared in major urban papers across the USA. She has given numerous radio interviews and in 1997, she was chosen as one of a unique group of one 100 women leaders from across the USA to add her voice to Lifetime Television's National Summit on Women in the 21st Century. In 2003, she was chosen as one of 50 great women conductors worldwide, profiled in a book on women conductors by Elke Mascha Blankenburg, Europaische Alt Verlag.

"She is a trailblazer and role model… She has done wonders. How fortunate we are to be blessed with the multi-talented Marietta Cheng." - The Leader, Corning, New York

Source: Colgate University Website; Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (April 2014)

Marietta Cheng: Short Biography | Recordings of Vocal Works

Links to other Sites

Marietta Cheng - Music Faculty (Colgate University)

Marietta Cheng - Conductor Laureate (OSFL)

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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