Anthony Cheung


Assistant Professor of Music


D. Mus., Columbia University, 2010
A.B., Harvard University, 2004


Office: GoH 113
Phone: (773) 702-9055


Anthony Cheung is a composer and pianist. His output ranges from solo to orchestral works, occasionally with electronics. His music has been commissioned by the Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Intercontemporain, New York Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Scharoun Ensemble Berlin, and also performed by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Linea, the Chicago Symphonyʼs MusicNOW ensemble, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the French National Orchestras of Lille and Lorraine, among many others. From 2015-17, he was the Daniel R. Lewis Young Composer Fellow with the Cleveland Orchestra.

He has received awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (Charles Ives Scholarship and Fellowship) and ASCAP, and first prize in the Sixth International Dutilleux Competition (2008), as well as a Rome Prize (2012), resulting in a yearlong residency at the American Academy in Rome. He is also the recipient of a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship.

His music has been programmed at festivals such as Ultraschall (Berlin), Présences (Paris), impuls (Graz), Cresc. Biennale (Frankfurt), Wittener Tage, Tanglewood, Aspen, Mostly Mozart, Helsinki Festival, Musica Nova Helsinki, Centre Acanthes (Metz), Musica (Strasbourg), and Nuova Consonanza (Rome).

He co-directed the Talea Ensemble from its founding in 2007 until 2017, performing as a pianist and serving as Artistic Director. In the former capacity, he has worked with prominent composers such as Hans Abrahamsen, Julian Anderson, Pierre Boulez, Steve Coleman, Iancu Dumitrescu, Stefano Gervasoni, Steve Lehman, and Tristan Murail. He also has an active role in curating and programming works.

As a writer and scholar, he wrote a dissertation on György Ligeti (on the Hamburg Concerto), as well as articles on contemporary music for both specialists and a general readership.

Primary musical interests include notational aesthetics, jazz improvisation and transcription, microtonality and alternate tunings, rhythmic polyphony, and temporal perception. His music reveals an interest in the ambiguity of sound sources and the subtle transformation and manipulation of timbre allied with harmony, sometimes leading him to explore electronics. It also engages poetic imagery, syntax and rhetoric, natural phenomena, and the visual arts. Representations of space and place are common themes in his work, achieved through innovations in spatialization and orchestration, as well as with musical allusions and actual source material via field recordings.

Anthony received a B.A. in Music and History from Harvard and a doctorate from Columbia University, where he taught and also served as assistant conductor of the Columbia University Orchestra. He was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Chicago.

Selected Recent Commissions and Performances

  • Premiere of “All thorn, but cousin to your rose,” at the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music. Paulina Swierczek, soprano and Jacob Greenberg, piano (and co-curator) (August 2017).
  • Premiere of “Topos" for the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst (May 2017).
  • Performances of “The Real Book of Fake Tunes” with flutist Claire Chase and the Spektral Quartet, Chicago and Brooklyn (April 2017).
  • Portrait concert at National Sawdust with the Talea Ensemble (Wergo CD release concert) (November 2016).
  • Performances of “Bagatelles” with pianist Winston Choi and the Spektral Quartet, Chicago (November 2016).
  • Premiere of “Assumed Roles", with violist Maiya Papach and the International Contemporary Ensemble, conducted by Karina Canellakis, at the Mostly Mozart Festival (August 2016). Chicago premiere at the Ear Taxi Festival with Joshua Modney and David Fulmer conducting (October 2016).
  • Performance of Discrete Infinity, with the Seattle Modern Orchestra, conducted by Julia Tai (June 2016).
  • Premiere of Character Studies, with violinist Jennifer Koh, at the NY Philharmonic Biennial (May 2016).
  • Performances of Lyra, with the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst (March-April 2016).
  • Premiere of The Real Book of Fake Tunes, for flutist Claire Chase and the Spektral Quartet, at the University of Maryland, commissioned by the Fromm Foundation (April 2016).
  • Performances of Elective Memory, written for Jennifer Koh and Shai Wosner, in Laguna Beach, New York, Washington DC, San Francisco (February-April 2016)
  • Performance of Fog Mobiles, with soloist Matthew Oliphant and the Chicago Composers Orchestra, conducted by Allen Tinkham (March 2016).
  • Twin Spaces, Intertwined, commissioned for the University of Chicago’s 125th Anniversary Celebration at Rockefeller Chapel (December 2015).
  • Performances of SynchroniCities with the Talea Ensemble, conducted by James Baker, at the Transit Festival, Leuven (November 2015) and the Library of Congress (March 2016).
  • Performance of Time’s Vestiges, with wildUp, conducted by Christopher Rountree, at UCLA (August 2015).
  • Performance of SynchroniCities with the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, conducted by Stephen Burns (August 2015).
  • Performances of Time’s Vestiges and SynchroniCities with the Talea Ensemble, conducted by John Kennedy, Time Spans Festival, Colorado (June 2015).
  • European premiere of Lyra with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, conducted by Domingo Hindoyan (February 2015).
  • Premiere of Après une lecture by oboist Ernest Rombout, at the impuls Festival in Graz (February 2015).
  • Performance of SynchroniCities with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (MusicNOW series), conducted by James Feddeck (September 2014).
  • Premiere of More Marginalia for mixed ensemble of western and Chinese instruments, by the Atlas Ensemble, conducted by Artjom Kim, Amsterdam (September 2014).
  • Premiere of Lyra, conducted by Alan Gilbert and commissioned by the New York Philharmonic with the support of the Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music (June 2014).
  • Premiere of Bagatelles, commissioned by the Heidelberger Frühling festival (April 2014).
  • Performances of Dystemporal by students of the Juilliard School and the Sibelius Academy, conducted by Susanna Mälkki. Alice Tully Hall, New York, and at the Helsinki Festival (March and August 2013).
  • Performance of Centripedalocity by Sound Icon, conducted by Jeffrey Means (March 2013).
  • Premiere of Time’s Vestiges by the Scharoun Ensemble of the Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by the composer, at the American Academy in Rome (March 2013).
  • Premiere of SynchroniCities by the Talea Ensemble, conducted by James Baker, commissioned by the Koussevitzky Music Foundation (December 2012).
  • Premiere of Dystemporal, conducted by Susanna Mälkki, commissioned by the Ensemble Intercontemporain. Centre Pompidou, Paris (October 2012).
  • Performance of vis-à-vis by the Ensemble Linea, conducted by Jean-Philippe Wurtz, at the Festival Musica, Strasbourg (September 2012).
  • Premiere of Fog Mobiles by horn soloist Saar Berger and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Matthias Pintscher, at the Cresc. Festival in Darmstadt, Germany (November 2011).
  • Premiere of Discrete Infinity by the Ensemble Modern, conducted by Johannes Kalitzke, commissioned by WDR for the Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik (May 2011).
  • Premiere of vis-à-vis, conducted by Franck Ollu, commissioned by the Ensemble Modern (January 2011).

Selected Awards and Fellowships

  • John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2016)
  • Aaron Copland Fund for Music Recording Program Grant (2015)
  • Public Prize at the Heidelberger Frühling Festival for Bagatelles (2014)
  • Fromm Foundation commission (2013)
  • American Academy in Rome, Rome Prize (2012-13)
  • Society of Fellows at Harvard University, Junior Fellowship (2009-2012)
  • Koussevitzky Music Foundation commission (2011)
  • Milton Fund of Harvard University, grant to curate a conference and concert on microtonal music at Columbia University and New York’s Merkin Hall (2011)
  • ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards: 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2011
  • Leo Kaplan Award (first prize honor) in 2011
  • Selection for an Ensemble Intercontemporain Tremplin Commission by IRCAM (2010)
  • 6th International Henri Dutilleux Composition Competition, First Prize and Public Prize (2008)
  • Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2006)


  • Dystemporal. Talea Ensemble, conducted by James Baker; Ensemble Intercontemporain, conducted by Susanna Mälkki; Anthony Cheung, piano (Wergo, 2016).
  • Roundabouts: Works by Anthony Cheung. Ensemble Modern and Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra (Ensemble Modern Medien, 2014).
  • Fog Mobiles, released on Saar Berger: Travelling Pieces. Saar Berger and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Matthias Pintscher (Ensemble Modern Medien, 2014).
  • Hyperbaton, released on they are: Das Internationale Kompositionsseminar. Ensemble Modern, conducted by Johannes Katlizke (Ensemble Modern Medien, 2013).
  • Refrain from Riffing, released on Ryan Muncy: Hot. Ryan Muncy, saxophone; Ben Melsky, harp (New Focus Recordings, 2013).
  • Discrete Infinity, released on Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik. Ensemble Modern, conducted by Johannes Kalitzke (Kulturforum Witten, 2011).
  • As pianist and Assistant Producer: Fausto Romitelli: Anamorphosis, with the Talea Ensemble (Tzadik, 2012). As pianist: Tim Hodgkinson: Onsets, with the Talea Ensemble (Mode, 2014).