Huihui Cheng, composer
(born in 1985 in Wu-Chang, province of Hei-Long-Jiang, northeastern China) started to play the piano at a very young age and wrote her first compositions at the age of nine. She took piano and composition lessons in Wu-Chang with Weiping Xie, who trained her to enter the middle school of the national university for music in Beijing at age of fourteen, a college for musically highly gifted children, under professor lin zhu.
She studied composition with Guoping Jia at the Central Conservatory of Music Beijing, Caspar Johannes Walter, Marco Stroppa and Martin Schüttler as well as and Piet Mayer (electronic music) and the State College of Music and Performing Arts in Stuttgart. In 2015/16 she attended the IRCAM Cursus in Paris, under Héctor Parra and Grégoire Lorieux.
She was fellow of the Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg, Schloss Wiepersdorf, Künstlerhaus Schöppingen in Germany; Camargo Foundation, Royaumont Foundation in France and German academie Villa Massimo-Casa Baldi in Italy, as attended academies of the SWR Vocal Ensemble and the Akademie Musiktheater Heute. In 2011 she won first prize at the International Isang Yun Competition, and with her work “Me Du Ça”, she has won the ZKM Giga-Hertz Production Prize in 2016. A portrait DVD with her works will be published in the series EDITION CONTEMPORARY MUSIC, label Wergo in 2020.
Her works have been performed in the Beijing Modern Music Festival, Berlin Chinese Culture Festival, Munich Biennale, Tongyeong International Music Festival in Korea, Donaueschinger Musiktage “Next Generation”, Wien Modern Festival, Eclat Festival Stuttgart, Rainy days Festival Luxemburg.
Her interest in music theatre remains perceptible in her latest compositions. In 2013, she performed as a graduated concert with her self-organized music theater piece „Without guarantee“ in cooperation with the „Haus der Geschichte“ Stuttgart. Her studies of electronic music gave her many opportunities for working on interdisciplinary projects.
In her piece Me Du Ça for soprano and live electronic, she explores a combination of visual elements/costume as an extended instrument to create a mythical figure of medusa. In the piece “Messenger” for String-piano – an instrument/installation of her invention -, nylon strings are attached to an upright piano strings and to the pianist’s costume.
In search for a term encompassing all her creative output, she favours “theatrically extended composition” best, because theater is for her a means to “communicate with the audience and heighten perception”. She likes to work with flexible situations that she can not fully control, and she expands notions of interpretation and conceptual art through visual and theatrical elements, random operations, and the use of objects and electronics. In doing so, she alternately selects in advance fixed or in the course of the performance – playfully – changing settings. She collaborated with the ISMM research team at IRCAM (CoSiMa) and engineer Benjamin Matuszewski, on participatory setting using the audience’s smartphones.