Saturday, May 12, 7:00 PM
Brahms and Rachmaninoff
Brahms violin concerto
Rachmaninoff Isle of Dead
Kam-Lung Cheng was born in Beijing, China, to a musical family. He began violin lessons at the age of seven with his father, a violin professor at the Central Conservatory of Music, despite the fact that at that time in China playing Western music was a punishable offence and had to be done in the utmost secrecy.
After the death of Chairman Mao, leader of the Republic of China, the family emigrated to Hong Kong, where Kam-Lung made his first television appearance. Visiting artist Mr. Christian Ferras was so impressed with his performance that he invited Kam-Lung to Europe to study under his tutelage. Unfortunately, it was not to be, as Mr. Ferras died under tragic circumstances – a great loss for both the music world and Kam-Lung.
In 1980 Kam-Lung obtained a DAAD scholarship to study at Freiburg in Germany, where he studied with Wolfgang Marschner and Florin Paul. After receiving a solo diploma in 1983 he was invited by Yehudi Menuhin to attend the International Menuhin Music Academy in Gstaad, Switzerland, where he worked with Felix Andrievsky, Alberto Lysy, and Yehudi Menuhin himself, performing frequently with the Camerata Lysy. In Baden-Baden, Germany, Kam-Lung met Mr. Henryk Szeryng, whose charismatic interpretation of Beethoven so overawed Kam-Lung that he dedicated his life to the interpretation of Beethoven’s music.
Kam-Lung won third prize at the Michaelangelo Abbado International Violin Competition in Italy and went on to study with Viktor Liberman and Philip Hirschhorn, receiving a solo and chamber music diploma from the Utrecht Conservatory in 1987. After graduation, he continued to visit master classes given by Prof. Yfrah Neaman and Josef Rissin and had private lessons with Ilya Grubert, Jean-Jacques Kantorow, and Valentin Zhuk. He made a highly successful appearance on Dutch television, playing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, and gave a recital at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
From 1987 until 2004, Cheng served as concertmaster in several European orchestras, including Vlaamse Opera in Belgium, l’Orchestre de l’Opera de Lyon in France, and Hoofdstad Operette Amsterdam and the Noord Nederlands Orkest in the Netherlands. He was also invited to join the string quartet of the Noord Nederlands Orkest, as primarius. Following the advice of Henryk Szeryng and Yehudi Menuhin, who was deeply impressed by Cheng’s rare gift of interpreting classical German music, Kam-Lung continued his profound search for the deeper spiritual meaning and essence of the music by the “three B’s” – Bach, Beethoven and Brahms – which formed the backbone of his repertoire. However, the virtuoso music of composers such as Paganini and Wieniawski, which attracted him as a child, always remained part of his repertoire.
Cheng currently resides in Rotterdam, concentrating on performing as a soloist, giving private lessons, and playing chamber music. In October 2004 he was appointed first concertmaster of Musica Ducis Brabantiae, one of the oldest and leading chamber orchestras in the Netherlands. In 2004 he played works of Bach, Bartok, Elgar, Francais, Vaughan Williams, and de Falla as a soloist with this orchestra. In 2005 he performed Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and in 2006 he played the solo works of Bach. He was also invited to be first concertmaster by ensembles such as Rotterdams Kamerorkest, Continuo-Rotterdam, and the Amadeus Ensemble. He also formed a piano trio and performed works of Brahms and Shostakovich at the Concertgebouw of Haarlem.
In 2007 he was appointed concertmaster of the Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra. He gave a brilliant performance of Paganini Concerto No.1 with the Acapulco Symphony Orchestra of Mexico. With the famous Italian pianist Adele Arno he formed a duo called West Meets East, playing major duo repertoire. At the beginning of 2008 they gave two concerts in Milan and Brescia, playing Beethoven, Brahms, Sarasate, Kreisler, and Paganini with great success and reengagements by the famous Milanese Concert Management 'la Societa dei Concerti for 2009/2010. He also performed Brahms, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Bach, Paganini concertos, and the Sarasate Carmen Fantasy with diverse orchestras in Mexico.
Cheng has soloed with the Hong Kong City Symphony Orchestra, the Koblenz Chamber Orchestra, the Südwestdeutschen Philharmonie, the Swiss Chamber Orchestra, the Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Noord Nederlands Orkest from the Netherlands, and the Philharmonia Moldova Rumania. (Recently he recorded the Brahms Violin Concerto with this orchestra). In September 2002 he had the honor of performing the Beethoven Violin Concerto on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the Philharmonia Moldova Rumania. (The legendary violinist Enescu performed at the very first concert of this orchestra!)
As a recitalist Kam-Lung Cheng has performed with pianists in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Italy, Hong Kong, Thailand, China, and USA. He is completely devoted to the favorite repertoires by Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms.
Since 2009 Kam-Lung has been performing as elite soloist in China and has been invited to give master classes in several major conservatories in that country.