Award-winning pianist talks her career as a classical performer specialized in contemporary repertoire and her many collaborations with John Williams, including her solos on Munich and The Adventures of Tintin, and the recent premiere of ‘Prelude and Scherzo’ for Piano and Orchestra
Hosted by Maurizio Caschetto
Pianist Gloria Cheng belongs in the category of instrumentalists who are true favourites of John Williams to the point of being even an inspiration for the composer. One of the most acclaimed musicians of his generation and an advocate of the contemporary repertoire and new-music, Gloria Cheng performed as pianist for John Williams in many film scores since the mid-2000s and has been spotlighted as soloist on such scores as Munich(2005), The Adventures of Tintin (2011) and War Horse (2011). She also performed on other Williams’ scores including The BFG, The Post, and the Star Wars sequel trilogy. In addition to the film work, Cheng also had the unique honour of performing Williams’ rare piano compositions for the concert hall: the 4-movement Conversations for solo piano (written and dedicated to her between 2013 and 2014), and the Prelude and Scherzo for piano and orchestra, which premiered in Barcelona in 2021 with the Orquesta Sinfónica del Vallès under Marc Timón, and later for its American premiere with the Albany Symphony Orchestra conducted by David Alan Miller.
Gloria Cheng is one of the world’s leading interpreters of piano works by major composers and a true advocate for new music, establishing fruitful partnerships with such contemporary music icons as Gyorgy Ligeti, Pierre Boulez, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Terry Riley, Thomas Adès and Steven Stucky. Gloria Cheng also works frequently as pianist and keyboardist for film scores and has performed on soundtracks by by such composers as Randy Newman, James Horner, Michael Giacchino. In 2005, she began a fruitful association with John Williams that continues until this day.
In this conversation, Gloria talks about her career as a classical performer and her path that led to perform as pianist for film scores; she recollectes her first experience playing for John Williams on Munich, the challenges of playing the solo on Tintin and her views on the Maestro’s style when writing for piano, reflecting upon her experiences playing Conversations and the Prelude and Scherzo.