Awarded Second Prize and Audience Prize at the 2011 Westfield International Fortepiano Competition by a jury that included Robert Levin and the late Christopher Hogwood, fortepianist Mike Cheng-Yu Lee’s performances have since garnered attention for the fresh perspectives they bring to familiar repertoire. For his first solo recital in Australia he received a rare five-star review in Limelight Magazine: “Try as one might, it was hard to avoid cliché responses like ‘stunning’, even ‘electrifying’. I don’t think I have heard a Mozart recital quite like this. I heard things in Mozart’s music I had never thought possible and certainly had never encountered before.” The Bloomington Herald Times additionally writes: “As a keyboard performer, Lee really is a major talent, no doubt about it; I expect press notices to start coming before long in praise of his musicianship.”
Mike is an advocate of fortepianos that span the 18th- to the early 20th-centuries. Adept at working with both period and modern performers, he has appeared as fortepianist with the New World Symphony at the invitation of Michael Tilson Thomas and collaborated with musicians such as Joseph Lin, Cynthia Roberts, Clancy Newman, the Formosa Quartet, among others. As a fortepianist, he has appeared as guest artist at modern piano series (such as Grand Piano Series-FL, Silvermine Artists Series-CT) as well as both early and modern music festivals (such as 23Arts Festival-NY, Mayfest Chamber Music Festival-NY, and the Bloomington Early Music Festival-IN).
As a devoted and experienced teacher, he has recently performed and given masterclasses at the Royal Academy of Music (London), Oberlin Conservatory, the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (Perth). Current projects include the complete cycle of Mozart’s piano sonatas and a series of five week-long residencies at Cornell University that aim to expand upon the present state of research in historical keyboard performance.
Mike has served as Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Indiana University–Bloomington. As a published scholar, he has presented on issues of performance practice, musical form, and musical embodiment at the Society for Music Theory, the European Music Analysis Conference, and the Society for Music Analysis. Mike studied at the Yale School of Music and holds a Ph.D. in musicology from Cornell University where he won the Donald J. Grout Memorial Dissertation Prize. His teachers have included Malcolm Bilson, Boris Berman, and the renowned Haydn scholar James Webster.
Mike is currently Lecturer at the Australian National University, School of Music and Director of the ANU Keyboard Institute – the largest collection of historical pianos in the southern hemisphere.