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Mike Cheng-Yu Lee

Visiting Scholar, Artist in Residence


Awarded Second Prize and Audience Prize at the first 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 debut 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 pianos 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 has collaborated with musicians from the Juilliard, Formosa, and Aizuri quartets, among others. As a devoted teacher, he has recently performed and given masterclasses at the Royal Academy of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, University of Southern California, Northwestern University, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

Mike has served as Visiting Assistant Professor at Indiana University-Bloomington, Lecturer at the Australian National University, and Director of the ANU Keyboard Institute. As a published scholar, he has presented on issues of performance and analysis, form, and Lewinian transformational theory at the Society for Music Theory, the European Music Analysis Conference, the New England Conference of Music Theorists, 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 was awarded the Donald J. Grout Memorial Dissertation Prize. His teachers have included Malcolm Bilson, Boris Berman, and the renowned Haydn scholar James Webster. He is currently Visiting Scholar–Artist in Residence with the Cornell Center for Historical Keyboards and teaches in the undergraduate piano program and the DMA program in Performance Practice.


  • Music