Mike Cheng-Yu Lee is one of a new generation of pianists performing on period pianos that span the early-18th to the 20th centuries. Awarded Second and Audience prizes at the inaugural Westfield International Fortepiano Competition by a jury that included the late Christopher Hogwood and Robert Levin, Mike regularly collaborates with historical and modern performers and ensembles. His collaborators have included Michael Tilson Thomas, musicians from the Juilliard, Formosa, and Aizuri quartets, Cynthia Roberts, and more recently Francisco Fullana (recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant), Clancy Newman (winner of the Walter W. Naumburg International Competition), among others.
Mike is regularly invited to teach and perform at music schools and institutions around the world. Recent engagements include the Fryderyk Chopin Institute (Warsaw) as artist-faculty at its 2023 Masterclasses, the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC) as faculty at its 2023 Beethoven Academy, and the Curtis Institute, Royal Academy of Music, New England Conservatory, Oberlin, University of Southern California, Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, etc. He is currently collaborating with ToneBase to produce a series of videos that introduce period pianos to its more than 8000 subscribers.
In recent years Mike has assumed the directorship of important instrument collections. In 2017-19 he was Director of the Australian National University Keyboard Institute, the southern hemisphere’s largest historical piano collection. From 2020-23 he was Artist-in-Residence at the Cornell Center for Historical Keyboards where he divided his work between performance, teaching, and curatorship. As a scholar, Mike’s research interests lie at the intersection between performance practice, music theory and analysis, and organology. In 2015-17 he was Visiting Assistant Professor of music theory at Indiana University–Bloomington. To date, his published writings have encompassed autograph studies, hermeneutics, and embodiment (19th-Century Music), and aspects of historical tempo, form, and meter (Music Theory Online).
A graduate of the Yale School of Music, Mike holds a Ph.D. in musicology from Cornell University with a dissertation that was awarded the Department of Music’s Donald J. Grout Memorial Dissertation Prize. His major teachers include Boris Berman, Malcolm Bilson, Michael Friedmann, and the Haydn scholar James Webster.