Born in Taiwan and raised in California, violist Sifei Cheng joined the Minnesota Orchestra in 1995. He has served as principal viola of the Charleston Symphony, New World Symphony and Juilliard Orchestra, and has led sections under Michael Tilson Thomas, Eiji Oue and Christoph Eschenbach. As a chamber musician, he has played in the Ravinia Festival, Caramoor Music Festival, Taos Chamber Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival and the New York String Seminar. Some of his past coaches include Samuel Rhodes, Miriam Fried, Paul Biss, Alan de Veritch, the Tokyo String Quartet and the American String Quartet. He has collaborated in chamber music with artists such as Joshua Bell, Pamela Frank, Andrew Litton and our own Creative Partner for Summer Programming Jon Kimura Parker. Cheng was also recently appointed principal viola of the Minnesota Bach Ensemble.
His pursuits outside of classical music have included recording for the late and legendary Prince, as well as serving as principal viola in the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience which debuted in 2017 in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Cheng holds a degree from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and has also studied at the Juilliard School in New York. His past teachers include Karen Tuttle, Michael Tree and William Kennedy.
I love song and the great singers of any genre who sing them. If I could sing, that's what I would pursue. Until then, I will only be performing in my car and in the shower!”