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 Pacific Music Festival Orchestra, and he has led sections under conductors Michael Tilson Thomas, Alexander Schneider, Eiji Oue and Christoph Eschenbach.
As a chamber musician, Cheng has performed at the Ravinia Festival, Caramoor Music Festival, Taos Chamber Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival and New York String Seminar. He has played in many of the Minnesota Orchestra’s chamber concerts, performing Franck’s Piano Quintet, Strauss’ Roses of the South Waltz, Gershwin’s Lullaby for String Quartet, Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence, Haydn’s Divertimento in D major and selections from Joplin’s The Red Back Book, with fellow performers including Andrew Litton on piano and violinists Joshua Bell and Pamela Frank. He has also collaborated in chamber settings with Alicia de Larrocha and the Shanghai String Quartet.
Cheng, who holds a degree from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, also studied at the Juilliard School in New York. His past teachers include Karen Tuttle, Michael Tree and William Kennedy, and he counts among his chamber music coaches Michael Tree, Samuel Rhodes, Miriam Fried, Paul Biss and Alan de Veritch, as well as members of the Tokyo String Quartet and the American String Quartet.