headshot photo of Dr. Clara Cheng

Dr. Clara Cheng

Collaborative Arts
College of Performing Arts; Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music
Office Location: Oliphant Hall 303
Office Location: Bertea Hall 217


A native of Taiwan, collaborative pianist Clara Cheng has worked extensively in recitals, master classes and studios with renowned musicians, including pianists Malcolm Martineau, Martin Katz, Michael Boyd, and Walter Ponce, violinists William Fitzpatrick, Kurt Sassmannhaus, Mark Kaplan and Earl Carlyss, violists Donald McInnes and Robert Becker, tenor Robert White, baritone Vladimir Chernov, bass Eric Halfvarson, among others. She has played as an orchestral pianist and opera répétiteur under the batons of Maestri Jane Glover, Richard Bado, Josep Caballé-Domenech, Brent McMunn, and John Williams. Clara had given numerous performances of both solo repertory and chamber music in prestigious venues such as Zipper Hall in Los Angeles, Irvine Barclay Theater, and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City, as well as international venues in Italy, Taiwan and Japan. She had also received various awards, including first prize from the Benno Rubinyi Competition and Gluck Fellowship.

A much sought-after collaborative pianist in Southern California, Clara currently serves as the vocal coach at Fullerton College, opera coach at California State University in Long Beach, and staff pianist at Chapman University. She has also worked with the Los Angeles Opera outreach program since 2011. During summers, Clara serves on the faculty of the Art Song Festival in Toledo, Ohio, and Idyllwild Summer Arts Program in California. In 2013, Clara joined the faculty of OperaWorks in both its 1st winter intensive program as well as its 27th summer season of Emerging Artists Program.

Clara was invited to Aspen Opera Theater Center in summers of 2009 and 2010 as a fellowship coach where she worked with prominent figures such as soprano Dawn Upshaw, and stage director Edward Berkeley and Garnett Bruce. Clara also participated in the Music Academy of the West 2007 as a collaborative piano fellow. In summers of 2005 and 2006 and 2012, Clara joined Operafestival di Roma as a vocal coach and recital pianist, in which she worked closely with sopranos Elizabeth Dodd and Beverly Hay in preparing young participants for public performances in central Rome.

Clara has received her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Keyboard Collaborative Arts from University of Southern California, Master of Music in Collaborative Piano from The Juilliard School, and Bachelor of Music from University of California in Los Angeles. Teachers with whom she studied include renowned pianists Dr. Alan Smith, Jonathan Feldman, Brian Zeger, Margo Garrett, and Walter Ponce.