MERCEDES CHEUNG BIOGRAPHY
Canadian-Chinese young violinist, Mercedes Cheung (Zhang) speaks in fluent French, English and Mandarin. she has been hailed as being "A True Music Prodigy" by many world leading musicians & media: "Very talented"- Itzhak Perlman (Faculty of Juilliard; world leading concert violinist), "Extremely gifted… A Wonderful talent”- Donald Weilerstein (Founder & First Violin of world famous Cleveland Quartet),"Wonderful memory and very gifted" - Joel Smirnoff (President of Cleveland Institute of Music, former String Department Head of Juilliard School, first Violin of Juiliard Quartet), "Very very gifted...A wonderful talent" - David Cerone (Former President of Cleveland Institute of Music, and Violin Department Chairman at Curtis, succeeding the late Ivan Galamian) Mercedes possesses a virtuosic technique and profound musicality that surpasses her tender age.
Mercedes is the Silver Medalist of the "2014 Teen's Talent Show" - American Youth Talent and Arts Competition, in New York (Competition started the Audition Round from early March to Final, end on July)
Mercedes has been selected by Maestro Shlomo Mintz as the 2014 youngest one of the twelve gifted violinists [Age up to 27]; to Join the Crans-Montana Classics in Switzerland, she has been invited to solo with Maestro Shlomo Mintz together for the Vivaldi: Concerto for Four Violins with the National Chamber "Kiev Soloists" in the closing concert.
On April 8, 2012, Mercedes made her orchestral debut with the Markham String Chamber Orchestra, performing Vivaldi's "Winter" Concerto from The Four Seasons. A month later, on May 28, 2012. she performed as soloist in Sarasate's Zigeunerweisen with the Markham Symphony Orchestra.
Mercedes is the world's youngest violinist (Age 10) ever to have performed the most virtuosic and challenging repertoire: the complete 24 Caprices by Paganini in her Carnegie Hall debut recital on December 28, 2012 ( Slated for November 3, 2012 but postponed due to Hurricane Effects). She is also the youngest violinist ever, at age 10, to record in one take the complete 24 Caprices on DVD & CD which have been released on May 28, 2012. Mercedes has also performed a solo recital in Paul Hall, 60 Lincoln Centre Plaza at 65th Street, New York on January 12, 2013, Saturday.
Mercedes has been admitted with a full scholarship to the Juilliard School of Music Pre-College Division-Young Talented Program as the 2010 youngest (8 years old) winner after she auditioned with the music: Paganini: 24 Caprices, No. 24; Vieuxtemps: Violin Concerto, No. 5 (Complete); Bach: Solo Sonatas and Partitas, Sonata, No. 1 (Complete) for 8 Jurors ( Itzhak Perlman, Sally Thomas, Stephen Clapp etc.).
Mercedes also has been awarded full scholarships from the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, and the Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for the Young Artists at The Royal Conservatory of Music to studies Chamber Music with Barry Shiffman, and violin with Paul Kantor at Glenn Gould School. Mercedes has master classes and lessons with Shlomo Mintz, Zakhar Bron (Teacher of Maxim Vengerov and Vadim Repin etc.), David Cerone (former Violin Department Chairman at Curtis Institute of Music, succeeding late Ivan Galamian) and Sungsic Yang, she has also lessons with Robert Lipsett and Joel Smirnoff, and master class with Soovin Kim.
Mercedes currently studies with Donald Weilerstein (Faculty of Juilliard School and New England Conservatory, Dorothy Richard Starling Chair, Teacher of many International Violin Competition Winners), and her father, Ephraim Cheung (Music Director and Conductor, Markham Symphony Orchestra and designated faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music Pre-College): this arrangement was recommended by Weilerstein.
In 2011, Mercedes was offered a full scholarship to study at the Royal Conservatory of Music "Young Artists Performance Academy" at the age of 9. On July 8th, 2011, she was invited by world-famous violinist, Barry Shiffman as a special guest soloist to perform at the Banff Centre Artists Concert in Rolston Recital Hall, in 2013, July 13, Mercedes gave her solo performance again at the Rolston Recital Hall as a returned Artist. Mercedes is the youngest one in the history of the Royal Conservatory of Music to obtain First Class Honours in her Grade 10 violin exam (Age 7) and ARCT Violin Performer Diploma Exam (Age 9). Her intense discipline and passionate dedication in her violin studies has brought her to an amazing artistic excellence within a short period of time. She has also equally distinguished herself in her spectacular piano playing.
At the age of 2 years and 7 months, Mercedes started to play the violin and 2 years later, she requested her father, Ephraim Cheung to give her formal lessons. On December 21, 2008, Mercedes gave her “Six Years Old” public violin solo recital debut at the Markham Theatre for Performing Arts where she performed a full two-hour concert comprising 8 selections of music (Mozart: Violin Concerto No.3 [Complete], Beethoven: Romance No.2, Hubay: Hejre Kati, Beethoven: Spring Sonata [1st Mvt], Chopin: Nocturne in C# Minor, Elgar: Salut d'amour, Sarasate: Ziguenerweisen, Encore-Bach: Solo Partita No.2, Allemande & Christmas Song), all from memory. Her excellent memory, superb technique & musical maturity shocked the media & audience, and hence, from their love & respect, Mercedes received a full house standing ovation. After this extremely successful performance, Mercedes has been invited to perform in many concerts and events. She has been regularly interviewed by various media including Newstalk 1010 (John Moore), WNED Classical FM 94.5, Buffalo (Peter Hall), Canada AM National Television (Beverly Thomson), City TV, Rogers, Fairchild, Omni, Talentvision, CTV, & Sinovision (New York) TVs which aired the interviews on local and national news broadcasts including an one-hour long interview and documentary on Fairchild TV. Online and local newspapers including Sing Tao Daily, Ming Pao, World Journal, Markham Economist and Sun, and Markham Review published news articles on her performances as well as on Whole Note & "Toronto Life" Magazine . Mercedes has been interviewed live on air and has invited to be a guest on TVOKinds for their special "Music" day which aired om New Year's Day 2013
Mercedes is the Winner of the prestigious 2010 Achievement and Civic Recognition Award (ACRA) in the Cultural Category (Markham, Canada) along with two other category winners: Seneca College President, David Agnew (ACRA-Technology Award) & Co-Founders of "Free the Children", Craig & Marc Kielburger (ACRA-Community Award).
MERCEDES' MOST HIGHLIGHTED PERFORMANCES INCLUDE:
On December 30, 2008 (her 7th birthday), Mercedes performed at the Gala Banquet of the World Journal Newspapers. On April 3, 2009, she received a three-day notice to appear as one of the youngest artists-violin soloist in “Love Across the Pacific” benefit concert for China’s Szechuan earthquake in P.C. Ho Theatre at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto along with 8 pop and classical superstar singers from China. Mercedes has not only appeared in performances in the concert hall, she has also performed at Government special events such as the "Tribute Performance" (violin solo on June 23, 2009) to Councillor Tony Wong & Senior’s Hall of Fame Awards at Markham Civic Centre. Mercedes' performances followed month after month. On July 1, 2009, she performed as a violin soloist at "the Canada Day Celebrations"- Mayor & Councillors' Luncheon at Le Parc Dining & Banquet Halls. Thereafter, on August 30, 2009, she performed at the Markham Community Outdoor Concert hosted by Member of Provincial Parliament for Oak Ridges & Markham. On September 19, 2009, Mercedes was featured as the youngest artist to perform (Violin Solo) at the Meadowvale Theatre in celebration of the Moon Festival and Commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the Mississauga Mandarin Association. Then on October 31, 2009, Mercedes performed at the Halloween Banquet hosted by Markham Rotary Club and following that, on November 19, 2009, she was featured as the youngest violinist at the Opening Gala "Spotlight 2009-Youth Talent in York Region" (with Canadian Idol Judge, Farley Flex as Master of Ceremonies), hosted by The Children's Aid Foundation. That evening, Mercedes was the only performer to be interviewed by Rogers TV and also received an Award of Recognition for "Outstanding Musical Ability and Contribution" from the Markham Mayor & Members of Council. Three days later on November 22, 2009, Mercedes was invited to perform at the Opening Ceremonies Gala in Recognition of International, National, Provincial & Regional Championships Winners, hosted by the Markham Sport Council. Mercedes was the only one who received a full house standing ovation and a scholarship.
Mercedes was invited by Canadian Idol judge, Farley Flex, to perform as violin soloist at the Durham International Festival on July 16 to 18 2010 and also invited to perform as soloist at the Canada-China 40th Anniversary Diplomatic Relations Concert on August 8th. With all these extremely successful performances, Mercedes has proven herself to be one of the most gifted, versatile and virtuosic prodigy violinists of today. She will continue to present her solo performances in Canada, USA and Asia. Mercedes plays on a Josef Guadagnini 1773, on permanent loan to her from an anonymous benefactor.