Recently described as “having the inner passion paired with Rubinstein’s nonchalance” by Thüringer Allgemeine in Germany, Canadian pianist Sheng Cai has embraced the keyboard tradition which epitomizes the greatness of the romantic virtuoso. His performances of major keyboard works of the past centuries have touched audiences and won the praise of critics on four continents. The Toronto Star headlined “This is a young man with real talent… from a clear, singing tone to a subtle sense of rubato to a judicious choice of tempi” and described as a pianist “with great confidence… gave more lucidity, color and power” by the Birmingham News. Sheng Cai has been honoured with a number of prizes and awards and continues to push the boundaries in interpreting both the established and rarities of the piano literature.
Since his debut with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at just fifteen years old, Sheng Cai has performed a broad spectrum of concerto repertoire from Mozart to 21st century composers with invitations to dozens of orchestras worldwide as guest soloist. Recent concerto performances include invitations to perform with the Toronto Symphony, Orchestre symphonique de Québec, Calgary Philharmonic, Windsor Symphony, Canton Symphony of Ohio, Fort Collins Symphony, New Bedford Symphony, Irving Symphony of Texas, and with Shanghai Symphony, Shenzhen Symphony as well as with Philharmonisches Orchester Erfurt in Germany, Kraków Philharmonic of Poland, North Czech Philharmonic, Jalisco Philharmonic and Orquesta Filarmónica Boca del Rio of Mexico, Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá in Colombia among many others. In Canada, Sheng Cai was also invited to perform with the Vancouver Symphony for the lunar New Year Gala Concert and has performed with numerous regional orchestras in the US and Canada from coast to coast such as Kingston, Kamloops, Folsom Lake Symphonies, Glacier Symphony of Montana. He has recently worked with many conductors such as Keith Lockhart, Yoav Talmi, David Lockington, Robert Moody, Charles Olivieri-Munroe, Myron Michailidis, Donato Cabrera, Robert Franz, Dina Gilbert, Guoyong Zhang, Marco Parisotto and Eckart Preu.
In solo recitals, Sheng Cai has been heard in many prestigious venues in North America, such as Steinway Hall in New York, Jordan Hall in Boston, Chicago’s international Music Center, the Cleveland Play House, the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, the Alys Stephens Center in Birmingham, CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, and other distinguished venues in Stratford, Elora, Montréal and Winnipeg. In China, he inaugurated the Ningbo concert hall, giving both recitals and concerto performances. As a chamber musician, Sheng Cai has collaborated with a number of fine artists, including the Enso String Quartet. Many of his performances have been broadcast across North America such as on CBC, Radio-Canada and WCLV Radio station in USA.
Sheng Cai is a passionate recording artist, his first recording was a CD of works by Mozart and Martinů for the Canadian Broadcast Company. His most recent Liszt and Grieg CD releases on ATMA classique labels gained international acclaim from the American Record Guide, The international Music Web Review in UK, the WholeNote Magazine in Canada and the Fanfare Music Magazine in the US.
He was a top-prize winner at many competitions throughout his teenage years, including the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal Competition (Concours OSM), Toronto Symphony Piano Competition, The International Young Artists Competition of Colorado, The Bay State competition in Boston, and was the youngest finalist and special prize winner at the Bösendorfer International Piano Competition in the US.
Sheng Cai is instrumental in advocating many neglected works that are peaks of the piano literature, works by composers such as Enescu, Kabalevsky, Kapustin, Medtner, Morawetz, Villa-Lobos and a number of his own works frequently shows up on his concert programs, his creative programming have made audience aware of such treasures of the piano literature deserves a wider audience.
Sheng Cai began his studies in Canada and US where he was a student at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and the Juilliard School’s pre-college division in New York. He received his Bachelor of Music Degree under full scholarship at The New England Conservatory in Boston. His teachers and mentors include pianists Anton Kuerti, Gary Graffman and Russell Sherman.