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—Bartok, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Gershwin, Grieg, Mozart, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Saint-Saens, Schumann, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky with invitations to dozens of orchestras worldwide as guest soloist. Recent concerto performances include invitations to perform with the Toronto Symphony, Quebec Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Windsor Symphony, Fort Collins Symphony, New Bedford Symphony and Shanghai Symphony, Shenzhen Symphony as well as with Philharmonisches Orchester Erfurt in Germany, Krakow Philharmonic of Poland, North Czech Philharmonic, Jalisco Philharmonic and Orquesta Filarmonica Boca del Rio of Mexico, Orquesta Filarmonica de Bogota in Colombia among many others. In Canada, Sheng Cai was also invited by the Vancouver Symphony to perform for the Chinese New Year Gala Concert and has performed with numerous regional orchestras in the USA 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, Myron Michailidis, Donato Cabrera, Robert Franz, Dina Gilbert, Guoyong Zhang, Marco Parisotto and Eckart Preu.
In solo recitals, Sheng Cai has appeared 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, Montreal and Winnipeg. He inaugurated the Ningbo concert hall in China, giving both recitals and concerto performances. As a chamber musician, Sheng Cai has collaborated with many fine artists, including the Enso String Quartet. Many of his performances have been broadcast on across North America, such as CBC Radio Canada and WCLV Radio station in the USA.
Sheng Cai is a passionate recording artist. His first recording was a CD of works by Mozart and Martinu for the Canadian Broadcast Company. His most recent Schumann and Liszt CD releases on Centaur and ATMA Classique labels gained international acclaim from the American Record Guide, The international Music Web review in the UK, the Wholenote Magazine in Canada and the Fanfare music Magazine in the USA.
He was a top-prize winner at many competitions throughout his teenage years, including the Montreal Symphony Orchestra 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 USA.
Sheng Cai is instrumental in advocating many neglected great works of piano literature, works by composers such as Enescu, Kabalevsky, Kapustin, Medtner, Morawetz, Villa-Lobos, and a number of his own works frequently show up in his concert programs. His creative programming has made people aware that such treasures of the piano literature deserve a wider audience.