Syau-Cheng Lai is a visual artist and classically trained pianist. She was born and raised in Taiwan where she also received her B.S in animal science from National Chung-Hsing University. A couple years later she received her M.S degree from Cornell University, and later received her Ph.D in Biopsychology from Cornell as well. Through her work she tries to create “both the ambiguous and the concrete…and to make present a poetic geometry that transcends the individual elements I use.”
For her work in art and music, she has received fellowships and grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Cornell Council for the Arts, and the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County. She is drawn to expansive projects, having performed J. S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Robert Schumann’s Fantasie in C major, Op. 17, Frederic Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated! , Olivier Messiaen’s Vingt regards sur l’Enfant-Jesus and Morton Feldman’s For Bunita Marcus, the latter integrated with Visualizing For Bunita Marcus, her site-specific installation of 30 yards of textured painting and drawing at Cornell’s Olive Tjaden Gallery.
She is currently preparing for an All Things Painterly Project, including Alexander Scriabin’s White Mass and Black Mass Sonatas, Maurice Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit, Miroirs, Jeux d’eau, Claude Debussy’s Estampes and Images, and Federico Mompou’s Musica Callada. She also collaborates with instrumentalists, choreographers and film artists on improvisation projects. Lai is a staff musician for the dance program at the Department of Performing and Media Arts at Cornell University. She resides in Ithaca, NY.