Alumni Spotlight: Jake Cheng

Jake Cheng, a junior at the West Morris Mendham high school attended Westmont in the toddler program with Mrs. Maureen Coleman in 2003 and preschool with Mrs. Kim Koch the following two years. As a 5-year old, constructing the Grand Array along with the good-natured congratulatory indulgence of his fellow classmates is a feeling he remembers with fondness.

Now 17, he enjoys building and customizing computers, and baking macarons. His endless pursuit in different sports confirmed his great mediocrity as an athlete until a chance introduction to fencing in the 8th grade. He made his high school’s varsity team two years later. (Don’t lose hope there is a sport for everyone.)

Nowadays, Jake is a competitive pianist, privileged to have had the opportunity to perform at New York City’s prestigious concert venues including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, and the Grace Rainey Rodgers Auditorium at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In New Jersey, he has appeared at the Mayo Performing Arts Center, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the Nicolas Music Center at Rutgers and the Concert Hall at Drew University.

Twice commended as a Music Student of the Month by the Mayo Performing Arts Center, Jake recently performed for the New Jersey Arts Council funded Crescent Concerts, which features the state’s exceptional artists aged 18 and under.

In 2017, he was one of six duet pairs who advanced to the national round in Baltimore with pianist Jeffrey Koc, after they won the state and eastern divisional rounds. In the 2018 season, Jake and his partner successfully defended their New Jersey title and placed second at the Eastern division competition rounds.

This summer Jake looks forward to college visits, applying to college, and catching up on sleep!