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Korean Instrumental Music


Chung Kyung-wha, one of the world's foremost violinists, Chung Myung-wha, a cellist, and their youngest brother, the world-renown conductor Chung Myung-whun, formerly of the French National Bastille Opera, established the Chung Trio during the 1970s. They have performed with world class orchestras throughout the world and produced numerous recordings. Not only have they received praise from foreign critics, they have also enjoyed a popular following among Korean music-lovers as well. They have also presented concerts as part of the United Nations' crusade against drug abuse.

Other world-class violinists include Kang Tong-sok and Kim Yong-uk. Recently, two young prodigies, the violinist Chang Sarah and the cellist Chang Han-na, have made headlines. Also, Ko Pong-in from the Korean National University of the Arts' youth program, won top honors at the Young Tchaikovsky Competition in 1997.

Pianists Lee Kyong-suk and Paek Hye-son are also active as both performers and teachers. Other pianists, like Han Tong-il of Boston and Paek Kon-u of Paris, perform frequently on the international stage. Paek is particularly well known for his interpretation of Ravel.

 


Ga-Yeon Lee is a Korean violinist.

Born in Seoul, Korea in 1992, Ga-Yeon Lee began her music studies at age four, when she started taking violin lessons for kids. Ms. Lee has performed as a soloist with the Daejeon Philharmonic Orchestra, the University of Cincinnati Orchestra, the American Academy of Conducting Orchestra of Aspen Music Festival, and the Summit Symphony, among others. She has performed internationally as a soloist with the Starling Chamber Orchestra and on the Kumho Prodigy Recital in Korea. She was winner of the Stravinsky Violin Concerto Competition at the Aspen Music Festival in 2003, first prize winner at the Dayton Philharmonic Violin Solo Competition, the special-prize winner of the Henri Marteau International Violin Competition, and the scholarship winner of the Cincinnati Symphony Women's Club Annual Scholarship Competition. She has performed in masterclasses given by Joseph Silverstein, Pamela Frank, and Gil Shaham.

Recently, she was featured on National Public Radio (NPR)ís From the Top where she collaborated with Christopher O'Riley. Ms. Lee has participated in Aspen Music Festival and Great Mountains Music Festival. She has served as the concertmaster for Juilliard Pre-College Symphony and principal second violinist of the Aspen Concert Orchestra. Ms. Lee studies with Cho-Liang Lin and Naoko Tanaka and chamber music with Masao Kawasaki at the Juilliard School Pre-College Division as a scholarship student.

Kim Chee Yun (born 1970) is a South Korean female violinist from Seoul. Her professional name is "Chee-Yun".

Chee-Yun performed in Korea at the age of 13. She studied at the Juilliard School with Dorothy DeLay, Hyo Kang, and Felix Galimir. She won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 1989 which led to her New York City recital debut at Carnegie Hall. She records for the Denon label.

Chee-yun was appointed Artist-in-Residence at the Southern Methodist University, Dallas Texas in 2008. Besides teaching, she still actively tours around and gives recitals and concert performances. Chee-yun Kim owns a Francesco Ruggerie violin made in the year 1669 which she purchased during the early years of her career. Chee-Yun plays the Stradivarius "Ex-Strauss" (Cremona, 1708), loaned by Samsung Corporation.

She appeared in the October 18th, 2009 episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, "Denise Handicapped".

Biography

Kyung-wha Chung's musical career began at the age of three. Her fame in the seventies and eighties was at the top level, and ranked alongside the great violinists Pinchas Zukerman and Itzhak Perlman. Chung later extended her repertoire in her interpretations of Romantic, Modern music, Baroque and Mozart.

Early years

Kyung-wha Chung was born to a very musical family. Her mother recognised her musical talent from a young age (she began to sing at the age of two). With her perfect pitch, Chung was a good singer, winning several small competitions. Following this success she was introduced to the piano, but the instrument bored her so much that she often fell asleep while practicing. However, the moment she first heard the sound of a violin, she was instantly mesmerized by its tone. With an amazing amount of focus, and surprising speed of learning for one so young, Kyung-wha Chung began to play the violin from the age of seven. She was known as a child prodigy, and by the age of nine she was already playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. As time progressed she steadily won most of the famous music competitions in Korea. Chung, with her siblings, toured around the country, performing music both as soloist and as a part of an ensemble. As the children became more and more famous in Korea, Chung's mother felt that it was too small a country for her children to further their musical careers, and she decided to move to America. All of Chung's siblings played classical instruments and three of them became professional musicians. Her younger brother, Myung-whun Chung is a conductor and a pianist who won the second prize in the Tchaikovsky Competition against Andrei Gavrilov. Her older sister, Myung-wha Chung, who plays cello and studied under great Gregor Piatigorsky, has won many competitions (among them, the Geneva Competition) and currently teaches at the Korean National University of Arts in Seoul.

America

At age thirteen she arrived in the United States. However, Chung's family found that moving to America was not an easy undertaking. With the help of Myung-Soh, her older flautist sister who was studying at Juilliard School, Chung received an invitation to audition for Pre-College division of Juilliard. The audition was successful, and Chung was awarded a full scholarship to Juilliard with the possibility of studying under the renowned pedagogue Ivan Galamian.

Juilliard

Studying in Juilliard was not easy. The language barrier was huge and being a part of a racial minority group meant that Chung often felt like an outsider. She was one of the best child violinists in Korea, but at Juilliard, competing against some of the best young prodigies in the world, Chung found that her talent was less developed than others.

Faced with these challenges she was determined to distinguish herself, working so hard that her family began to fear for her health. Galamian's training was very strict, renowned for causing students to leave the school. However, for Chung's work-ethic, it seemed that his technique was exactly what she needed. Her playing matured considerably during this time with the help of her teacher. Galamian, however, was known to be prejudiced against female violinists. Although he knew of her talent, he thought she could go only so far as a professional violinist. He always told her not to get married, as he had seen promising female violinists before her choose marriage over violin performance. Subsequently, she proved the possibility of having children and a successful concert career.

 

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