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Kyung Wha Chung

Violin
Faculty Member, The Juilliard School
Artistic Director, Pyeonchang Music Festival
Chair Professor for Music, Ewha University, Seoul
Member of the Presidential Committee for Cultural Enrichment, South Korea

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Several ICA artists will take part in the 14th annual PyeongChang Music Festival

Several ICA artists will take part in the 14th annual PyeongChang Music Festival

Several ICA artists will take part in the 14th annual PyeongChang Music Festival (formerly known as the Great Mountains Music Festival & School), led by Artistic Director Kyung Wha Chung, taking place from 18 July until 7 August in South Korea Pianist Kevin Kenner will be performing on 3 August as part of the Distinguished ...

Kyung Wha Chung: Bach in Bristol, London & New York

Kyung Wha Chung: Bach in Bristol, London & New York

Following her triumphant return to the European concert stage in 2014, Kyung Wha Chung now returns to the UK for two performances – the first, at St George’s, Bristol (6 May), and the second at The Barbican Centre, London (10 May) – before making her highly anticipated return to the US stage with a solo ...

Biography

Kyung Wha Chung is recognised throughout the world as one of the finest violinists of her generation.  A prolific recording artist, her dazzling and probing artistry has made her a much-acclaimed performer throughout her forty-year career.  Lauded for her passion, her musicality, and the intense excitement that she brings to her performances, Chung’s uniquely expressive interpretations of the violin literature have established her as an artist of the very highest stature.  Born in South Korea, Chung first heard the violin at the age of six.  Instantly mesmerised by its tone, she was swiftly recognised as a child prodigy, making her concert debut aged nine with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, performing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto.  At thirteen, Chung enrolled at The Juilliard School, New York, and began studying with renowned pedagogue Ivan Galamian, and later with Joseph Szigeti.

Upon winning the prestigious Edgar Leventritt Competition in 1967, Chung was immediately engaged by major American orchestras – including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic – and also performed at the exclusive White House Gala.  She made her sensational European debut in 1970, performing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Sir André Previn and the London Symphony Orchestra, at London’s Royal Festival Hall.  This concert was met with great critical acclaim and public attention, and – as a result – Chung received offers of concerts throughout the United Kingdom.  Subsequently obtaining an exclusive recording contract with Decca/London, Chung’s debut album – of the Tchaikovsky and Sibelius concertos with Sir André Previn and the London Symphony Orchestra – brought her to international attention, and she continued to perform with the world’s greatest orchestras (including the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, London Philharmonic and Boston Symphony Orchestra, among others).  Throughout her career, Kyung Wha Chung has enjoyed working alongside the world’s finest conductors, including Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Charles Dutoit, Bernard Haitink, Riccardo Muti, Sir André Previn, Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Georg Solti and Klaus Tennstedt.  Her chamber music partnerships have included high calibre pianists such as Peter Frankl, Kevin Kenner, Stephen Kovacevich, Radu Lupu, and Krystian Zimerman.

Kyung Wha Chung has recorded numerous award-winning albums, and her extensive discography reflects the impressive breadth of her repertoire.  Following her recording contract with Decca/London, in 1988 Chung subsequently signed for a period with EMI Classics, and also released recordings with RCA and Deutsche Grammophon.  Winner of two Gramophone Awards (the first, for her Deutsche Grammophon album of Strauss and Respighi sonatas with Krystian Zimerman; the second, for her EMI recording of Bartók’s Second Violin Concerto with Sir Simon Rattle), Chung has also received many prizes and top honours – including the Medal of Civil Merit from the South Korean government, and the Ho Am Prize for the Arts in 2011.

Following an injury to her hand, Chung stopped performing in 2005.  During this time away from the stage, she found a new calling as a teacher, joining the faculty of her alma mater, The Juilliard School.  In addition to this, Kyung Wha Chung is Chair Professor for Music at Ewha University in Seoul, and Charity Ambassador for Better World (an active patron for their Child Rescue Project in Africa).  She is also the Artistic Director of the PyeongChange Music Festival (formerly Great Mountains Music Festival & School), based in South Korea.

Five years after her retirement, 2010 marked Chung’s triumphant return to the Asian stage.  Greeted by enthusiastic audiences and the highest critical acclaim, in 2013 she embarked on an extensive Asian tour of fifteen cities, including Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing.  Kyung Wha Chung made her much anticipated return to the European concert platform in December 2014, with a national UK tour culminating in a sensational sell-out recital at the Royal Festival Hall, London.  In July 2016 she opened the prestigious Verbier Festival, performing the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Verbier Festival Orchestra and Charles Dutoit.

Kyung Wha Chung has signed an exclusive international record contract with Warner Classics, the first release of which – Solo Bach Sonatas & Partitas – was released during the 2016/2017 concert season, with performances at Suntory Hall (January 2017), The Barbican Centre (May 2017) and Carnegie Hall (May 2017).  Highlights of the 2017/2018 concert season include the recording the Brahms Concerto with Sir Antonio Pappano and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, with three concerts in Rome (February 2018) and a performance at the Abu Dhabi Festival (March 2018).

Reviews

One of the most mesmerising and enjoyable performances I can remember.
- The Strad
, 2017
A sound of utter resplendency, a brilliantly shining tone right across the instrument…simply, relentlessly magnificent.
- The Sunday Times
 (Paul Driver)
, 2014
What a marvel is South Korean violinist Kyung Wha Chung…rich impassioned sound…immaculate definition…a miracle of momentum and humanity.
- The Herald, Scotland
 (Michael Tumelty)

Discography

Bach: Sonatas & Partitas
Released October 2016 on Warner Classics

Complete Bach Sonatas and Partitas for unaccompanied violin.

“I’m delighted to announce that I am so happy to be returning to the recording studio after many years for a series of exciting artistic projects. The first of these is the solo Sonatas & Partitas of J.S.Bach: a monumental task. This is the unending quest of my musical journey.” – Kyung Wha Chung

Complete Warner Recordings
Released April 2015 on Warner Classics

This 11-CD collection, which unites recordings made between 1978 and 2000, showcases the different facets of her art: as a concerto soloist; in works for solo violin and piano, and as a chamber musician. Also included in the box is a DVD of the Beethoven Violin Concerto, recorded in Amsterdam with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Klaus Tennstedt.

Complete Decca Recordings
Released January 2015 on Decca
Original Jackets Collection
20 CDs
Beethoven: Symphony No 5 / Brahms: Violin Concerto
Released September 2001 on EMI Classics

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Simon Rattle

Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
Released January 2001 on EMI Classics

St Luke’s Chamber Ensemble

Released 2001 on EMI Classics