Hae-Young Ham, Violin

The New York Philharmonic

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Biography
Hae-Young Ham

Violinist Hae-Young Ham, a member of the New York Philharmonic since 1986, last appeared as soloist with the Orchestra in 1991 with Erich Leinsdorf. As a winner of the Philharmonic’s Young Artists Competition in 1980, she was a soloist with Zubin Mehta. Ms. Ham has made solo appearances with the New Jersey Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Ann Arbor Symphony, Bergen Philharmonic, Seoul Philharmonic, and Korea’s KBS Symphony.

Active in chamber music, Ms. Ham is a member of the New York Philharmonic Ensembles, with which she has performed in Europe, Korea, and the U.S. She has participated in a chamber music residency in Hot Springs, Virginia, and in Germany’s Bahnhof Rolandseck Festival. Ms. Ham studied chamber music with Josef Gingold and Felix Galimir.

Ms. Ham has won top prizes in several national competitions in her native Korea as well as in the U.S. At age 15, when her family immigrated to the United States, she continued her studies with Margaret Pardee in The Juilliard School’s pre-college division. Later, she went on to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Juilliard.

“In high school the violin was the focus of my life. I didn’t know where it would go — I had no idea what it was like to be a professional musician. It was just something I wanted to pursue because I loved it.”

Q&A with Hae-Young Ham

THE FACTS: Born in Seoul, South Korea. Came to the U.S. in 1977 and entered Juilliard’s Pre-College Division, later receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Juilliard. Auditioned for the Philharmonic during first year of doctoral program. Prior to the Philharmonic: won numerous competitions, including the New York Philharmonic’s Young People’s Competition in 1980, leading to a solo appearance with the Orchestra under Zubin Mehta; was concertmaster of the Juilliard Orchestra in a joint concert with the New York Philharmonic. At the Philharmonic: Joined in 1986. Appeared as a soloist in Mozart's Concertone in 1991, conducted by Erich Leinsdorf.

EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY: At age four I sang in a children’s choir for radio and television. At five I sang for the president of South Korea and met the president and the first lady — I was thrilled! I began studying the violin at 12, but played the piano before that.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE VIOLIN? I was uninspired on the piano, but when introduced to the violin by a cousin, I took to it immediately.

FIRST PIECE OF MUSIC YOU FELL IN LOVE WITH:  Beethoven's Fifth Symphony; my father collected classical recordings, and there was always music in the house.

WHO WAS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCE? My violin teacher, Margaret Pardee, and my first Music Director, Zubin Mehta

WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU WANTED TO BE A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN? When I entered Juilliard, at age 15

WHAT WOULD YOU BE IF NOT A MUSICIAN? A designer or psychologist

MOST INSPIRING COMPOSERS: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and Richard Strauss

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS WITH THE ORCHESTRA: Mahler's Symphony No. 2 with Bernstein, Bruckner's Symphony No. 7 with Klaus Tennstedt, and Strauss's Four Last Songs with Jessye Norman

IF YOU COULD PLAY ANOTHER INSTRUMENT, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Piano or voice

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN LISTENING TO LATELY? Dvořák Piano Trios, Sutherland and Pavarotti’s album Operatic Duets, and Bill Evans

ARE THERE OTHER MUSICIANS IN YOUR FAMILY?  My husband, Samuel Wong, is a conductor and a physician. My 15-year-old daughter is studying piano in the Juilliard Pre-College Division, and my 12-year-old son plays cello.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? Go to the opera and theater, and travel with my family; we'll be going to Machu Picchu in August.

 As of May 2013

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