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