The New York Philharmonic

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Soohyun Kwon

Violinist Soohyun Kwon, The Joan and Joel I. Picket Chair, became a member of the New York Philharmonic in September 2001. Prior to joining the Philharmonic, Kwon performed as a soloist with many orchestras, including the Vienna Symphony Chamber Orchestra at the Bregenz Summer Music Festival, Prague Symphony Chamber Orchestra at Smetana Hall, Vienna Mozart Orchestra at the Goldensaal Musikverein, Tchaikovsky Society, Shanghai Symphony, Korea Chamber Ensemble, and Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.


Kwon made her New York debut at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall and gave other recitals at Juilliard's Paul and Morse Halls, the Concertgebouw and Beurs van Berlage, in Amsterdam, and at the Seoul Arts Center.


A founding member of the Alma Piano Trio, she performed with the ensemble at Alice Tully Hall, Salisbury State University, Maryland, and at the Goethe Institute in New York. With her string quartet, Quartet 94, Kwon toured California, where she performed at the University of Southern California and at the inauguration of the Korean-American Museum in Los Angeles.


Kwon was born in Seoul, Korea, and began studying the violin at the age of six. She won several top prizes, studying with Nam Yun Kim and Min Kim. While an academic scholarship student at Seoul National University, Kwon transferred to The Juilliard School and received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees as a student of Glenn Dicterow. Kwon's interests include Korean and Chinese history and contemporary art.

“My first official concert was the 9/11 memorial concert in September 2001, when we performed Brahms’s 'A German Requiem.' It was an indescribably meaningful experience, as I felt that music had the power to connect souls between the living and the departed. ”

Q&A with Soohyun Kwon

THE FACTS: Born in Seoul, South Korea. Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from The Juilliard School. At the Philharmonic: Joined in September 2001.

EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY: My mother used to play an LP of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony in the morning over breakfast. She didn’t know a lot about music but thought I might like it. It was the first piece of music I fell in love with. I had been learning the piano, and one day, when I was six, my mom brought home a violin. I tried it and was good at it!

WHO WAS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCE? A friend who introduced me to diverse cultural and philosophical issues relating to art in general, when I was a freshman in college in South Korea.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING A MUSICIAN? I feel so fortunate to do something that I truly love. It is a privilege to make beautiful music with some of the greatest musicians in the world in front of an audience as diverse as New York’s. It is a luxury to make a profession out of practicing my passion.

WHAT WOULD YOU BE IF NOT A MUSICIAN? A historian — I wanted to major in East Asian history.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS WITH THE ORCHESTRA: My first official concert was the 9/11 memorial concert in September 2001, when we performed Brahms’s A German Requiem. I will never forget the incomparable emotions shared by the audience and all of us onstage. It was an indescribably meaningful experience, as I felt that music had the power to connect souls between the living and the departed. Another unforgettable experience was the 2008 visit to North Korea. My heart felt so heavy as I said goodbye to a land that once shared a 5,000-year history with my own. I personally experienced the senseless tragedy of our divided country.

IF YOU COULD PLAY ANOTHER INSTRUMENT, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Piano. It is a complete instrument — one can play melody, accompaniment, and percussion.

WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Matthias Goerne singing Schubert, Schumann, and Eisler Lieder

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? I love going to art museums and galleries, and traveling — learning about different cultures.

WHAT ARE YOU READING RIGHT NOW? I am currently reading books by Svetlana Alexievich and Alain de Botton.  

As of March 2016
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