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