In a career that has already spanned more than 25 years, KYUNG-WHA CHUNG has been one of the most sought-after musicians on the international stage. She has earned recognition worldwide as a performing artist of the very highest stature: in 1972 the South Korean government awarded Chung with its highest honor, the medal of Civil Merit; and she has been cited by the Sunday Times of London as one of the most important contributors to the British cultural scene. The depth of her musicianship, her commitment, and her passion for her art characterize each performance and recording.
Kyung-Wha Chung was born in South Korea, but at the age of twelve left her native country to study with Ivan Galamian at the Juilliard School in New York. After winning the Leventritt competition in 1967, she embarked upon her career in North America, appearing with many of the world’s finest orchestras. She made her sensational European debut in 1970 at the Royal Festival Hall with André Previn and the London Symphony Orchestra, playing the Tchaikovsky Concerto. Her success was so great that she was immediately booked by them for three more London concerts, a tour of Japan, as well as a television appearance. Engagements with the London Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, and Cleveland Orchestra followed, firmly establishing her international career.
During the past two decades, she has appeared in recitals as well as with virtually all of the major orchestras and conductors throughout North America, Europe, and the Far East. Chung was honored with a Gramophone Award for her recording of Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 2 and two Rhapsodies, with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Simon Rattle. She has been an exclusive recording artist with EMI Classics since 1988. Recent recordings include Souvenirs, a violin and piano recital disc with Itamar Golan, which was released in September 1999. In January 2001, she released Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, a recording made with St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble.
Chamber music plays a very important part in Chung’s performing life. Her recording of Beethoven’s Piano Trios Op. 11 and Op. 97 (“Archduke”) with her brother Myung-Whun Chung and her sister Myung-Wha Chung, released in September 1994, has received great critical acclaim. The Chung Trio is also honored to bear the title Honorary Ambassador of the United Nations Drug Control Program.
Having previously maintained a busy schedule of nearly 120 concerts each season, Kyung-Wha Chung now restricts her performances to no more than 60 performances a year in order to devote more time to her two sons, Frederick and Eugene. Highlights of her 1998/1999 season included performances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and André Previn, the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Berlin Staatskapelle, and the Munich Philharmonic with Kent Nagano. Her 1999/2000 season included many concerts in Europe as well as performances with Jukka-Pekka Saraste and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Orchestra under Wolfgang Sawallisch. The 2000/20001 season sees her touring Korea in November as well as a tour of Canada and the States with concerts in New York, Los Angeles, Vancouver, San Francisco, Anchorage, and Chicago.