Interview
with
Pianist,
Hyun-Mi Chung

 

 

 

 
Interviewer: Miss Chung, how did you begin playing piano?

Miss Chung: According to my mother, I was singing songs when I was four years old and that was when she let me start to have piano lessons.

Interviewer: You were in Kindergarten in Korea at that time?

Miss Chung: Yes. I began in Korea and in 1975, when I was a teenager, I went to New York to go to Juilliard School.

Interviewer: Whom did you study with at Juilliard School?

Miss Chung: I studied with Miss Jane Carlson for three years in pre-college division and when I continued at regular division, I studied with Mr. William Masselos for the following six years.

Interviewer: Did you attend Juilliard School for nine years?

Miss Chung: Yes. It may seem long but I enjoyed going to school in New York City very much. New York is my playground.

Interviewer: You must like playing piano very much.

Miss Chung: (smile) Yes. I think so. Ever since my mother introduced the piano to me, I have been playing it. Piano is my best friend.

Interviewer: Do you have a family member who influenced you musically?

Miss Chung: No. That was why my father's friends were congratulating my father at my concert in Korea for having a daughter like me. (laugh) My father is a psychiatrist and two brothers are also medical doctors. My mother does not play any instrument either but they all support me one hundred percent. I like piano but my family comes first.

Interviewer: Who are your favorite composers?

Miss Chung: Beethoven. I can enjoy his music at any time of a day. I also like Romantic composers such as Chopin, Liszt and Schumann, but I enjoy them more when I am in a certain mood.

Interviewer: Did you have any memorable concert with these composers' work?

Miss Chung: Once after my concert, someone came to me and asked how I was able to make him feel so intense that he felt he was near death feeling severe pain in his twisted stomach. I enjoy playing piano enormously and that I hope that the listeners of my music feel the same.

Interviewer: How much do you practice before a concert?

Miss Chung: I actually like practicing a lot because I can accomplish musical ideas exactly the way I want from it. These days, with limited time I have, I practice a few hours a day and several hours on weekend. When I was in school, at one point, I practiced ten hours a day, therefore, skin of my fingers were split. I had to wear bandages on three or four fingers to prevent the pain.

Interviewer: Miss Chung, you lock yourself in your practice room practicing so many hours a day. Do you have any outdoor activities you like to do? For example, dancing or playing baseball.

Miss Chung: (laugh) Oh! No. I am not a physically active person at all. I neither dance nor play any sport. But I like driving. Sometimes, after I practice many hours, I go for a drive to the ocean or flower garden where I can enjoy the nature and my music together.

Interviewer: Do you have any favorite book?

Miss Chung: Beside the Bible (I am Christian), I can choose one book out of more than twenty books I read on Beethoven; that is "Beethoven", by Maynard Solomon.   It was interestingly written.  I also like the books written by Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung and French philosopher Philip Montigny.

Interviewer: Do you have any comment as a musician?

Miss Chung: Throughout one's life, one may encounter many different kinds of unexpected events (happy or tragic).  Music can provide a peaceful mind with which one can calmly perceive the way of life.

Interviewer: Thank you very much for your time, Miss Chung.

Miss Chung: Thank you.

 

Copyright 2000-2001 Hyun-Mi Chung. All Rights Reserved.