Pianist Ji-Hyang Gwak
A prizewinner of numerous competitions, pianist Ji-Hyang Gwak has garnered international praise for her versatility, energy, and technical mastery. As a performing solo artist, chamber musician, and pedagogue, she made appearances across the United States, in Czech, England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, and Korea.
Gwak is the top prize winner of the Sicily International Piano Competition, Seattle International Piano Competition, Franz Liszt International Piano Competition – Ohio, High Point University Piano Competition, and the Michigan MTNA Young Artist Piano Competition. She also won awards in the Lyon International Music Competition in France, the 39th Joongang Music Concours, the Korea-Germany Brahms Associations Concours, and was a semi-finalist at the Concours Musical International de Montréal, Seoul International Piano Competition, the Olga Kern International Piano Competition, and the Ricard Viñes International Piano Competition. Gwak is the recipient of The MFMC Rosamond P. Haeberle Memorial Piano Award and the Doreen Wessel Taylor Piano Award. She was selected to participate in summer festivals, including the CCM Prague Festival in Czech, the Sicily Piano Festival in Italy, UFIPF (University of Florida International Piano Festival) in Gainesville, and PianoTexas in Fort Worth.
She has performed in concerts and recitals at various venues: Yamaha Salon in New York, Salle Molière in France, Palffy Palace in Prague, PepsiCo Recital Hall in Fort Worth, Benaroya Hall in Seattle, Chiostro di Campitelli al Teatro di Marcello, Sala Sciabica, Palazzo Spadaro, and Museo Diocesano in Italy, Mozart Hall, Sejong Chamber Hall, and Jungam Art Hall in Korea, Hill Auditorium, Kerrytown Concert House, The Heritage Museum and Cultural Center in Michigan, Coastal Carolina University, University of Florida, University of Indianapolis, Concordia College in Minnesota, and Ohio State University, among many others. Gwak made her orchestral debut at 15 with the Bucheon Chamber Orchestra at Jancheon Art Hall in Seoul. In 2014, she was the winner of the Eastman School of Music Concerto Competition, allowing her to perform Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Eastman Philharmonia under the baton of Maestro Neil Varon in the historical concert venue, 2400 seats Kodak Hall, Rochester. She has also appeared as a soloist with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra at Hill Auditorium and the Dexter Community Orchestra at Dexter Center for the Performing Arts. Gwak has performed in masterclasses and had lessons with world-renowned artists, including Philippe Bianconi, İdil Biret, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Vadim Monastyrski, Yoshikazu Nagai, Elisabeth Pridonoff, Gustavo Romero, Jacques Rouvier, Peter Serkin, Daniel Shapiro, Sasha Starcevich, and Asaf Zohar.
Gwak holds a Bachelor of Music in piano performance, summa cum laude, from Seoul National University and a Master of Music in piano performance and literature from Eastman School of Music. Her teacher includes Kyungrok Park, Jinson Kim, Prof. Hie-Yon Choi, and Prof. Natalya Antonova. She earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance and recently completed her Specialist degree in 2022 at the University of Michigan under the tutelage of Prof. Christopher Harding, with the Earl V. Moore Award, the School of Music · Theatre & Dance department's top graduation honor.
She is deeply passionate about sharing the joy of classical music and is especially interested in promoting classical music in the digital age, which led her to give performances in community venues and schools to seek new audiences.
From the fall of 2023, Gwak will join the University of Dayton faculty to nurture the next generation of young musicians. Besides her teaching position, she currently is a Board member of the American Liszt Society (ALS) and a Secretary of the Ohio Chapter of ALS.