Guest Performers from Overseas in the first Hong Kong Harp Festival 2006
Organization|Board & Co-Founders|Volunteers|Bios of Supporting Overseas Harpists
Jung Kwak (Harpist K) Katryna Tan YuYing Chen

 

YuYing Chen the Principal Harpist of the Shanghai Philharmonic was born in Shanghai, China.  She started playing piano at three and at the age of 9 she began her studies with Li Duo Zhang at the middle school affiliated to Shanghai Conservatory of Music and later with professor Xiao Jie Zhang (Jason Chang) at Shanghai Conservatory of Music.  She also took classes with Will Postma, Isabelle Perrin, Carrol MclaughLin, Xavier de MaistreJana Bouskova, Helga Stork and Elisabeth Fontan-Binoche during her study at Shanghai Conservatory.  In 2005 She was featured on “Focus on Youth” program at World Harp Congress in Dublin.  YuYing was the winner of  the  'Concours International de Harpe 2006' - an International Harp competition hosted at the Ville de Lille in France. 

 

Katryna Tan, who was awarded the prestigious national Young Artist Award 2005 by the National Arts Council of Singapore holds a  Masters of Music degree  in  Harp Performance   from   the   University of Michigan, USA.  She is based in Singapore and is a very active solo performer in the region and also internationally.

 

Trained first as an Interior architect from Sydney, Katryna’s interest in music saw her pursuing education and performance in  music whilst doing her design studies in Australia and later travelling to Michigan, USA to study with Professor Lynne Aspnes  upon receiving a two-year Fellowship Award.

 

After her long sojourn overseas, Katryna’s desire is to return to Southeast Asia. Since setting up base in Singapore, Katryna has had a tight schedule of performances.

 

As a soloist, she has performed several recitals in Singapore and Malaysia, was invited by the New South Wales Harp Society to perform in the Government House (2004), Performed in the Adelaide Harp Festival 2006 and her 2007 engagements will see her travelling to France and the States again. She has also performed in Japan and Macau. Katryna has also appeared as guest soloists with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, Singapore Armed Forces Band, Braddell Heights Symphony Orchestra to mention a few. Recently she was guest soloist with the renowned King’s College Choir from England.

 

As a keen supporter of Asian and contemporary music, Katryna regularly plays and commissions works by Asian composers. In addition, she also composes and arranges music for the harp. In a solo recital in 2005, Katryna premieres her own composition 'Water Dance',inspired by an Ancient Chinese instrument guqin. Her latest works include “Jiang Jin Jiu” and “Sketches”.

 

Besides, being a very active performer, Katryna is active as an educator, sharing her passion of music with other enthusiasts. She founded and has been directing Rave Harpers a harp ensemble in various performances since 2004. In 2006, she was the Artistic Director to the first Singapore Harp Festival.

 

Katryna’s latest album is entitled “Water Dance”, and her other albums include “Harp Onand “A Little Light Music” (Harp and Flute)

 

Jung Kwak, otherwise known as Harpist K, is recognized worldwide as one of classical music’s most captivating and gifted artists. She first astounded the music world at the age of 14, when after only two years of study, she debuted as a featured soloist with Seoul National Symphony. Since that debut, she has performed in the music capitals of Europe, America and Asia collaborating with the world’s leading orchestras and with the world’s most esteemed conductors. 

 

When the Israel Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra toured Korea in 1993, Jung was chosen to perform as featured soloist. Her playing eventually caught the attention of Zubin Mehta, conductor and music director of Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Since October 1997, Jung has toured extensively with Maestro Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra across Israel, Europe and the Far East. In the summer of 1998, Jung garnered the added distinction of becoming the first harpist to play at the Dubrovnik Festival in Croatia. Jung has appeared as a soloist with orchestras and chamber music ensembles around the world such as the Tokyo String Quartet, Israel Piano Quartet, Korean Broadcasting Symphony with Yoel Levi, Moscow Radio and Television Symphony – Tchaikovsky Hall , Geneva Chamber Orchestra, Prague Radio and TV Orchestra and many more. Ms. Kwak is the only harpist in the world to be selected 3 times as the ‘Focus on Youth’ by the World Harp Congress.

 

A harpist of diverse accomplishments, Jung signed a seven CD recording contract with Atlantic records, one of the world’s largest recording labels. A rare deal not just for a harpist, but for any classical musician, the Atlantic contract gives Jung the necessary vehicle for her unique and diverse approach to her instrument. Her first release, <The Gift> sold out its first printings. She has since released several recordings ranged from core-classical works to contemporary music. Now Jung is with Universal Music and her first ‘new age pop-CD’ called <Vivace>, performing on a pink electric harp, designed by Jung and tailor made by Lyon and Healy Harps* quickly reached the Korean Charts for best-selling recordings.

 

Jung's artistry is a mixture of the discipline and poise of classical background with a distinctively modernist spirit of invention and idiosyncrasy. Her uncommon ability to abridge the two effortlessly was demonstrated when Jung, using the nom de harpe Harpist K, made her Korean debut with Boston Pops Orchestra led by Keith Lockhart introducing two different kinds of electric harps to the Korean audience for the very first time. Fans of classical music were given a rare treat that night, for before them was not just another classical virtuoso in ascension, but someone who would go on to redefine the place of the harp in the popular imagination. Jung’s recent national tour entitled Surprise Party Series and ‘Love for You’ concert became a sensation, selling out concert halls attracting diverse crowd with her compelling and mesmerizing performance.

 

Known widely for her brilliant performance and her charismatic presence have earned her popularity and acclaim that reach far beyond the concert hall. Jung has reached an even wider audience through her many television appearances, which she has taken the harp to the forefront of the contemporary music.

 

In November of 2005, Harpist K’s first electric harp album <Vivace>, was released in Shanghai selling over 23,000 copies. She was also invited as the opening artist for the 100th anniversary of China Music Concert to represent Korea and Universal Music Records.

 

In Febuary 2006, Harpist Ks second electric harp album <Toccata> was released in Korea. Within the few days of the release, again <Toccata> reached the Korean Pop and Classical Charts as Number 1 selling album. Now she is invited back to Shanghai to give her own concert which will air live on TV as well as on radio all over China this coming April.  

 

Jung received her Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University with world renown Susann McDonald and the Master of Music degree at the renowned Eastman School of Music with Kathleen Bride. At both schools, she received the prestigious Performer’s Certificate for her outstanding harp performance with unanimous votes by the judges, 

 

Jung Kwak is the first harpist in Asia that made her mark with a continuous exploration of all sides of the musical spectrum in concerts, recordings, teaching as well as creating a unique musical experience that is both classical and contemporary. Jung is one of the leading harp teachers and teaching in the top schools of Korea. She is currently on the faculty of Ewha Womens University, Han Yang University, Choong Ang University, Yae Won Music, Art, & Dance Institute, Seoul Art High School, Sun Wha Middle and High School. She is also the Artistic Director for Harpyday Ensmble, leading professional harp ensemble of Korea.

Ms. Kwak  is also on the board of the prestigious USA International Harp Competition since 2000.

 

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