Prof. Emeritus Hong Jong-wha reveals her 60-year journey with violin.... she dreams to be remembered as a 'passionate musician'
In some foreign countries, elementary school starts at the age of six. In Korea, elementary school spans six years. It is also comparable to the 'teenage years' or 'adolescence' which refer to the six years of middle and high school. Furthermore, dental, oriental medicine, and medical school programs also have a duration of six years. In many workplaces, there are often changes in treatment and career opportunities after working or gaining experience for six years in Korea.
Six years hold various meanings within society. So, what does it mean to work in one field for '60 years'? Professor (*Emeritus as of 2022) Hong Jong-wha, the former dean of the Music College at Sookmyung Women's University, discusses the significance of the past '60 years' of her life, during which she pursued a career as a violinist.
Violinist & Professor Hong Jong-wha ©
◆ Realizing that 'timing is everything' as a graduate of Yewon School's first class
Prof. Hong, the fourth of five siblings, received her older brother's first-grade violin as an inheritance and embarked on her musical journey by playing it for the first time in the school orchestra.
At the time, her mother, an accomplished individual who valued education, urged her three elder daughters to learn the piano, while her only son was encouraged to take up the violin. However, her older brother quickly lost interest and abandoned the instrument. In the hopes that he would reconsider, her mother eagerly responded to a notice in the school newsletter regarding orchestra recruitment.
During that period, the teachers of the ensemble club at Hyehwa Elementary School, where Prof. Hong attended, happened to be members of the prestigious Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. Recognizing her exceptional talent, they realized that her musical abilities extended far beyond the confines of the school ensemble, and thus, they encouraged her to pursue a formal education in music.
Yewon School Concert. Concerto for the Four Violins of Vivaldi. From the right: Hong Jong-wha (Professor at Sookmyung Women's University), Kim Hwa-rim (Music Director of Maeil Classic), Lee Mi-kyung (Professor at Munich University in Germany), and Kim Sun-hee (Professor at Chungnam National University). Photo © Professor Hong Jong-wha.
While undergoing private lessons with Kang Bok-hyung, a esteemed member of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, she temporarily halted her violin practice to concentrate on preparing for middle school entrance exams. However, in fifth grade, when the exam pressure had subsided, she resumed her violin playing. Upon completing elementary school, she was granted the remarkable opportunity to perform alongside the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra in the illustrious "Seoul Philharmonic Young Soloist Concert," which served as a catalyst for her aspiration of becoming a violinist.
Her artistic pursuits found the most conducive environment in the establishment of "Yewon School," renowned for nurturing numerous homegrown artists who have made significant strides on the global stage. Successfully passing the entrance examination, she joined the ranks of its graduates.
"I relished a truly remarkable period of six years, from my time at Yewon School to Seoul Arts High School. Those six years encompassed the most blissful and liberating days of my life. With unwavering support from Lim Won-shik, the visionary founding principal and conductor (also the inaugural conductor of the KBS Symphony Orchestra, and the founder of Yewon School and Seoul Arts High School), students immersed themselves in the study and practice of music, wholeheartedly. We embarked on concert tours spanning various regions of our country, and even journeyed to Japan during that time."
Yewon music concert piano trio performance. Violinist Hong Jong-wha (Professor at Sookmyung Women's University), pianist Son Jung-ae (Professor at Sookmyung Women's University), and cellist Oh Mi-ri (active in the United States) were selected as outstanding performers and held a concert at the National Theater in Myeong-dong. Photo © Professor Hong Jong-wha.
"The allure of the violin, in my opinion, lies in its ability to grant you the role of the 'leading protagonist.' Beyond the myriad of tones it produces, I find immense joy in expressing the ethereal beauty of its soaring high notes, akin to that of a soprano. Within an orchestra, the violin section boasts the largest number of members, and it is the violinist who assumes the pivotal role of leading. Such is the significance bestowed upon the violin. Even in chamber music, the violinist is entrusted with the mantle of leadership, necessitating strong and commanding qualities."
Kim Nam-yoon, a professor at the esteemed Korean National University of Arts (formerly the director of the Music Department), held a close bond with Prof. Hong Jong-wha's family since their early years. It was under his guidance that Professor Hong embarked on her journey to study abroad in the United States.
During the summer break of Prof. Hong's third year at Seoul Arts High School, Prof. Kim, who himself had graduated from the renowned Juilliard School and was actively performing on stages in New York, returned to Korea for a joint performance. Upon listening to Prof. Hong's remarkable performance, Prof. Kim encouraged her to prepare a recording tape to be sent to Ivan Galamian, the preeminent violin professor of that era, renowned for shaping the talents of Isaac Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Chung Kyung-hwa, Kim Young-wook, Kang Dong-suk, and many others. Diligently practicing within a limited timeframe, Prof. Hong presented the recorded tape to Prof. Kim, who subsequently returned to the United States.
As the culmination of her third year of high school approached, Prof. Hong Jong-wha dedicated herself to preparing for college entrance exams, even in the face of limited time. Undeterred, her aspirations soared to great heights. However, her unwavering resolve was met with sharp admonishment from her mother. Yet, it was through her mother's stern words that Prof. Hong was able to gather her thoughts and chart her path towards enrollment in the prestigious College of Music at Seoul National University. Amidst the joys of college life, an unexpected letter arrived in May, forever altering her future.
With Kim Nam-yoon, former Professor Emeritus of the Korea National University of Arts, at a solo concert upon returning to Korea. Photo © Professor Hong Jong-wha.
A mere three months into her college journey, Prof. Hong found herself in possession of a letter from none other than Prof. Galamian himself, accompanied by the necessary documents for pursuing studies in the United States. Penned in Prof. Galamian's own hand, the letter carried a resounding message: "Let us embark on a shared educational journey at the revered Juilliard School of Music. Attend the Meadowmount Summer Festival in the forthcoming summer and undertake the official entrance examination for the Juilliard School of Music in September."
"Galamian, the lifelong figure of my dreams, and the illustrious Juilliard School of Music!" Despite her mother's objections, citing her recent enrollment at Seoul National University and the formidable challenges that lay ahead for a nineteen-year-old girl venturing alone to a distant land, Prof. Hong's progressive-minded and unwaveringly supportive father enabled her overseas pursuit by placing his utmost trust in his fourth daughter.
Following the receipt of that pivotal letter, Prof. Hong embarked on her journey to New York the following month, finding solace in securing accommodation with the assistance of Prof. Kim. She immersed herself in an intensive eight-week camp at Meadowmount in Westport, New York, focused on mathematics. As September arrived, her meticulously planned endeavor bore fruit as she successfully navigated the audition process and enrolled in the undergraduate program at the esteemed Juilliard School of Music. Prof. Kim, a cherished pupil of Galamian, forever holds a place in Prof. Hong's heart, an indelible presence in her life's narrative.
Korean students with Professor Galamian at the Meadowmount Summer Festival. Professor Hong is on the right side of Professor Galamian. © Professor Hong Jong-wha.
◆ Wonder and Shock of Manhattan and Juilliard
In 1976, a remarkable chapter unfolded in Prof. Hong's life as she embarked on her journey at the prestigious Juilliard School of Music in Manhattan, New York. The stark cultural disparities between Korea and the United States during the 1970s evoked an overwhelming sense of awe and astonishment within her. Each day was a voyage of discovery, as she reveled in the notion of learning in an entirely new world. It felt as though a previously unexplored realm had unveiled itself, granting her the freedom to immerse herself in the profound study and unrestrained performance of the timeless works by forbidden Soviet composers like Prokofiev and Shostakovich, whose melodies had been withheld from Korean audiences at that time.
"The beauty of residing in Manhattan was the privilege of attending awe-inspiring performances by renowned artists at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, free of charge. Occasionally, through visits to the concert office on campus, I secured complimentary tickets to concerts, allowing me to witness the New York debuts of György Kertész and Anne-Sophie Mutter. Their enthralling performances still reside vividly within my memories."
Amidst her tenure at the revered Juilliard School of Music, acclaimed as the pinnacle of music education, Prof. Hong encountered her most formidable challenge in the form of the orchestra class. This collective endeavor entailed students of various instruments converging to create a composition reminiscent of a symphony orchestra. While Prof. Hong boasted a wealth of experience acquired through years of training as a member of middle and high school orchestras, she found herself grappling during the initial rehearsals of the Juilliard Orchestra, as its members played with the utmost professionalism.
Yet, not every step was arduous. The four campus orchestras took turns each month to grace the stage of Lincoln Center, affording her invaluable performance experience. Esteemed maestros such as Georg Solti and Leonard Bernstein were also invited to conduct the orchestra, further enriching her musical education. Alongside her major practical courses, she had the privilege of partaking in diverse chamber music classes. The tutelage of the renowned Juilliard Quartet, an eminent ensemble in the chamber music realm, laid a firm foundation for her to reimagine the fundamentals of her own chamber music expertise.
Jascha Heifetz, an iconic figure in the realm of violin teaching, held a revered position at both Juilliard School of Music and Curtis School of Music. Until his passing at the age of 78 in 1981, he imparted his wisdom to students, leaving behind a profound legacy encapsulated in his seminal work, "Principles of Violin Playing & Teaching." In fact, Prof. Galamian once playfully remarked that Heifetz could teach the violin to an inanimate chair. Such a testament speaks volumes about Heifetz's patient guidance, as he imparted his meticulously structured and time-honored theories of violin technique to his eager disciples.
With students from Sookmyung Women's University in May 2015. © Professor Hong Jong-wha.
The guiding principle for all instrument professors was to offer personal tutoring on campus. However, Prof. Galamian, with the school's special consideration, provided her personal tutoring sessions from her residence on Manhattan's 72nd street. Students from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia would embark on arduous train journeys lasting over an hour to receive her invaluable guidance.
Hailing from Tabriz in northwestern Iran, Prof. Galamian spent her formative years in Moscow, Russia, during her childhood. Consequently, her English accent possessed a distinct strength that posed challenges for comprehension. During their personal tutoring sessions, Prof. Hong and Prof. Galamian received assistance from Margaret Pardee, a professor who would diligently raise her hand and adeptly interpret English, bridging any communication gaps.
"Prof. Galamian relentlessly emphasized that 'only through practice can you develop.' This timeless lesson continues to resonate with students to this day. While strict in her approach, she would occasionally lighten the atmosphere with jest and humor. Prof. Pardee, who had also been a student of Prof. Galamian, exuded kindness and gentility as a female professor. She attended to the concerns of foreign students that Prof. Galamian couldn't readily address. In those days, when traveling to Korea was not as accessible as it is now, they would gather at Professor Pardee's home, sharing meals and receiving heartfelt cards and gifts during Christmas to alleviate the pangs of loneliness in a foreign land."
One of the most memorable lessons Prof. Hong recalls from her time with Prof. Galamian was the tutoring of Bach's violin solo, the Partita Chaconne, unaccompanied. Among the myriad lessons they shared, this one stood out profoundly. Bach's Chaconne, residing within the expansive and resplendent composition of Partita No. 2, earned the epithet of "Endless Ascension to Eternity."
Prof. Galamian held Bach in the highest regard for surpassing the limitations of monophonic instruments, urging Prof. Hong to grasp the essence of harmony while playing. Moreover, the Ear Training classes conducted by Madam Cox, characterized by their tense atmosphere as she would question and challenge students, provided Prof. Hong with valuable insights and knowledge, leaving little room for relaxation during these sessions.
Graduation ceremony at Juilliard. Bottom right is Professor Hong Jong-wha. ©
◆ Performance held in the New York 'Snowstorm' and Cold Wave
During her first year at Juilliard, Prof. Hong was filled with excitement at the prospect of performing in front of legendary figures such as William Schuman, who had just returned from a leave of absence due to illness, and Leonard Bernstein. However, amidst the grandeur of the occasion, she also vividly recalls the fierce snowstorm and bone-chilling cold wave that swept through New York during that time.
As part of her debut performance in New York, Prof. Hong was scheduled to showcase Mendelssohn's Piano Trio in C minor at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, as recommended by the professor in charge of chamber music. Anxious and nervous, she braced herself for the event, only to have the concert abruptly canceled due to a snowstorm that had paralyzed the city. Undeterred by the closure of banks and other public institutions, the determined musicians forged ahead, battling their way through the storm for a grueling hour to reach the venue, instruments in tow.
Despite the challenging circumstances, with only a fraction of the 1,000-seat hall filled by the dedicated few who defied the storm's wrath, including Prof. Hong, who was deeply moved by their unwavering enthusiasm, the trio performers poured their hearts into the performance, delivering an unforgettable rendition.
In 1981, while pursuing her master's degree at Juilliard School, Prof. Hong Jong-wha achieved a remarkable feat. She was chosen as a section leader and soloist during the audition for the prestigious 'International Music Program,' in which she participated during summer break. This led to a four-week educational experience in the United States, followed by a four-week European performance tour, encompassing various cities in Germany and Italy.
Through countless orchestral performances, chamber music concerts, and collaborations, she gained invaluable international stage experience. It was during her time abroad that she forged connections that would later blossom into fruitful collaborations with violinist Oh Soon-wha a professor at the Korea National University of Arts, and cellist Hong Sung, a professor at Dankook University. Together, they formed an ensemble known as the 'Korea Ensemble' and served as founding members, collaborating passionately for several years.
Poster of Quartet S's performance at University of Hawaii in September 2018. Poster © Professor Hong Jong-wha.
For Prof. Hong Jong-wha, the experience of participating in the Medomak Camp and residing at Prof. Paddy's house was a profound one. Overwhelmed by the exceptional skills displayed by Galamian's students and grappling with the language barrier, she found herself consumed by a sense of nostalgia. In moments of vulnerability, she would even shed tears, flipping the blankets in worry over how Prof. Paddy might perceive her struggles.
During this time, her fellow alumni from Yewon School and Seoul Arts High School became pillars of support. Despite her desire to pursue further studies in Europe, Prof. Hong completed both her undergraduate and graduate studies at Juilliard and returned home. The weight of her parents' expectations, urging her to marry and settle down promptly, coupled with the financial constraints that would hinder her from venturing into new challenges without their support, made it impossible for her to ignore their wishes.
"There were moments of discouragement even while studying at the pinnacle of the world's finest music school. However, my father's weekly letters, each adorned with a verse from the Bible, provided solace and immense comfort. Even to this day, when I reflect upon my father's boundless love, tears well up in my eyes."
After one performance, Professor Hong posed for a photo with Pianist Lee Hye-jeon, the dean of the music college at Sookmyung Women's University. © Professor Hong Jong-wha.
"Many of my students often inquire about the necessity of pursuing studies abroad. In this era, the world has undergone profound transformations, and the concept of 'one world' is now tangibly experienced. During my own student years, I would implore my father, who embarked on overseas business trips, to procure LPs, sheet music, and even violin strings on my behalf. It took more than a month for letters to traverse the vast distance between the United States and Korea. Nowadays, however, Korea boasts numerous exceptional educational institutions and mentors, with abundant resources readily available for self-study. Studying abroad is not invariably the definitive solution, yet should the earnest desire to embark on such a journey arise, I strongly recommend preemptively mastering the language of the destination."
◆ Prof. Hong Jong-wha and Dean Lee Hye-jeon: An Inseparable Bond of Laughter and Tears.
In 2003, Prof. Hong and Prof. Lee Hye-jeon, the current dean of the music school at Sookmyung Women's University, commenced their collaborative performances of Beethoven's sonatas, culminating in the completion of the entire repertoire the following year. This momentous achievement spurred Prof. Hong to undertake the audacious endeavor of performing all 32 of Beethoven's piano sonatas, a feat she accomplished with resounding success. Prior to their professional partnership, Prof. Lee and Prof. Hong were close neighbors, sharing the minutiae of life akin to sisters.
"When I contemplated the formidable challenge of conquering Beethoven's complete sonatas, I instinctively turned to her to be my companion. That was 18 years ago already. We rehearsed tirelessly, both at school and in our respective homes, seizing every opportunity that presented itself. Since then, we have performed countless concerts together. In times of arduous practice sessions, we shed tears side by side; in moments of profound emotion, we wept. When we sought improvement by listening to our recordings, we shared the insights garnered from our individual studies. Today, we remain each other's most cherished partners in our musical journeys."
Following the formation of the aforementioned 'Korea Ensemble,' Prof. Hong established the 'Sookmyung Trio' in 1998. Over the past two decades, alongside pianist Son Jeong-ae, cellist Chae Hee-cheol, and other esteemed musicians, they have graced numerous stages both domestically and internationally. More recently, the 'Quartet S,' comprised of Prof. Hong, Prof. Lee, violist Kim Seong-eun (a professor at Sookmyung Women's University), and cellist Lim Kyung-won (a professor at Sungshin Women's University), was founded four years ago. Even after their recent successful concert in April, they continue to engage in regular performances.
The album cover image for 'Heavenly Peace' released in March, 2021. © Professor Hong Jong-wha.
Poster for Quartet S's annual concert held in April 2021. © Gu Bonsuk.
The members of 'Quartet S,' a piano quartet, all embrace Christianity, and they have arranged and recorded hymns, releasing an album titled 'Heavenly Peace' in March. Motivated by a desire to reciprocate the abundant blessings they have received, they intend to persist in their pursuit of classical performances, church concerts, and voluntary engagements.
Prof. Hong Jong-wha routinely convenes meetings with her students, who actively participate in the realm of music both within Korea and on the global stage. On one occasion during a vacation, while relishing a shared meal and engaging in spirited conversation, an idea was posited: "Why not explore the realm of chamber ensembles, rather than solely confining ourselves to meetings and discussions?" Thus, "Our Ensemble" was spontaneously born, with unanimous agreement from all present.
Among the 13 founding members of Ensemble 'Woori' (meaning 'Our Ensemble' in Korean) consisting of violinists and violists (violinists: Hong Jong-wha, Jin Hyun-joo, Choi Yeon-woo, Jeon Jung-ah, Kim Jung-soo, Shin So-rim, Kim Mu-seon, Kwon Yoon-kyung, and violists: Kim Seong-eun, Kim Dong-hye, Jin Deok, Ko Ki-yeon, and 13 others), 12 of them are Prof. Hong's students.
All members of Ensemble 'Woori' are active musicians in both Korea and the United States. The ensemble is comprised of 17 members, including three cellists and one double bass player who were invited to join. Some members have been acquainted with Prof. Hong since elementary school, while others were met during middle school, high school, and university. These students have demonstrated their exceptional abilities since their school days and have pursued music careers through international studies. They now proudly perform on their individual stages.
Ensemble Woori's concert in July 2018. © Professor Hong Jong-wha.
The profound bonds that unite them have fostered a unique harmonious and familial atmosphere within 'Ensemble Woori'. As accomplished soloists, each member takes turns showcasing their talent during performances. However, due to a busy concert schedule, there are occasions when they cannot gather as a complete ensemble. In such instances, they supplement their group with talented musicians who may not necessarily be students of Prof. Hong.
Since their debut concert in July 2014, 'Ensemble Woori' has delivered not only chamber music but also diverse programs such as quartets, sextets, and octets, collaborating even with traditional Korean music. Their objective is to continuously enchant their audiences with their distinctive repertoire. Despite the unfortunate cancellation of performances involving nearly 20 members due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are currently planning concerts for the upcoming year.
"The charm of chamber music is the harmony created by the sound of multiple instruments, rather than just one. If playing the violin alone is like seeing a 'tree,' then playing chamber music is like seeing a 'forest.' Practicing chamber music is like studying, and it is truly wonderful. It is a beautiful human exchange that is reflected in the music we create together."
Performance of Sookmyung Philharmonic Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House in August 2012. © Professor Hong Jong-wha.
◆ A new turning point as a 'Professor' at Sookmyung Women's University
Prof. Hong has been working at Sookmyung Women's University for 38 years, starting from the age of 26. She experienced trials and growth with students as she took on the role of a 'professor' at a young age. In August next year, she will complete 38 years and 6 months of service and retire.
Prof. Hong cited the performance of Sookmyung Philharmonic Orchestra in Sydney Opera House in August 2012 as the most challenging one among the numerous performances held at Sookmyung Women's University. It was her aspiration to showcase Sookmyung Orchestra on the global stage after she became the head of the music school. Believing in the talent of Prof. Kim Kyung-hee, who led Sookmyung Orchestra and guided the students, she was able to realize this dream, which was truly like a dream come true.
The Isewoong Shinil Foundation, which greatly admired Sookmyung Women's University, sponsored the first-ever performance of a Korean university orchestra in Sydney Opera House with full support from Sookmyung students and professors, totaling over 100 people. Since 2012 marked the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and South Korea, the event was titled accordingly. Although it was a bold challenge to take on the event without a production company, they prepared for a year and successfully concluded the performance, gathering considerable attention locally with tickets sold out within a day.
A banner hanging at the entrance gate of Sookmyung Women's University after the performance of Sookmyung Philharmonic Orchestra at Sydney Opera House in 2012. The banner is currently displayed in the lobby of the Music College's 1st floor. © Professor Hong Jong-wha.
"I felt like I was standing on a stage as both an event planner and a performer. Many people's help miraculously came along during the process, and I managed to handle tasks that seemed overwhelming with my abilities. The event went beyond a school event and became an event for both countries, drawing the interest of the local audience. It is still a proud moment to think about it."
With her long tenure, Prof. Hong has numerous memorable students. Many of them have become university professors, joined orchestras both domestically and internationally, and are active in various fields worldwide, making her grateful and proud.
"Above all, as an artist, you must love and enjoy your work. Of course, there will be challenges, but you must persevere and study until the end. As they say, you cannot defeat someone who enjoys what they do. I hope you love music."
Some say that one must choose between becoming a performer or a teacher (Professor per se).
As a performer, musician spend each day practicing diligently, immersed in the tension of preparing for the stage. On the other hand, being a teacher means less time for personal practice as you focus on leading others. Moreover, obtaining a stable job brings a sense of 'secured' which can release the tension of being a performer. Therefore, maintaining one's skills as a performer while being a teacher requires tremendous effort.
Received the Award for 30 years of service at Sookmyung Women's University in May 2014. © Professor Hong Jong-wha.
"Balancing performance and conducting is by no means an easy task, but there are advantages in complementing each other. When I communicate the world of violin that I have realized through studying and performing to my students and confirm their understanding, it brings tremendous joy. I also gain a lot through teaching."
Prof. Hong feels guilty at times for not being able to practice consistently every day, as it is considered the norm. However, lately, she has been more relaxed. When she has scheduled performances, she studies and practices with more passion than anyone else. Therefore, she plans her performance schedule as consistently and systematically as possible. While playing the violin requires physical stamina, which may become more challenging with age, she intends to continue engaging in chamber music performances that she loves, rather than solo performances.
Throughout her life, playing multiple roles as a violinist, professor, wife, and mother to two sons, Hong Jong-wha has faced many challenges. Her husband, Dr. Park Won-am (former professor at Hongik University in Economics), actively supported her career, and their second son followed his father's path to become an economist in the United States. Prof. Hong believes that "music exists when the family is comfortable," and her priority has always been "family," both in the past and present.
In July 2014, Professor Hong spent a rewarding time at the Aspen Festival in the US with her husband, Professor Park Won-am, her colleague Professor Lee Hye-jeon, and Pianist Kang Choong-mo, who is Professor Lee's husband. © Professor Hong Jong-wha.
"I have worked diligently and passionately while taking care of the family. I faced many difficulties during childcare and sometimes struggled. However, being able to pursue my career while fulfilling the role of 'mother' has been a great blessing, and I have lived with gratitude."
Prof. Hong loves traveling and has traveled around the world with her husband. These days, due to COVID-19, she often goes on domestic trips. She also enjoys cooking the dishes she learned from cooking classes for her family. Besides classical music, she occasionally watches audition programs on TV, and although the genre may be different, she believes that "music is ultimately one." She thinks that classical music should also evolve and adapt to the times, and she finds many things to learn from it.
"I am a fan of the YouTube channel 'Layers Classic,' which has an explosive number of views, and the tickets for their performances at the Art Center are sold out in no time. The performers on this channel have solid skills, excellent arrangement abilities, and a keen vision to grasp the flow of the times, so I have high expectations that they will suggest one of the directions classical music should take in the future."
After the concert in Jun 2015, with students from Sookmyung Women's University. © Professor Hong Jong-wha.
"It has been almost 60 years since I started playing the violin. However, there is still so much I don't know, and it feels like there is an endless amount to learn. It always excites and troubles me, but I believe that playing the violin is my destiny. If there is a next life, I want to become a violinist like Anne-Sophie Mutter, whom I admire! My great-grandfather studied in Japan during the Japanese colonial era, but instead of studying law as instructed, he studied the violin at the Ueno Music School and had a close relationship with Hong Nan-pa and other teachers. Eventually, he was brought back to Korea by his distant relative and went through difficult times before passing away early. When my grandmother used to come to our house, she would always say, 'How happy your grandfather would have been if he had seen you play the violin.' I think this is my destiny."
Poster for a solo concert held in October 2017. Professor Hong's passion extends to teaching, performing, family, and all aspects of life. ©Professor Hong Jong-wha.
"What kind of artist do I want to be remembered as? My students always say something to me. They want to resemble a teacher who teaches and performs passionately. It would be an honor to be remembered as a 'passionate musician.'"
Interview by Glenda Park, Editor-in-Chief at Avec G.
*This article is simultaneously published in Seoul Wire's 'Glenda Park's Blue Ocean'.
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