Hyeyung Yoon has been seeking to connect deeply with audiences since starting her career as a violinist in the Chiara String Quartet in 2000. Out of this desire, she launched “Chamber Music in Any Chamber,” a project that brought her and her ensemble to over 50 clubs and bars across the United States, and performed classical music in settings outside of concert halls that were more comfortable for many audience members to experience music. Chiara Quartet’s project of memorizing and performing all of its concert repertoire, including the performances of the Complete String Quartets of Bela Bartok at the Ravinia Festival in 2016, also came out of the same desire. Without stands and sheet music in the way, the audience could sense the music more vibrantly as if they were on stage with the performers.
Having immigrated from South Korea to the United States at the age of 7 and raised in Queens, NY and Charlotte, NC, identity is at the center of her creative work. Current projects include performances of Suite Mestiza for Solo Violin by Gabriela Lena Frank which was inspired by the composer’s Peruvian roots, and joint improvisation and choreography called “Desert of My Own Self” with Korean dancer Hyewon Hwang and composer Gregory Simon. Hyeyung will travel to South Korea, place of her birth, for a couple of months in spring 2019 to study a traditional folk performance practice called madang performances. Madang means an open space, usually outdoors, where varied activities such as performances, public meetings, and festivals take place. A deeper and more nuanced meaning of the term is a time and space where boundaries that exist between different groups of people, including performers and audience, are obscured. Some of her long-term plans include starting a community-based performing organization that focuses on developing a culturally diverse audience and presenting music and musicians from diverse backgrounds. She is also working to launch an online platform for Asian American classical musicians that provides articles, videos, and resources related to the experiences of being an Asian American in the United States and, in particular, the classical music world.
Her vibrant performance career with the Chiara String Quartet, which celebrated its last season as a full-time ensemble in spring 2018, has brought her to exciting venues around the world including the Metropolitan Museum of Art Concert Series, Ravinia Festival, Library of Congress, Seoul Arts Center, Miller Theatre, American Academy of Rome, Bard Music Festival, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, and Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. Discography include recording of Jefferson Friedman’s String Quartets, released by New Amsterdam Records, which was nominated for Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition in 2011, Bartók by Heart, the Complete String Quartets of Béla Bartók, released by Azica Records in 2016, and Brahms by Heart, the Complete String Quartets of Johannes Brahms released by Azica Records in 2014. Her recording of Pange Lingua, Duo for Violin and Piano, a work she commissioned from composer Robert Sirota in memory of her grandfather, was released on Albany Records in 2015. Her performance of Philip Glass’s Pendulum for Violin and Piano was featured on NPR’s Performance Today in 2018.
Hyeyung has collaborated with many leading classical musicians of today including the members of The Juilliard String Quartet, Joel Krosnick, Roger Tapping, Todd Palmer, Robert Levin, Simone Dinnerstein, Norman Fischer, and Paul Katz. She and the Chiara String Quartet have commissioned Nico Muhly, Huang Ruo, Pierre Jalbert, Gabriela Lena Frank, Jefferson Friedman, Robert Sirota, Hans Tutschku, Daniel Ott, among others. Future commissions include solo and chamber works from composer Matthew Fuerst and composer/violist Jonah Sirota. Hyeyung was the Blodgett Artist-in-Residence at Harvard University (2008-2014) and a Hixson-Lied Artist-in-Residence at the Glenn Korff School of Music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2005-2018). She is a graduate of the Juilliard School (B.M. and Artist Diploma in String Quartet Studies) where she studied with Sally Thomas and coached with the members of the Juilliard String Quartet. Hyeyung is a proud owner of a Neapolitan violin by Nicolò Gagliano made circa 1760.