Ah Young Hong, soprano
A soprano of "fearlessness and consummate artistry" (Opera News), Ah Young Hong has interpreted a vast array of repertoire, ranging from the music of Monteverdi, Bach, Mozart, and Poulenc, to works of Shostakovich, Babbitt, Haas, and Kurtág. Widely recognized for her work in Michael Hersch's monodrama, On the Threshold of Winter, The New York Times praised Ms. Hong’s performance in the world premiere as "the opera's blazing, lone star." In the work’s newest production, directed by the soprano, The Chicago Tribune called her "absolutely riveting," and the Chicago Classical Review noted the soprano's "fearless presence, wielding her unamplified, bell-like voice like a weaponized instrument. Hong delivered a tour de force vocal performance in this almost unfathomably difficult music-attacking the dizzying high notes with surprising power, racing through the rapid-fire desperation of agitated sections, and bringing a numbed, toneless sprechstimme and contralto-like darkness to the low tessitura.” Recent performances include solo appearances with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Bern, and at both the Aldeburgh and Ojai Music Festivals. Upcoming highlights of 2021-2022 include the premiere performances in the title role of Michael Hersch’s POPPAEA at the Wien Modern and ZeitRäume Basel Festivals, the premiere of a new work written for her by Georg Friedrich Haas, Shih-Hui Chen's or/and, a 75-miute multimedia work for soprano and chamber ensemble. She will conclude the season with Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with Marin Alsop and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
In high demand as a concert and chamber soloist, Ms. Hong has performed with Mahler Chamber Orchestra, FLUX Quartet, the acclaimed Netherland-based contemporary music group Ensemble Klang, Konzerthaus Berlin’s ensemble-in-residence, Ensemble unitedberlin, Ensemble Dal Niente in Chicago, The Daedalus Quartet, Wiener KammerOrchester, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, Concert Artists of Baltimore, and Tempesta di Mare, amongst others. In summer of 2018, she gave her Ojai Festival debut with violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja in György Kurtág’s complete Kafka Fragments. Ms. Hong also appeared as soloist during the 2018 Aldeburgh Music Festival and on the CalPerformances series in Berkeley in Michael Hersch’s I hope we get a chance to visit soon. Alex Ross from The New Yorker praised her performances as “commanding” and “transfixing.” Other operatic performances by Ms. Hong include the title role in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea, Morgana in Handel's Alcina, Gilda in Verdi's Rigoletto, Fortuna and Minerva in Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, and Asteria in Handel's Tamerlano. She has also appeared with Opera Lafayette in Rebel and Francoeur's Zélindor, roi des Sylphes at the Rose Theater in Lincoln Center and as La Musique in Charpentier's Les Arts Florissant s at the Kennedy Center.
In the unusual concert season of 2020-2021, Ms. Hong performed Kurtág's Kafka Fragments with violinists Jacob Ashworth at Spectrum NYC along with Network for New music in Philadelphia, and with Patricia Kopatchinskaja on the Seattle Symphony Orchestra’s chamber series. She made her debut performance with BBC Symphony Orchestra giving the world premiere of Michael Hersch's the script of storms with text of the late poet, Fawzi Karim. She also joined forces with Ms. Kopatchinskaja, clarinetist Reto Bieri and Camerata Bern in Switzerland to premiere Michael Hersch's Agatha. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, performances with Cantata Profana, earspace, and many other performances were canceled in 2020-2021. Last performance was in Geneva, Switzerland in February 2020.
A prolific recording artist, Ms. Hong recorded the American premiere of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Alles mit Gott und nichts ohn’ ihn, BWV 1127, for National Public Radio’s Performance Today. Other recordings include the world premiere of Rebel and Francoeur’s Zélindor, roi des Sylphes (Naxos), Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater (Peter Lee Music), and Sentirete una Canzonetta with Harmonious Blacksmith. Ms. Hong is also a featured soloist in Ensemble Klang’s recording of Michael Hersch’s cortex and ankle. Early 2018 saw the commercial release of her debut solo CD on Innova Recordings, the recording featuring Milton Babbitt’s Philomel and Michael Hersch’s a breath upwards. Anticipated in the upcoming season is the recording of Michael Hersch's the script of storms with BBC Symphony Orchestra under the New Focus label.
Ms. Hong currently serves as Associate Professor in the Vocal Studies Department at the Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University.