• “absolutely riveting ...
    One could not imagine a more brilliant performance.”
    The Chicago Tribune
  • “transfixing ... commanding”
    The New Yorker
  • “the opera's blazing, lone star”
    The New York Times
  • “soul baring, courageous performance” —The New York Times
  • “a tour de force”
    The Baltimore Sun



"fearlessness and consummate artistry"

A “transfixing” (New Yorker) 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, Kurtág, and Haas. The past decade has seen her work closely with composer Michael Hersch, premiering major works including his monodrama On the Threshold of Winter and the title role in the opera Poppaea. In recent years she has premiered his song cycles the script of storms and cortex and ankle. In On the Threshold of Winter, Ms. Hong was praised by The New York Times as "the opera's blazing, lone star,” The Chicago Tribune called her "absolutely riveting," and in Poppaea the Kronen Zeitung wrote "her stage presence, her soprano voice ... Breathtaking."

In high demand around the world as a concert and chamber soloist, Ms. Hong has performed with violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Ensemble Phoenix Basel, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Bern, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, FLUX Quartet, the Netherland-based contemporary music group Ensemble Klang, Konzerthaus Berlin’s ensemble-in-residence, Ensemble unitedberlin, Ensemble Dal Niente, The Daedalus Quartet, Wiener KammerOrchester, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, and Tempesta di Mare, amongst others. She has also appeared as soloist with Wien Modern, Zeiträume Basel, Aldeburgh Music Festival, CalPerformances series, Seattle Symphony recital series, and Ojai Festival. In opera, Ms. Hong premiered Michael Hersch's On the Threshold of Winter, a one woman opera, in New York, and Poppaea as part of the ZeitRäume Basel in Switzerland. Other roles 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 Florissants at the Kennedy Center.

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 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 featuring Milton Babbitt’s Philomel and Michael Hersch’s a breath upwards. Ms. Hong was hailed as “an important new soprano undaunted by difficult contemporary challenges” (The WholeNote), who gives “landmark performances of two landmark works” (Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review). Anticipated in the fall of 2022 is the release of Michael Hersch's the script of storms with BBC Symphony Orchestra on 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.

Download Biography [PDF]

“glistening and resilient”


Recording Reviews - Choral & Song / March 2023
HERSCH: the script of storms
Ah Young Hong; BBC Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Klang, Muñoz. English texts.
New Focus Recordings FCR-344
"Both cycles are sung by soprano Ah Young Hong, an extraordinary performer and a frequent Hersch collaborator ... Hong is his perfect exponent: she can shriek with horror, straight-tone (as if anaesthetized) or speak with an urgency that sets your neck hairs on end. And her musical skills—pulling pitches out of the air, nailing the contours of an impossibly angular vocal line, confidently rendering microtones and clashing dissonances—are awe-inspiring."
—Joshua Rosenblum, Opera News

Ah Young Hong: A Breath Upwards CD review
from Opera News (September 2018 — Vol. 83, No. 3)

"Babbitt composed the work for Bethany Beardslee, whose voice is heard on the tape with the synthesized sounds. In this new recording from Innova, soprano Ah Young Hong effectively matches Beardslee’s timbre so the sections where the live and recorded voices have interplay provide the intended echo effect. One set of notes on the piece says that it requires a singer “with perfect pitch, outstanding command of rhythm, and total control of dynamic contrasts.” Hong clearly has all these—and an unfailingly lovely sound to boot. The piece is extraordinarily difficult. (Beardslee’s autobiography is called I Sang the Unsingable.) Hong’s unexpectedly sweet-toned traversal is on par with Beardslee’s fierce original, which is saying a lot. It’s good to be able to revisit this intriguing work, courtesy Hong’s fearlessness and consummate artistry.

Hong also performs A Breath Upwards, a new song cycle for soprano, clarinet, horn and viola by Michael Hersch (b. 1971). ...Even at its most astringent, Hersch’s music always has something compelling and insightful to say. This piece is as vital and original as any of today’s music." —Opera News
Full Article Learn more about "Ah Young Hong: A Breath Upwards"

"portrayed with soul-baring intensity by the fearless soprano Ah Young Hong ... absolutely riveting ... One could not imagine a more brilliant performance."
The Chicago Tribune
Full Article

"... transfixing ... Hong also gave a commanding performance of Kurtág’s 'Kafka Fragments." —The New Yorker
Full Article

“… exceptional cognitive command of the music … “ —The Philadelphia Inquirer
Full Article

"The soprano Ah Young Hong ... delivered the eerie texts ... with expressive intensity. The vocal line unfolded over the jagged, spare and haunting textures of viola, clarinet and horn. Claustrophobic harmonies underpinned with sparse insistence the line: 'So we had to go on the open edge/one at a time.' Wordless interludes illustrated verses by Ezra Pound, a flicker of a chorale evoking the text from his 'Cantos:' “Borne into the tempest, black cloud wrapping their wings.” Clarinet, horn and viola fragments grew increasingly agitated in another of Dante’s texts, culminating in a dense outburst for the soprano’s apocalyptic declamation of 'Now you can understand.' ... Ms. Hong vividly conveyed the contrasting moods of selections from Kurtag’s 'Kafka Fragments' — expressionistic settings of German texts from Kafka’s letters and diaries. She shaded her voice with myriad hues: lovely and clear in 'The Good March in Step' and grittier in the zigzag vocal line of 'Hiding Places' ... Ms. Hong also sang with expressive fervor in Milton Babbitt’s 'Philomel,' a dramatic monologue based on Ovid’s myth of Philomena. Synthesized sounds blended evocatively with a live and recorded soprano in this startling work, the intensity heightened by the surround-sound effect from multiple speakers." —The New York Times
Full Article

“glistening and resilient” —The Washington Post

“… a triumph … tonal gleam filled the hall beautifully” —The Baltimore Sun


[ZeitRäume Basel and Wien Modern present]
Trailer by Adrian Kelterborn, Prismago

Live from the 2018 Ojai Music Festival
GYÖRGY KURTÁG: Kafka Fragments - No. 18
Ah Young Hong, soprano
Patricia Kopatchinskaja, violin

Josquin des Prez: Douleur me bat
Arrangement for soprano and string quartet by Michael Hersch
Ah Young Hong, soprano
FLUX Quartet

Hersch: On the Threshold of Winter (complete)
Directed by James Matthew Daniel
Ah Young Hong, soprano
Tito Muñoz, conductor
Nunc (Miranda Cuckson, artistic director)


8 September 2023
7:00pm CDT
International Museum of Surgical Science
engulf-enkindle: music of György Kurtág, Enno Poppe, and Michael Hersch
Ah Young Hong, soprano
Ben Roidl-Ward, bassoon
Will Overcash, violin
Chicago, IL
9 September 2023
Goethe-Institut Boston
MÜNDEN - ENTZÜNGELN: music of Kurtág, Poppe, and Hersch
Ah Young Hong, soprano
Ben Roidl-Ward, bassoon
Will Overcash, violin
Boston, MA
29 October 2023
Talea Ensemble
Michael Hersch: one step to the next, worlds ending [US Premiere]
Michael Hersch: anonymous beneath the lemon trees
Georg Friedrich Haas: ... wie stille brannte das Licht
New York, NY
6-8 December 2023 earspace
Duke University Residency
Voice master class, Poppaea symposium, performance
Works by Hans Abrahamsen, Michael Hersch, Richard Drehoff Jr, John Supko
Durham, NC
12 January 2024 CD RELEASE on New Focus Recordings
World Premiere Recording: POPPAEA - an opera in one act (Commissioned by the Wien Modern Festival and Festival ZeitRäume Basel für Musik und Architektur)

Music by Michael Hersch / Libretto by Stephanie Fleischmann
Ah Young Hong, soprano / Steve Davislim, tenor / Silke Gäng, mezzo-soprano
Ensemble SoloVoices
Ensemble Phoenix Basel
Jürg Henneberger, Conductor
Directed by Markus Bothe
Piertzovanis Töws Architekten, Stage Design
Marius Kob, Puppets
Eva Butzkies, Costumes
more information

"Hong's superb vocal facility, along with the able instrumental accompaniment, highlights the sheer beauty of the works while drawing the listener into the emotional heart of the music on a grand scale.” —Music Web International


“… a triumph … tonal gleam filled the hall beautifully”




Publicity Photos

Click on any photo below to download a high resolution copy.
Photo #1, #4 by Mike Maguire.
Photo #2, #3 by Richard Anderson.
Photo #5 by James Matthew Daniel.


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Biography and Contact photos by Richard Anderson.
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