• “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

 

Biography

"fearlessness and consummate artistry"

Soprano Ah Young Hong has interpreted a vast array of repertoire, ranging from the music of Monteverdi, Bach, Mozart, Poulenc and Sondheim, to works of Shostakovich, Babbitt, Feldman, Haas and Kurtág. Best known for her work in Michael Hersch's monodrama, On the Threshold of WinterThe New York Times praised her performance in the world premiere as "the opera's blazing, lone star." In a recent 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." 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 Florissants at the Kennedy Center.

In high demand as a concert and chamber soloist, Ms. Hong has performed with Konzerthaus Berlin’s ensemble-in-residence, Ensemble unitedberlin, the acclaimed Netherland-based contemporary music group Ensemble Klang, The Daedalus Quartet, Phoenix Symphony, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, Wiener KammerOrchester, Concert Artists of Baltimore, and Tempesta di Mare, amongst others. During the 2017-2018 season, she performed both with Ensemble Dal Niente in Chicago and on the NOVA Chamber Music series in Salt Lake City as soprano and director in a new production of Michael Hersch's On the Threshold of Winter, and 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. Alex Ross from The New Yorker has praised her as “commanding” and “transfixing.” Highlights of the 2018-19, include a performances with the FLUX Quartet in Philadelphia, the U.S. premiere of Georg Friedrich Haas' …wie stille brannte das Licht in New York City at Spectrum NYC, and the world premiere of Michael Hersch's the script of storms for soprano and orchestra with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop.

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 Black Untitled. Early 2018 saw the commercial release of her debut solo CD through Innova Recordings. The album features Milton Babbitt’s Philomel and Michael Hersch’s a breath upwards.

Ms. Hong currently serves as faculty on the voice department at the Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University.

Download Biography [PDF]
 

“glistening and resilient”

Press


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


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


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

Multimedia

Hersch: On the Threshold of Winter
[2015 production trailer]
Directed by James Daniel

Babbitt: Philomel
Ah Young Hong, soprano
Learn more about the album,
"Ah Young Hong: A Breath Upwards"

Lassus: Improvisation on Susanne Un Jour
Ah Young Hong, soprano

Hersch: On the Threshold of Winter
[2018 production trailer]
Directed and performed by Ah Young Hong
Video design by Maxwell Bowman
November 3, 2018 performance details

Concerts

3 November 2018
7:30pm
Michael Hersch: On the Threshold of Winter - a monodrama in two acts (D.C. Premiere)
directed by Ah Young Hong

Corcoran Museum of Art
Flagg Building, North Atrium Gallery
Ah Young Hong, soprano
Tito Muñoz, conductor
Washington D.C.
16 December 2018
3:00pm
New Music Crane Arts and the Icebox presents
Works of Cage, Feldman and Lassus
FLUX QUARTET
Ah Young Hong, soprano
Philadelphia, PA
1 February 2019
7:30pm
First Friday Series at St. David's presents
Works by Brahms, Debussy and Berg
Ah Young Hong, soprano
Shirley Yoo, piano
Baltimore, MD
7 April 2019
7:30pm
Spectrum New York presents
Ah Young Hong in Recital

Works of Babbitt, Haas and others
Jacob Rhodebeck, piano
New York, NY
June 2019 Michael Hersch: NEW WORK
song cycle for soprano and orchestra

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop, conductor
Baltimore, MD
September 2019 Residency at Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music
Works by Kurtág, Haas and Babbitt
Nashville, TN
 
 

"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”

 

Contact

 

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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Homepage Lighting and Video Design by Maxwell Bowman.
Multimedia, Concerts and Recordings photos by Mike Maguire.
Biography and Contact photos by Richard Anderson.
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