Fred Bronstein, Dean of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, announced today that South Korean pianist HieYon Choi has joined the Peabody Conservatory faculty.
In addition to her distinguished performance and recording career as an international soloist and chamber musician, HieYon Choi has received acclaim for her pedagogy, with more than 30 students who have gone on to win national and international competitions. She is currently the Chair of Piano and a tenured faculty member at Seoul National University and has been a guest faculty member and taught master classes at festivals and conservatories across the globe, from Chicago to Italy and New York to Paris.
She is currently the president of the jury for the Concours International de Piano d’Epinal in France and has served on juries for many other international competitions such as Ishikawa, Orléans, Pozzoli, and Maj Lind. Performing since she was very young, HieYon has recorded within the classical canon and pioneered new music, winning various awards over the last four-plus decades for her competition performances, including the Arts Award of the Year in Korea.
“With an exceptional performance career and dedication to teaching the next generation of professional artists, I am thrilled that HieYon Choi is joining Peabody’s distinguished faculty of world-class performers, teachers, and thought leaders at the forefront of the local, national, and international arts communities,” said Fred Bronstein, Dean of the Peabody Institute. “HieYon has appeared on stages across the world and understands the importance of serving as a role model and mentor to young artists, bringing her wealth of experience to the studio and classroom by providing rigorous, personalized, supportive instruction and guidance to help our students excel professionally. We are thrilled to welcome her to Peabody.”
“As the industry reevaluates what works are played on our stages and taught in our classrooms, I hope to contribute to Peabody’s leadership in this area and create a studio space where my background as a South Korean artist, trained in Germany, can help shape the cultural canon to reflect spirit of our times,” said HieYon Choi. “In addition to its reputation for innovation and excellence, I have long been aware of Peabody’s distinguished heritage and its accomplished alumni spread all over the globe, so I am most honored to be joining its esteemed faculty.”
HieYon joined the piano faculty at the Seoul National University in 1999 and has been a tenured faculty member since 2011, holding roles including piano department chair, associate dean, and vice president of the faculty council. She has given numerous master classes in Korea as well as abroad, including at the Guildhall School in London; École normale supérieure in Paris; the Hochschules of Freiburg, Karlsruhe, and Düsseldorf in Germany; summer festivals in Italy; and in Helsinki, Hong-Kong, China, New York, Cincinnati, Michigan, and Chicago.
Alongside the canon of classical piano literature such as Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, and Debussy, HieYon is also recognized for her performances of music of the 20th and 21st centuries. A strong advocate of new music, she was the inaugural Artist-in-Residence of Tong-Yeong International Music festival. She performed works of Olivier Messiaen, György Kurtág, Sofia Gubaidulina, York Höller, Unsuk Chin, and Kang Suhki with the Seoul Philharmonic. She is the founder of Ensemble Academy at Seoul National University where she led a series of contemporary music projects such as Sound of Universe, Liberation, and TripleX, a triple international exchange during the Covid pandemic.
Starting in 2015, HieYon began recording all 32 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. She has released two albums of Beethoven sonatas, Piano Sonatas Nos. 18, 26, 27, 30, released in 2018 by Decca Korea, and Beethoven: The Great Piano Sonatas in 2021. She also released Debussy Douze Etudes in 2020, and her other recordings include F. Liszt Six Grand Etudes on Paganini, Isang Yun 5 Stücke, and Chopin Etudes Op. 10 & Op. 25. HieYon has appeared and performed on TV and radio channels in Korea, the US, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, and Germany.
Born in Inchon, South Korea, HieYon gave her debut concert at the age of 6 with the Inchon Philharmonic Orchestra. She won all four of the most coveted competitions in Korea (Dong-A, Choong-Ang, Korea Times, and Ehwa-KyungHyang), and moved to Germany at the age of 18.
At Peabody, she joins a Piano Department with a long tradition of excellence dating from the days of Arthur Friedheim. Today’s diverse roster of renowned artist-faculty includes Richard Goode, Marian Hahn, Seth Knopp, Ellen Mack, Yong Hi Moon, Yoshikazu Nagai, Benjamin Pasternack, Ann Schein, Alexander Shtarkman, and Steven Spooner. Peabody’s teaching model and its unique Breakthrough Curriculum reflect the Conservatory’s rich heritage and dynamic ethos, balancing a deeply held dedication to excellence in classical arts training with an innovative focus on the contemporary needs of artists seeking to launch a career in today’s shifting performing arts landscape.
More information on all of Peabody’s leadership, innovative programs, and initiatives is available at peabody.jhu.edu.