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Maestro Hong to Conduct Pittsburgh Symphony Concert in Fisher Auditorium

Maestro Thomas Hong

Thomas Hong, assistant conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, will serve as maestro for the PSO’s appearance on Tuesday, March 29, 2011, in Fisher Auditorium.

The all-Beethoven program will begin at 8:00 p.m. and celebrates the tenth anniversary of a partnership between IUP and the PSO, one of the world’s most honored symphony orchestras. It is being presented by the Lively Arts at IUP as part of its Performance Plus series.

Hong is presently the new assistant conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and associate conductor of the Seattle Symphony. Previously, he was assistant conductor of Orchestre National de France and also associate conductor of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. With the Orchestre National de France, Hong participated in various tours all over Europe, including most recently a momentous occasion where Maestro Kurt Masur performed the complete Beethoven symphonies in Frankfurt and Baden-Baden.

With the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Hong was in charge of programming and conducting all educational and outreach concerts, including four performances as part of Carnegie Hall’s LinkUp! music education program, serving all fourth grade students in the Fort Worth Independent School District. Other appointments in the past include assistant conductor of the Curtis Opera Theatre, visiting assistant professor at Haverford College, and music director of Delaware County Youth Orchestra, as well as First Korean Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, where he served as organist and choir director for many years.

Other orchestras that Hong has conducted include the Spokane, Richmond, and Winnepeg symphony orchestras, as well as the Seoul, Buffalo, and Lutosławski philharmonic orchestras.

Among his operatic and vocal performances are Copland’s The Tenderland, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, and Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress. His most recent operatic production was Donizetti’s L’exisir d’Amore at the Wortham Opera Theatre in Houston. Awards that he has received include the Leopold Stokowski Fellowship and the Whitaker Fund for Opera. Most recently, he was awarded the fellowship by the Brahms society of Baden-Baden offering residency for several weeks in the studio of Brahms’ only remaining summer home in Germany.

As an educator, Hong was on the faculty of the Shepherd School Pre-College at Rice University, teaching piano to young students. He was also a part of the Just for U Music Program (JUMP!) at the university, dialoging and interacting with children as well as performing for them. In 2006, he was an integral part of forming a new musical organization, working closely with the executive and artistic directors as the founding conductor. Based in Greenwich, Connecticut, Youth Symphony for United Nations, or YSUN’s, guiding principle continues to be “a gathering of sound for world peace.”

Hong was born in Incheon, Korea, and emmigrated to the United States with his family in 1978. He began his musical training at the age of fifteen on the piano and continued his studies with Dr. Samuel Hsu at Philadelphia Biblical University. Later, he went on to earn a master’s degree in choral conducting at Temple University and an artist diploma in orchestral conducting from the Curtis Institute of Music, studying with Maestro Otto Werner Mueller. He concluded his artistic training with Maestro Larry Rachleff at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.

The program Hong will conduct for the Performance Plus concert includes Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony—more commonly known as the “Pastoral” Symphony—and Overture to “The Creatures of Prometheus.” Also featured will be IUP piano professor Henry Wong Doe performing Beethoven’s second piano concerto with the orchestra.

Tickets for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra performance are available now at the Hadley Union Building ticket office on the IUP campus or online at IUP Tickets.com. Remaining tickets can be purchased at the door beginning one hour prior to the start of the performance.

Tickets are $16 for regular admission, $10 for students and children, and $14 for seniors (age sixty-two and older). For more information, call the Lively Arts at 724-357-2547 or e-mail lively-arts@iup.edu.

Performance Plus is presented by the College of Fine Arts and is funded, in part, by the IUP Student Cooperative Association,African American Cultural Center, Office of International Education, and Liberal Studies Program. This project is additionally supported by grants from Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts provided through the Pennsylvania Rural Arts Alliance.

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