• “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"

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 New York Times praised Ms. Hong as "the opera's blazing, lone star,” The Chicago Tribune called her "absolutely riveting," and the Kronen Zeitung wrote "her stage presence, her soprano voice, her facial expressions...Breathtaking."

In high demand 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 has premiered Michael Hersch's On the Threshold of Winter, a one woman opera, and Poppaeaas the title role. 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”

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

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

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

Live at the Crane Arts Icebox Project Space
Orlande de Lassus: Susanne un jour
Ah Young Hong, soprano/FLUX Quartet

Concerts

23 March 2022 Carnegie Hall Presents Decoda
Michael Hersch: New Work [World Premiere]
New York, NY
7-10 April 2022 Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9
Washington, DC
Baltimore, MD
29, 30 April 2022 Asia Society Texas Center
Brown Foundation Performing Arts
Shih-Hui Chen: Or/And [World Premiere]
Houston, TX
3 July 2022 University of Heidelberg
Shih-Hui Chen: Or/And
Heidelberg, Germany
16 September 2022 Album release: the script of storms
Michael Hersch, composer
New Focus Records
Ah Young Hong, soprano
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Ensemble Klang
2 October 2022
Sunday, 3 pm
Cairns Studio Recital Series
Works by Shostakovich, Kurtág, Monteverdi, Purcell.
Ah Young Hong, soprano
Conrad Harris, violin
John Koen, cello
Kevin Payne, theorbo
Havertown, PA
25 October 2022
Tuesday, 4:30 pm
Screening of Poppaea
Two-act opera by Michael Hersch and Stephanie Fleischmann
George Peabody Library
Baltimore, MD
5 November 2022
Saturday
Alarm Will Sound
Excerpt of soprano solo from Fang Man's opera, Golden Lily
E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall
St. Louis, MO
 
 

"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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Multimedia, Concerts and Recordings photos by Mike Maguire.
Biography and Contact photos by Richard Anderson.
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