Korean Marimba Champ Joins Grand Rapids Symphony In St. Cecilia Music Center

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Korean Marimba Champ Joins Grand Rapids Symphony In St. Cecilia Music Center

Ji Su Jung was only 6 years old, and she had to stand on a box in order to play her marimba. But that didn't stop her from winning the Grand Prize in the Cheongju Music Association Competition in her native Korea, the first of many competitions she's won.

Now a visiting lecturer at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, Jung will join the Grand Rapids Symphony to open the 2019-20 Holland Home Great Eras series.

The concert titled The Last Century is at 8 p.m. on Friday, October 11, in St. Cecilia Music Center, 24 Ransom Ave. NW.

Highlights of the evening concert will be given at 10 a.m. that morning for the Porter Hills Coffee Classic series, a one-hour program held without intermission. Doors open at 9 a.m. for complementary coffee and pastry.

Marcelo Lehninger conducts both concerts in St. Cecilia's Royce Auditorium.

Ji Su Jung will be soloist in a Marimba Concerto by contemporary French composer Emmanuel Sejourne.

Lehninger also will lead the Grand Rapids Symphony in Igor Stravinsky's Pulcinella Suite, and Paul Hindemith's Konzertmusik for Strings and Brass. The concerts will open with Carl Ruggles' Angels for muted brass.

First prize winner of the 2018 Ima Hogg Competition as well as the Audience Choice Award winner, Jung was the chosen for the prize by a jury that included Grand Rapids Symphony Music Director Marcelo Lehninger. Hearing her play inspired Lehninger to invite her to perform in Grand Rapids.

Jung has won numerous competitions and performed as a soloist with many professional orchestras throughout Korea. She won the Grand Prize at the 2003 Korea-US National as well as at the 2007 CBS Youth Music Competitions. Following graduation from the Seoul National Arts High School, she came to the United States to attend the Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University with a full scholarship for her undergraduate study.

She performed at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in November 2013. In 2014, she was chosen through a national audition to be the percussionist at the renowned Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival, performing with musicians including pianist Gilbert Kalish and Roger Tapping formerly of the Takács String Quartet. The following year performed at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival in Connecticut, where she gave the world premieres of small ensemble pieces by six emerging composers.

In 2015, Jung was invited by NPR radio host Fred Childs to be a young artist in residence on his nationally syndicated program, Performance Today. During the week of her residency, she performed many of the seminal pieces in the marimba repertoire introducing the marimba to listeners in every corner of the country. Since 2018, Jung has appeared in performances throughout the U.S. and Asia with The Percussion Collective.

The complete The Last Century will be rebroadcast on March 15, 2020, at 1 p.m. on Blue Lake Public Radio 88.9 FM or 90.3 FM.

Tickets start at $26 for the Great Eras series and $16 for Coffee Classics and are available at the Grand Rapids Symphony box office, weekdays 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. at 300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 100, (located across the street from Calder Plaza). Call (616) 454-9451 x 4 to order by phone. (Phone orders will be charged a $2 per ticket service fee, with a $12 maximum).

Tickets are available at the DeVos Place ticket office, weekdays 10 am - 6 pm or on the day of the concert at the venue beginning two hours before the performance. Tickets also may be purchased online at GRSymphony.org.

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