Composer Spotlight: Sungji Hong
December 21, 2019
With independent house concerts happening all over the country and orchestras like the LA Phil reinvigorating the concert hall, this is one of the most exciting times for classical art music in America! The variety of sounds, genres, and musicians working today is astonishing, and there are thousands of talented composers tirelessly honing their craft. One of the goals of Deus Ex Musica is to introduce new audiences to some of the exciting voices working today – both established and emerging artists! And we are particularly interested in celebrating the music of composers who both seek a rich spiritual life in Christ and actively explore their faith in their music.
This month’s Composer in the Spotlight series is Dr. Sungji Hong. An award- Korean composer now living in the US, Sungji teaches composition at the University of North Texas. Commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation (USA), the National Flute Association (USA), the Texas Flute Association, the Tongyoung International Music Festival (Korea), the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra (Korea), the Keumho Asiana Cultural Foundation (Korea), the International Isang Yun Music Society (Germany) and the MATA Festival (USA), Sungji’s music reflects an intelligent, playful exploration of timbre.
Sungji, tell us about your journey into music. How did you begin?
I discovered classical music while I was passing by a Piano Academy in my neighborhood. I would go there every day to listen to the sound coming from the window - it was a fascinating experience. Eventually, I told my mom that I want to learn the piano. By that time, I was five years old. I started practicing on a paper piano until my parents got me a Young Chang upright piano. I wrote my first piano piece when I was a 5th grader. My piano teacher was a composer as well, and I remember during my piano lessons he was talking about musical ideas and the musical structure of the pieces. Certainly, he influenced me, and he was one of the first who encouraged me to compose. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons that I am greatly interested in the structure of my compositions.