Kennedy Center Debut Recitalists

Korean Concert Society's most prestigious program, the Kennedy Center Debut Recital series, has presented over two dozen outstanding artists since 1980, many of whom have gone on to play with major orchestras, make acclaimed recordings, or become in demand soloists. These artists are chosen in an annual jury process from a pool of global applicants. Typically, the program focuses on violinists, cellists, and pianists in annual rotation, although some other instruments have been chosen.

2009 | Richard Yongjae O’Neill, Viola

Performance Date: May. 2, 2009

Praised by the London Times as “ravishing” the Los Angeles Times as “technically immaculate” the Seattle Times as “fantastic” the Boston Globe as “sensational” the San Francisco Chronicle for his “fierce virtuosity”, and the and the New York Times as “high class” with an “elegant, velvety tone” violist Richard O’Neill is one of the very few violists ever to receive an Avery Fisher Career Grant as well as a Grammy Award Nomination.


2008 | Stephanie Jeong, Violin

Performance Date: Nov. 9, 2008

Violinist Stephanie Jeong was appointed Associate Concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the fall of 2011 by Music Director Riccardo Muti. Prior to joining the CSO, she was a member of the New York Philharmonic from 2010-2011. The top prize winner and recipient of the Best Paganini Concerto Prize of the 2008 Paganini Violin Competition in Italy, Jeong made her solo debut at age 12 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as winner of its Feinburg Competition and with The Philadelphia Orchestra as winner of its Albert M. Greenfield Competition.


2007 | Hee-Young Lim, Cello

Performance Date: Nov. 3, 2007

A winner of numerous competitions, Ms. Lim, a native of Korea, has won the Washington International Competition for Strings, the Barnett Foundation Competition, and the Sorantin International String Competition. She captured the grand prize at the IBLA International Competition in Italy, where she was given a Special Mention and recognized as a Most Distinguished Musician. She joined Astral Artists’ roster as the winner of its 2009 national auditions.


2006 | Soyeon Lee, Piano

Performance Date: Sep. 9, 2006
Soyeon Lee

Korean pianist Soyeon Lee has been hailed by critics and audiences alike for performances of rare passion and grace. Her rapturous playing has brought numerous accolades and successes including top prizes at the Concert Artists Guild International Piano Competition, Cleveland International Piano Competition, and the Paloma O’Shea Santander International Piano Competition. At 26, having already worked with conductors such as Jahja Ling, Otto-Werner Mueller, and Rafael Frübeck de Burgos, and orchestra such as the Cleveland Orchestra and London Symphony, Ms. Lee continues to bring her unique power and sensitivity to audiences around the world.


2005 | KCS 25th Anniversary Celebration with International Sejong Soloists and Chee-Yun,

Performance Date: Oct. 29, 2005

Praised as a “top notch conductor-less string orchestra” by the Washington Post, International Sejong Soloists (ISS) was founded in New York City in 1995 and met with immediate success. Since its inception ISS has given more than 200 concerts throughout the United States, Europe, and the Far East. Uniquely comprised of today’s leading young soloists, International Sejong Soloists is known for its cohesiveness, beautiful sound, and refreshing musical style in performing string orchestral works as well as solo and chamber repertoire.


2004 | Hyuk-Joo Kwun, Violin

Performance Date: Oct. 2, 2004
Hyuk Joo Kwun

Violinist Hyuk-Joo Kwon was the 1st prize winner at the 7th Carl Nielsen Violin Competition 2004 and received the special prizes as a best performer of Denmark Composition and a young popularity vote. In 2001, Hyuk-Joo graduated from the Moscow Central Music School and entered the Moscow Conservatory, where he today continues his studies with Professor Grach. That October he won the Grand-prix in the Kloster- Schoental Competition in Germany.


2003 | Won-Jin Jo, Clarinet

Performance Date: Sep. 27, 2003
Won-Jin Jo

Won-Jin Jo, born in Flushing, New York, was 16 when he was named a winner of the 2001 New York Philharmonic Young Artists’ Competition. He subsequently made his New York Philharmonic debut at a Young People’s Concert in 2001 under Kurt Masur. He was re-engaged for a five-concert tour with the New York Philharmonic in 2003 under Roberto Minczuk.


2003 | Jasmine Nakyung Choi, Flute

Jasmine Nakyung Choi did not perform at the Kennedy Center as scheduled on September 26, 2003, due to a conflicting engagement in Vienna. The alternate candidate for 2003, clarinettist Won-Jin Jo, performed instead.

Flutist Jasmine Choi, a native of Korea, is an active soloist, chamber musician, and full-time orchestral musician. She has been critically acclaimed on international stages for her rich tone, technical brilliance, superb musicianship, and charismatic stage presence. At the age of 22, she was appointed Associate Principal Flute of the Cincinnati Symphony under the music director Paavo Jarvi and became the first Korean woodwind player to hold a post with a major orchestra in the United States.


2002 | Patrick Jee, Cello

Performance Date: Sep. 21, 2002
Patrick Jee

Praised as “spectacular” (American Record Guide) and a “virtuosic tour-de-force” (New York Concert Review) cellist Patrick Jee has earned international acclaim for his bold musicality, rich sound, and passionate performances. Mr. Jee has made appearances at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Kennedy Center, and Wigmore Hall as well as special performances at the United Nations and on CNN, American Morning. He has performed at major music festivals including Aspen, Banff, Caramoor, Casals, and La Jolla.


2001 | Yung Wook Yoo, Piano

Performance Date: Sep. 21, 2001

Mr. Yung Wook Yoo won the Grand Prize and Gold Medal of the 13th Paloma O’Shea Santander International Piano Competition which was granted by unanimous vote from the jury in August, 1998. This prize included important concert tours and recitals throughout the world as well as a recording contract with a major label.