Extraordinarily gifted and charismatic violinist Judy Kang, born and raised in Canada, has established a unique career filled with diversity in musical style and artistic flair. Described as astonishing, edgy, spontaneous, and heartfelt, Judy is the product of a unique gift that was recognized immediately when she picked up the violin at the age of four. She was performing solo recitals and winning competitions that same year. Judy burst onto the classical music scene at age ten, in a nationally acclaimed televised performance as soloist with the National Arts Center Orchestra. The Ottawa Citizen enthusiastically stated, “If there was a star tonight, it was Judy Kang. Blessed with a gift for the violin that is exceptional, she moves about the instrument at her disposal with an ease that is awe-inspiring.” A year later, she auditioned to the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, with a fractured wrist (from a volleyball game), and was accepted to study there on full scholarship. At 17, she graduated with a Bachelor in Music as the youngest graduate in its history. Upon graduation, she captured the Grand-Prize as well as the “Best Interpretation” prize at the CBC Competition for Young Performers, Canada’s most honoured competition.
Since her first solo appearance at age 4 in her native Edmonton, Canada, she has since toured all across North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the Carribean Islands. She has performed with all the major orchestras and ensembles of Canada and those of the US, Europe, and Asia and has performed in recitals and chamber music to diverse audiences in prestigious venues including Tokyo Suntory Hall, Wigmore Hall, Lincoln Center, Sejong Cultural Center, Seoul Arts Center, Schubert Hall in Vienna, the National Arts Center as well as at the Metropolitan and Guggenheim Museums in New York among others. She made her debut to a sold-out audience in Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall to critical acclaim and performed as soloist with the Korean Symphony at Stern Hall at Carnegie Hall. The New York Times wrote, “Judy Kang, a Canadian violinist and most likely the only musician to have worked with both Pierre Boulez and Lady Gaga, was featured in Brahms’s Violin Concerto. Ms Kang, who drew whoops from the audience before playing a single note, offered a lean, focused sound, pinpoint intonation and expressively molded phrasing. Every line seemed to mean something personal in what amounted to an amorous serenade.”
She has performed for numerous diplomats and leaders including former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and former US president Bill Clinton. Judy has collaborated extensively with distinguished artists as Claude Frank, Miriam Fried, David Geringas, Gary Hoffmann, Lynn Harell, Cho-Liang Lin, Kyung-Wha Chung, Leon Fleisher, Richard Goode, Bruno Canino, Barry Douglas, Eugenia Zuckerman, David Soyer, Marcy Rosen, Warren Jones, Isidore Cohen, Peter Wiley, Sigfried Palm, Chee-Yun, Samuel Rhodes, Felix Galimir, Samuel Wong, Bramwell Tovey, Nurhan Arman, Jean-Francois Rivest, Yoav Talmi, Nance Geum, Mario Bernardi, and Boris Brott. She has performed at major festivals as Marlboro, Ravinia, Bargemusic, Manchester, Aspen, Evian, Banff, Orford, Ste. Petronille, the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, the Pablo Casals Festival, Lenaudiere International Festival, the ‘Focus’ Festival in New York, and has performed and given master classes at the ‘Sean Jackson and Friends Festival’ for the development of classical music in Barbados. She made her debut in Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall to critical acclaim, and has performed solo and chamber concerts in great halls including Tokyo Suntory Hall, Seoul Arts Center, Wigmore Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Isaac Stern and Zankel Halls (Carnegie Hall), Hoam Arts Hall, Glenn Gould Studio, Town Hall, Seoul National Arts Center, the Sejong Cultural Arts Center, as well as at the Metropolitan and Guggenheim Museums in New York. Judy performed in a special concert celebrating the inauguration of the Korean-American Jewish-American Forum (KAJA). As a member of the renowned ensemble Sejong, she toured Asia and America and was presented as soloist and concert-master with Sejong in performances across the US, Korea, the UK, France and at the launching of the Great Mountains Festival and School in Korea, where she also coached chamber music each summer. Judy frequently collaborates with living composers and has worked closely with notable composers, Leon Kirchner, Richard Danielpour, Alexander Goehr, and Pierre Boulez, with whom, after an intense week of collaboration, lead to a successful culminating concert. Having been exposed to all kinds of music from an early age, Judy continues to broaden her scope and break through the limits of traditional boundaries collaborating and often times performing spontaneously on stage with diverse musicians and bands including that of her own ‘The Simple Machines”. Judy was personally selected by Lady Gaga to be a part of her “MonsterBall” world tour in 2010-11 performing for over two million people around the globe in sold out shows. A founding member of the piano quartet ‘Made In Canada’, formed at the Banff Center in 2006, the group immediately earned recognition in their native Canada and have received scholarships and awards including the eminent 2006 Galaxie Rising Stars Award. They were featured in Chatelaine Magazine for Women as one of 80 women to watch. Judy is a member of F.I.RE (FutureInREverse), a project directed by composer Huang Ruo which explores ‘sounds of the future’ through the use of traditional classical and folk instruments as well as electronic machines.
At the age of 19, Judy was granted the Lily Foldes Scholarship from the Juilliard School, and graduated with a Masters Degree. She became the first graduate, with high honours, of the prestigious Artist Diploma at the Manhattan School of Music, which holds the distinction of the highest level of education, significantly above all other programs. Her mentors include Sylvia Rosenberg, Robert Mann, Lorand Fenyves, Aaron Rosand, Felix Galimir, Gary Graffman, James Keene, and Yoko Wong. She won many competitions locally, nationally and internationally such as the Grand-Prize of the Canadian Music Competition several years in a row, and top prizes at the Nielsen, Dong-A, Kreisler, and Naumburg International Violin Competitions.
Judy has been the subject of newspaper and magazine articles and has appeared on CBC, CNN, and MTV. She has released two critically acclaimed CDs on the CBC Records label, which have been nominated for awards such as the Opus award and the Gemini in her native Canada. She is also frequently heard live and through broadcasts on national and international radio such as CBC (Canada), BBC (London), and on WQXR (New York). Judy is forever thankful to have received numerous and continuous support through scholarships and grants from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Winspear Foundation, the Anne Burrows Foundation for Young Musicians, and the Canada Council for the Arts, among others. She won the ‘Sylva Gelber’ Prize given to the most talented musician under 30. In recognition of her outstanding achievement and contribution to the arts, Judy is featured as an accomplished artist and inspiration in a book entitled Korea and Canada: A Shared History. She is strongly motivated to take part in many benefit events and visits public schools, daycare, hospitals, and nursing homes through music outreach. Judy is an artist and ambassador for WorldVision, a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. The sole artist to be awarded the longest use of an instrument, since 1997, Judy was awarded and currently performs on the 1689 “Baumgartner” Stradivarius, on generous loan from the Canada Council for the Arts through an anonymous donor. She was also awarded the use of the 1747 “Palmason” Januarius Gagliano through the Canada Council for the Arts.