A prizewinner of numerous competitions, pianist Ji-Hyang Gwak has garnered international praise for her versatility, energy, and technical mastery. As a performing solo artist, chamber musician, and pedagogue, she made appearances across the United States, Czech, England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, and Korea.
Gwak is the top prize winner of the Sicily International Piano Competition, Seattle International Piano Competition, Franz Liszt International Piano Competition – Ohio, The MFMC Rosamond P. Haeberle Memorial Piano Award, High Point Univ. Piano Competition and the Michigan MTNA Young Artist Piano Competition. Her most recent achievement was in the 2021 Lyon International Music Competition in France, where she won third prize and received concert engagement from the Association Frédéric Chopin à Lyon. She also received prizes in numerous competitions such as 39th Joongang Music Concours, Korea-Germany Brahms Associations Concours and was a semi-finalist at the Ricard Viñes International Piano Competition in Spain, and the Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition in New York City. She was selected to participate in summer festivals, including the CCM Prague Festival in Czech, Sicily Piano Festival in Italy, UFIPF (University of Florida International Piano Festival) in Gainesville, and PianoTexas in Fort Worth.
She has performed in concerts and recitals at Mozart Hall, Sejong Chamber Hall, and Jungam Art Hall in Korea, Palffy Palace in Prague, Albert Thomas Hall in Lyon, Palazzo della cultura and Museo Diocesano in Sicily, the University of Florida in Gainesville, PepsiCo Recital Hall in Fort Worth, Benaroya Hall in Seattle, The First United Methodist Church in Middlebury, The Heritage Museum and Cultural Center in St. Joseph, Hill Auditorium, and Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor as well. Gwak made her orchestral debut at 15 with the Bucheon Chamber Orchestra at Jancheon Art Hall in Seoul. In 2014, she was the winner of the Eastman School of Music Concerto Competition, allowing her to perform Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Eastman Philharmonia under the baton of Maestro Neil Varon in the historical concert venue, 2400 seats Kodak Hall, Rochester. She also played Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 with Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra at Hill Auditorium in 2019.
She has performed in numerous masterclasses and had lessons with world-renowned artists including Philippe Bianconi, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Vadim Monastyrski, Yoshikazu Nagai, Elisabeth Pridonoff, Gustavo Romero, Jacques Rouvier, Pascal Rosé, Robert Roux, Peter Serkin, Daniel Shapiro, Sasha Starcevich, and Asaf Zohar.
Gwak holds a Bachelor of Music in piano performance, summa cum laude, from Seoul National University and a Master of Music in piano performance and literature from Eastman School of Music. Her teacher includes Kyungrok Park, Jinson Kim, Prof. Hie-Yon Choi, and Prof. Natalya Antonova. She is currently pursuing a Specialist degree at the University of Michigan under the tutelage of Prof. Christopher Harding, where she earned a D.M.A (Doctor of Musical Arts) degree in piano performance in 2020.
During the 2022-2023 season, she is invited to perform in France and give five recitals on tour in Italy. She will also be giving recitals and masterclasses in the States.