Chung Park has just been appointed Director of Orchestras and String Music Education in the Music Department at the University of Central Florida starting in the fall of 2015. Dr. Park is the artistic director and lead administrator for the UCF Symphony and Chamber Orchestras and Director of String Music Education. In addition to his position at UCF, Dr. Park has also been named to the conducting staff of the Metropolitan Area Youth Symphony, for whom he will lead the Symphony Orchestra and serve as director of the MAYS chamber music program.
Dr. Park’s conducting has received wide critical acclaim. Eminent composer Steve Reich described his conducting as “revelatory” and called him “a young conductor to keep an ear and eye on.” Critic Lawrence Johnson of the Miami Herald hailed his performance of Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale as “masterfully directed” and his conducting of Debussy’s Afternoon of a Faun as “lucid and refined.” The Frost Symphony Orchestra/Park recording of works by American composer Alan Hovhaness on Centaur Records has received excellent reviews, most notably from Gramophone Magazine, who proclaimed that the disc provides “hours of listening enjoyment.” Classics Today gave the album “10/10” for both engineering and quality of performance.
Dr. Park comes to the University of Central Florida most recently from Appalachian State University, where he was the Director of Orchestral Studies at the Hayes School of Music. He also led the String and Symphony Orchestras at the HSoM’s Cannon Music Camp. Prior to his appointment at ASU, Dr. Park was Artistic and Education Director of the Idaho State-Civic Symphony and Assistant Professor of Upper Strings at Idaho State University. His time there was marked by several successes, most notably an increase in season ticket sales of almost 50% and an increase in operating budget by over 50%. Even with the increase in expenditures Dr. Park is proud that ISCS ran no deficits during his tenure there, and this growth took place in the heart of the financial difficulties of the 2008 recession. Dr. Park helped the ISCS create a new modern image by leading two overhauls of the ISCS website and introduced email and social media marketing to the ISCS’s public relations strategy. A firm believer that face to face contact is the best way to represent one’s organization, Dr. Park was an active and enthusiastic member of the Pocatello community, engaging donors and patrons regularly in many venues and participating in tremendously successful fund raising events for the ISCS and ISU. He also started and led several educational initiatives including the Gem State String Technique BootCamp and the ISU String Caravan, which brought ISU string students into rural communities to provide mentorship and instruction to young string players.
Dr. Park has worked with some of today’s finest soloists, including the Marcus Roberts Trio, the Ahn Trio, Waitiki 7, pianists Lori Sims, Edward Auer, and David Gross, soprano Monica Yunus, violinists Corey Cerovsek, Yosuke Kawasaki and Aaron Berofsky, hornist Gail Williams and ‘cellist Edward Arron.
Active as a guest conductor, Dr. Park has led the Western Plains Opera, conducted the chamber version of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and has led several honor orchestras including the 9/10 Florida All-State Orchestra, 11/12 Hillsborough County Honor Orchestra, North Carolina Eastern Region All-State Orchestra and North Dakota All-State Orchestra among others. Dr. Park will return to North Dakota to conduct the All-State Orchestra in March, 2016.
Dr. Park’s primary musical studies were completed at the Peabody Conservatory and the University of Miami, where he received a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree as a student of renowned conductor and composer Thomas Sleeper. Dr. Park was the recipient of the Presser Foundation Music Prize, the UM Alumni Association Student of Distinction Award and was inducted into the Pi Kappa Lambda music honors fraternity while at the University of Miami. Additionally, Park studied viola in Hannover, Germany with Hatto Beyerle of the Alban Berg Quartet.
Further studies include the Pierre Monteux School, the South Carolina Conductor’s Institute, Tafelmusik Institute in Toronto, Ontario, and the International Festival-Institute at Roundtop, Texas, where two groups he led were chosen to perform on the “Best of the Summer” concerts during consecutive summers. Dr. Park has conducted in masterclasses for Marin Alsop, Andrey Boreyko, Per Brevig, Raymond Harvey, Catherine Comet, Pascal Verrot, Andrew Grams and Jorge Mester.
Prior appointments include Acting Director of Orchestral Activities at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, as well as the faculties of the Universities of Chicago, North Dakota and Indiana University – South Bend. Park served as conductor of the Western Michigan University Chamber Orchestra and Opera Theater and music director of youth orchestras in South Bend, IN, Grand Forks, ND, and Miami, FL.
Active as a clinician, educator and in community outreach, Dr. Park was honored by the North Dakota String Teacher’s Association with their Distinguished Service Award in 2008. He was also awarded the Pocatello Arts Council Community Service Award and named “Businessperson of the Year-Overachiever Under 40″ by the Idaho State Journal and the Pocatello/Blackfoot Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Park has a special interest in providing musical experiences to people who are not served by traditional musical outreach programs and has worked with special needs children through the music program at Creative Children’s Therapy in Miami. In addition, he often serves as a guest conductor and clinician in schools and music festivals. He appears regularly as a guest speaker for community organizations such as the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs as well as for local TV and radio affiliates of NBC, NPR and others. Park appeared on Univision’s internationally televised Spanish language newsmagazine “Aqui y Ahora”, with an estimated viewership of four million people in Spanish speaking countries as well as on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition with the Idaho State-Civic Symphony.
Park is an outspoken proponent of new music, having led works by many of today’s leading composers including Steve Reich, Paul Oehlers, Dennis Kam, Anthony Brandt, and BMI award winner Stephen Danyew.
Dr. Park draws inspiration for his work from a wide variety of sources, including conductors such as Thomas Sleeper, Charles Dutoit, John Eliot Gardiner and Simon Rattle. Other influences include the art of Johannes Vermeer and Andy Goldsworthy, the writings of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, filmmaker Akira Kurosawa and the artistic endeavors of the Kronos Quartet. Dr. Park is an avid road cyclist, amateur chef, mushroomer, wild food enthusiast and organic gardener with a special interest in heritage or heirloom vegetables. Dr. Park lives in Orlando, FL and Pocatello, ID with his wife, Dana.
Dr. Park proudly uses and endorses D’Addario Strings.