Chung Park is the Director of the UCF Symphony and Chamber Orchestras and head of String Music Education in the Music Department, School of Performing Arts at the University of Central Florida. Dr. Park maintains an active schedule as a guest conductor on both the professional and educational levels, with recent engagements including several concerts with the Sarasota Orchestra, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and student orchestras in Tennessee, North Dakota, North Carolina, Utah, Washington State and Georgia. He is the rare artist/teacher who is equally at home conducting a large ensemble or teaching studio violin and viola. Dr. Park regularly gives masterclasses on violin and viola at top institutions like the Gifted Music School in Salt Lake City and presents on string pedagogy and music education for music teachers throughout the United States. He also serves on the faculty of A Gift for Music, a program that brings music education into the lives of all students regardless of socioeconomic status, teaching at all levels from beginners to the advanced chamber orchestra.
Orchestras Dr. Park has led have received wide critical acclaim. Eminent composer Steve Reich described his conducting as “revelatory” and exclaimed after listening to a performance of his work Proverb – ”Now I know it can rock!” 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 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. The Orlando Sentinel wrote that the UCF Symphony Orchestra produced “rich waves of sound” during last year’s performance of Oklahoma! at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
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.
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 appointments include positions at the Idaho State-Civic Symphony, Idaho State University, 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 also 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; Orlando, FL and Miami, FL.
Dr. Park is active as a professional development adjudicator and strives to be a resource to area teachers, having led over one hundred clinics in the schools during a little more than two years at UCF. 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’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 as a conductor, violinist and violist include the Aspen Music Festival, 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.
Dr. Park draws inspiration for his work from a wide variety of sources, including conductors such as Thomas Sleeper, John Eliot Gardiner and Simon Rattle. Dr. Park loves to spend his free time foraging for wild food, cooking, gardening organically, cycling, doing home renovations and reading. His favorite authors, recent and ongoing, include Pema Chödrön, Wendell Berry, Haruki Murakami and Matthew Crawford. Dr. Park exclusively uses and endorses Kaplan Amo strings from D’Addario Orchestral, performs on violins and violas made by renowned luthier Bronislaw Cison of Chicago, IL and Hill and Sons bows acquired from Robertson and Sons Violins in Albuquerque, NM.