Press Room

Yale School of Music Graduate Student Ji Su Jung Wins Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition

HOUSTON (June 2, 2018) – Performing E. Séjourné’s Concerto for Marimba and Strings, marimbist Ji Su Jung won the 43rd annual Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition, which earned her a gold medal, a $25,000 prize and a solo performance at Jones Hall with the Houston Symphony at the Donor and Subscriber Appreciation Concert on Wednesday, July 11 at 7:30 p.m. under the direction of Associate Conductor Robert Franz.

The Grace Woodson Memorial Award was presented to Jung on Saturday, June 2, in Stude Hall at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music by Honorary Chair, John Neighbors. In addition to the cash prize and solo performance with the Houston Symphony, Jung will participate in a week-long Education and Community Engagement Residency that will provide her with essential training to help her succeed in their field and contribute to the communities in which she lives and works.

Additionally, Jung was the recipient of The Hermann Shoss Audience Choice Award, an award casted by members of the audience. Jung is currently a graduate student at the Yale School of Music and is an active soloist and chamber musician. She has performed in prestigious halls and festivals around the country, including the Kennedy Center and Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival. Through her endorsement with Vic Firth mallet and drumstick company, she made numerous performance videos that have garnered a quarter of a million views on their website.

The Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition – a partnership between the Houston Symphony League and the Houston Symphony – is one of the world’s greatest multi-instrument competitions and was named to honor the memory of Ima Hogg, a co-founder of the Houston Symphony. The prestigious competition is designed to identify outstanding young instrumentalists and support their pursuit of careers in music. Often raising their profile in the orchestra world, the competition helps them in their future careers as musical leaders—either as soloists, chamber musicians or orchestra members. Chaired by Barbara McCelvey, this year’s finals competition featured four outstanding finalists selected from a pool of nearly 80 candidates ranging from a wide variety of instruments and nationalities.

The Second Prize was awarded to violinist Hyun Jae Lim, who received a $10,000 prize, a silver medal and a solo appearance with the Houston Symphony led by guest conductor Kensho Watanabe at Miller Theatre Outdoor Theatre during the ExxonMobil Summer Symphony Nights concert series on Saturday, June 30th. The third and fourth-place prizes were awarded to cellist Alexander Hersh and violinist Michael Ferri, who won $5,000 and $2,500 cash prizes respectively.

The Houston Symphony’s 43rd annual Ima Hogg competition was broadcast live on Houston Public Media News 88.7.

First Prize, The Grace Woodson Memorial Award:
Ji Su Jung (marimba)
$25,000 and solo performance with the Houston Symphony at the Donor and Subscriber Appreciation Concert at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 in Jones Hall.

Second Prize, The Houston Symphony League Award:
Hyun Jae Lim (violin)
$10,000 and solo performance with the Houston Symphony at Miller Outdoor Theatre at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 30, 2018

Third Prize, The Selma Neumann Memorial Award
Alexander Hersh (cello)

Fourth Prize, The Jean Whitbread Kucera Award
Michael Ferri (violin)

About the Ima Hogg Competition
Named and purposed after former founder and President of the Houston Symphony, Miss Ima Hogg, this prestigious competition is designed to identify outstanding young instrumentalists between the ages of 16 and 26 to support their pursuit of careers in music. The goal is consistent with the vision of Miss Ima Hogg, whose passions included fostering young talent and supporting the Houston Symphony. It is one of the few instrumental competitions worldwide that includes all standard orchestral instruments.

The Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition is a definitive breeding ground for fine musicians. Past winners have won numerous national and international competitions, received principal posts with some of the world’s major orchestras and even occupied seats within the Houston Symphony – Concertmaster Frank Huang, Principal Keyboardist Scott Holshouser, and Principal Harpist Megan Conley are three such players, all former prize winners of the competition.

About the Houston Symphony League
The Houston Symphony League and the Houston Symphony League Bay Area are dedicated to supporting the Houston Symphony through volunteer efforts and fundraising. Symphony League members are involved with the Symphony’s education programs through student music competitions and activities at Family Concerts, Student Concerts, Summer Community Concerts and Theater District Open House. Members from the Bay Area League promote music appreciation to elementary students in Clear Creek ISD through enrichment programs in the schools. Both Leagues contribute to the successful operation of the Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition by providing volunteers for in-hall support and hospitality.

About the Houston Symphony
During the 2018-19 season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its fifth season with Music Director Andrés Orozco- Estrada and continues its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. The Houston Symphony, one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas, held its inaugural performance at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston on June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $33.9 million, the full-time ensemble of 88 professional musicians presents nearly 170 concerts annually, making it the largest performing arts organization in Houston. Additionally, musicians of the orchestra and the Symphony’s four Community-Embedded Musicians offer over 900 community-based performances each year, reaching thousands of people in Greater Houston.

The Grammy Award-winning Houston Symphony has recorded under various prestigious labels, including Naxos, Koch International Classics, Telarc, RCA Red Seal, Virgin Classics and, most recently, Dutch recording label Pentatone. In 2017, the Houston Symphony was awarded an ECHO Klassik award for the live recording of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck under the direction of former Music Director Hans Graf. The orchestra earned its first Grammy nomination and Grammy Award at the 60th annual ceremony for the same recording in the Best Opera Recording category.

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