April 11, 2016

Violin legend Kyung Wha Chung signs to Warner Classics after 15-year hiatus

The Korean virtuoso will fulfill her lifelong dream of recording the complete violin solo works by J.S. Bach.

Kyung Wha Chung's dazzling and probing artistry has made her one of classical music's most acclaimed performers for more than 45 years. Lauded for her passion, her musicality and the intense excitement that she brings to her performances, Ms. Chung's uniquely expressive interpretations of the violin literature have established her as an artist of the very highest stature.

After a career break of more than a decade she has announced to her fans the decision to return to the recording studio. With this album she fulfils a lifelong dream of recording the complete violin solo works by J.S. Bach, a project very close to her heart. The album, recorded at St George’s Bristol, will showcase Kyung Wha Chung as the maverick of the violin that she is, with her inimitable and timeless sound.

Ms. Chung teamed up with Grammy-winning producer Stephen Johns for this major comeback. Future projects include a recital disc with pianist Kevin Kenner and a concerto recording.

"I’m delighted to announce that I am so happy to be returning to the recording studio after many years for a series of exciting artistic projects," said Chung in a statement. "The first of these is the solo Sonatas & Partitas of J.S. Bach: a monumental task. This is the unending quest of my musical journey. To have the opportunity to work again with Stephen Johns (who was my long-term producer at EMI) is wonderful, as is being made to feel such a welcome part of my Warner family. I will soon share more news about this wonderful new adventure with all of you."

“A master of violin is back! She is as true as one can be to one’s art, one’s own self and the violin literature” said Jean-Philippe Rolland, EVP of Artists & Repertoire at Warner Classics and a close collaborator for many years. “Music lovers have been missing you all these years. Welcome back, Kyung Wha Chung!”

Kyung Wha Chung signed an exclusive recording contract with EMI (now Warner Classics) in 1988, and made numerous critically-acclaimed and award-winning recordings for the label. Her album of Bartók's Second Violin Concerto and Rhapsodies under Sir Simon Rattle won a Gramophone Award.

In 2005 she stopped performing in public and recording due to an injury and focused all her efforts in raising her family and teaching a whole new generation of violinists at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York.

Kyung Wha Chung’s first appearance following her injury took place in 2010 with Vladimir Ashkenazy and the Philharmonia Orchestra, and she began touring again in Asia from 2013. In December 2014 she made a much-anticipated return to the UK with a series of concerts culminating in a sold-out performance at the Royal Festival Hall, London.

Kyung Wha Chung will open the Verbier Festival this summer with the Verbier Festival Orchestra and conductor Charles Dutoit on 22 July.  May sees her eagerly-awaited return to Carnegie Hall, New York.

Born in South Korea, Kyung Wha Chung began studying the violin at the age of 6. At New York's Juilliard School, she studied with the legendary Ivan Galamian and later coached with Joseph Szigeti, who also introduced her to art and literature.

Kyung Wha Chung has appeared regularly as a soloist with the world's most prestigious orchestras, working with top conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Bernard Haitink, Riccardo Muti,  André Previn, Sir Simon Rattle, and Sir Georg Solti. As a recitalist, Kyung-Wha Chung has collaborated with an extraordinary list of important artists including Peter Frankl, Kevin Kenner, Steven Kovacevich, Radu Lupu and  Krystian Zimerman. The government of South Korea has awarded Ms. Chung its highest honour, the Medal of Civil Merit.

The Complete Kyung Wha Chung recordings on Warner Classics, made between 1978 and 2000, are available as an 11CD + DVD boxed set.

(photo by Sim Canetty-Clarke: Alain Lanceron, President Warner Classics & Erato; Kyung Wha Chung; Jean-Philippe Rolland, EVP Artists & Repertoire Warner Classics & Erato)

Kyung Wha Chung letter