Sejong Cultural Society
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2008 Sejong Music Competition

2005 Sejong Music Competition

Winners |Judges | Winners' Concert

Piano:  Michael Kim | Rev. John Palmer | Sylvia Wang
Violin: Alison Dalton | Russell Hershow | Yuan-Qing Yu

Michael Kim | piano

Svetlana Belsky
Michael Kim is presently associate professor of music at Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Appleton, WI.

 Dr. Kim continues to perform as soloist with many orchestras, highlighted by appearances with the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall, the Cincinnati Pops, the Florida Orchestra (Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater), the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen), the BBC Scottish Symphony, and the symphonies of Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, Green Bay, Fox Valley, Waukesha, Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, London, and Toronto.  He has also been a featured soloist with the summer festival orchestras of Brevard, Banff, and Huntsville, with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by former UK Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, and in a tour of Peru with Orchestra Sinfonica de Trujillo.

As a recitalist and chamber musician, Dr. Kim has performed extensively throughout the U.S., Canada, U.K., South America, and Asia, and at the summer festivals of Aspen, Banff, Heifetz, and Niagara, frequently collaborating with wife pianist Kyung Kim, and sister violinist Helen Kim.  His live performances and recordings are frequently broadcast on the radio networks of CBC, BBC, NPR, KBS, and Chicago’s WFMT.  He continues his association with Piano Six (now Encore Six) for whom he has toured three times, most notably as a last minute replacement for Marc Andre Hamelin, a tour which received enthusiastic reviews and acclaim.   Dr. Kim is also a popular adjudicator and masterclass clinician for many competitions, schools, teacher workshops and conventions throughout North America.

A recipient of numerous awards, Dr. Kim was silver medalist in the Scottish International Competition in Glasgow, and a prize winner in the Leeds and Ivo Pogorelich International Piano Competitions. He is also grand prizewinner of the Canadian Music and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation National Radio Competitions.

He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Juilliard School.  Dr. Kim’s critically acclaimed recordings are available on the CRI, Summit, and Orpheum Masters labels.   OPUS magazine praised his “Live in Recital” CD for its “tour de force performances, full of virtuosity and musicality.”


"I was very honored to serve as a juror for the second Sejong Music Competition. It is particularly notable that the competition promotes and fosters the growth of both young composers and performers, and that makes this competition stand out amongst its peers, and a competition with a very promising future. "

- Michael Kim


Rev. John Palmer | piano

Rev John Palmer
Rev. Father John M. Palmer, C.S.V.

Father John Palmer of the Clerics of St. Viator, and Professor Emeritus of Music at Benedictine University, is a native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He holds degrees from Acadia University, Nova Scotia; the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto; Northwestern University; and Trinity College of Music, London, England. Father Palmer has also studied with Jean Langlais in Paris. His piano studies were with Felicita Kalejs and Earle Moss.

He has given numerous lectures and masterclasses to the Illinois State Music Teachers Association. Topics covered have been interpretation and realization of ornaments in the clavier music of J.S. Bach; interpretation in the Romantic Period, specifically with the music of Chopin; and the Classical Period; examination of ornamentation and style in playing the music of Hayden; tips for judging at examination and competition.

Father Palmer continues his recital work and maintains a demanding private teaching schedule at Benedictine University and at his studio in the Fine Arts Building in Chicago. He is also a Senior Piano Examiner for the Royal Conservatory of Music examinations.



Sylvia Wang | piano

Sylvia Wang
Sylvia Wang
School of Music, Northwestern University
Associate Professor, Piano
DMusA, Eastman School of Music

Solo and collaborative performances throughout the Americas, Europe, and the Far East. Recordings of Debussy on Cadenza Classics, chamber music on Newport Classics and Boston Records, contemporary American music on Northeastern and CRI. Winner and finalist in various competitions, including Royal Overseas League Festival in London, AVANTI award leading to a debut in London's Purcell Room, Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competition, J.S. Bach International Piano Competition. Honorary Associate, Royal Academy of Music in London. Presented as guest teacher/panelist by organizations such as The Chautauqua Institution, United States Information Service, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Yamaha Music Malaysia. Students have won awards at the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, Union League Competition, Tokyo International Piano Duo Competition, Shostakovich Competition in St. Petersburg. Studied with David Burge at the Eastman School of Music and with Hamish Milne and Dennis Murdoch at the Royal Academy of Music as an Associated Board scholar.




Alison Dalton | violin

Alison Dalton
Alison Dalton began violin lessons at the age of five with her father and studied with the virtuosi William Primrose and Henri Temianka before her debut at twelve with the Utah Symphony under Maurice Abravanel. She went on to join the class of the great pedagogue Ivan Galamian at the Curits Institute of Music and receive her Master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music with Glenn Dicterow. As principal second violin of the Austrian Radio Orchestra in Vienna she toured extensively with the Klaring String Quartet and as a member of the avante garde chamber group Kontrapuktus.

Ms. Dalton made Chicago her home when invited by Sir George Solti to join the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and has enjoyed being a member of the first violin section for many years. She is a founding member of the Axis Ensemble and Westshorelands Preparatory Music School as well as being active as a soloist and as the mother of five young children. Her passions also include hiking and dance, and the study of bioethics and philosophy.



Russell Hershow | violin

Russell Hershow
A native of New York City, Russell Hershow took his first music lessons from his father, who was an amateur violinist. He went on to attend the Juilliard School and the Indiana University School of Music, graduating with a bachelor of music degree. He received private instruction from Josef Gingold and Yuval Yaron at Indiana University and Joseph Fuchs at Juilliard.

Russell participated in numerous music festivals and competitions before joining the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in 1987. In 1989, he played with the Pittsburgh Symphony for a short time before joining the Chicago Symphony Orchestra later that year — just in time to participate in the Orchestra's exciting sixth concert tour to Europe with Sir Georg Solti.

Russell pursues an active chamber music career in Chicago.



Yuan-Qing Yu | violin

Yuan-Qing Yu
Yuan-Qing Yu joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1995. A year later, Daniel Barenboim appointed her Assistant Concertmaster.

An international award-winning violinist, Yuan-Qing leads an active life in music as a soloist, chamber musician, teacher and advocate of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

A native of Shanghai, Yuan-Qing won the Chinese National Violin competition at age 17. The following year, she captured second prize at the world renowned Menuhin International Violin Competition in England. Yuan-Qing also took the third grand prize in the 50 th Jacques Thibaud International Competition in Paris, and a special prize for outstanding performance of the contemporary work written specifically for the competition.

Yuan-Qing has given critically acclaimed performances as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Radio France Philharmonic, and the London City Orchestra. In recitals, Yuan-Qing has performed at Weill Hall in New York 's Carnegie Hall, Ambassador Hall in LA, Casals Hall in Tokyo , the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam , the Salle Pleyel in Paris , and the Centre de Congre Auditorium in Monte Carlo , and locally on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series and the Norton Concert Series. Yuan-Qing has great enthusiasm for contemporary music. In 2002, she gave the Chicago premier of Maestro Pierre Boulez’s Anthèmes 2, she also performed this work on tour in Berlin with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The performances won high praises from both Maestro Boulez and the critics.

Yuan-Qing performs with a number of chamber music groups, giving more than twenty performances each year throughout the Chicago area. As a founding member of the Sebastian Quartet, she has performed on Live from Studio One and on the Rising Stars Series at Ravinia. Her performances have often been broadcasted by WFMT. Yuan-Qing has performed with Daniel Barenboim, Pinchas Zuckerman, Yo-Yo Ma and Menahem Pressler on the Winter Chamber Music Series at Northwestern University.

Yuan-Qing shares her love for the art of violin playing with students throughout Chicago. She teaches violin privately and as a professor at Northwestern University. She also serves on the faculty of Blue Mountain Summer Music Festival in Carlisle, PA.

As a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Yuan-Qing recognizes the importance of building patrons’ familiarity with the CSO and exposing young students to classical music. She has offered her services as a performer, teacher, and interviewee on the CSO Radiothon. She has donated her services to church and community music-education programs. She has also enjoyed performing in school concerts and CSO-sponsored events for patrons. Yuan-Qing is also a member of the Chicago Network, an organization that supports women leadership.

Her upcoming engagements include recitals and chamber music concerts in the Chicagoland.

Outside of music, Yuan-Qing and her husband, Ron Mui, enjoy time with their daughter Margaret and son Aaron.




Kenneth Olsen | cello

Kenneth Olsen
Kenneth Olsen joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as Assistant Principal Cello in 2005.

Mr. Olsen is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music and a winner of the Institute’s prestigious Concerto Competition. Other awards received by the 24-year-old cellist include first prize in the Nakamichi Cello Competition at the Aspen Music Festival and second prize at the 2002 Holland-America Music Society competition. Mr. Olsen’s teachers have included Richard Aaron, Cleveland Institute of Music; Joel Krosnick, Juilliard School of Music; and Luis Garcia Renart, Bard College. He has also been a participant at The Steans Institute for Young Artists, the Ravinia Festival’s professional studies program for young musicians, and Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute.

A native of New York, Mr. Olsen is a founding member of the East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO), a group of talented young musicians from orchestras and ensembles all over the country.



Brant Taylor | cello

Brant Taylor
Born in New York and raised in San Antonio, Brant Taylor began cello studies at the age of 8. His varied career has included solo appearances and collaborations with leading chamber musicians throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, as well as orchestral, pedagogical, and popular music activities.

After one year as a member of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Taylor was appointed to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra by Daniel Barenboim in 1998. In Chicago, Mr. Taylor has performed recitals for the Dame Myra Hess Concerts (live radio broadcasts), the First Monday concerts, Rush Hour Concerts at St. James, and the Ravinia Festival‘s Rising Stars recital series. He has also performed regularly with the renowned Chicago Chamber Musicians and appeared on the CSO’s contemporary music series, MusicNOW. Mr. Taylor performs frequently as a member of the Lincoln Quartet, a group formed 7 years ago with colleagues from the CSO. The Chicago Tribune wrote of one recent performance: “the lush expanses of melody seemed to have been written for Taylor, who brought a throbbing lyricism, incisive attack and idiomatic characterization to the cello part.”

From 1992-97, Mr. Taylor was cellist of the award-winning Everest Quartet, prizewinners at the 1995 Banff International String Quartet Competition. The Quartet performed and taught extensively in North America and the Caribbean, and gave the world premiere performance of a work by Israeli-American composer Paul Schoenfield. Mr. Taylor has also been a member of the Whitney Trio since 1994, an ensemble dedicated to bringing chamber music to audiences of all ages in rural areas across the U.S.

In 1997, Mr. Taylor was a member of the New World Symphony. He has returned to appear as soloist with that orchestra under the batons of Michael Tilson-Thomas and Nicholas McGegan, as well as to teach and participate in audition training seminars. Other solo appearances with orchestra include the San Antonio Symphony, Raleigh Symphony, Midland-Odessa Symphony, and Racine Symphony.

At home in the world of pop music, Mr. Taylor performs with the band Pink Martini. With this eclectic 11-member ensemble, he has appeared with the orchestras of Seattle, Rochester (NY), San Antonio, Utah, Milwaukee, Fort Worth, Kansas City, Austin, Jacksonville, Portland (OR), and Eugene (OR), in addition to performing 2 concerts at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in the summer of 2002.

Mr. Taylor is a frequent performer and teacher at music festivals, including the Festival der Zukunft in Ernen, Switzerland, the Portland Chamber Music Festival, the Shanghai International Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, the Mimir Chamber Music Festival, the Mammoth Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Music Festival Santo Domingo, Michigan's Village Bach Festival, and Music at Gretna in Pennsylvania, where he has made repeated appearances as a concerto soloist.

Active as a teacher of both cello and chamber music, Mr. Taylor serves on the faculties of DePaul University's School of Music and Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts. In addition, he is a faculty member at Northwestern University's National High School Music Institute, and has led classes on orchestral repertoire at the University of Michigan. Mr. Taylor holds a Bachelor of Music degree and a Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, where he won the school’s Concerto Competition and performed as soloist with the Eastman Philharmonia. His Master of Music degree is from Indiana University. Mr. Taylor’s primary teachers have been János Starker and Paul Katz.



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