This preview has been provided by the Eastern Music Festival.

The student winners of the EMF Concerto Competition take to the stage to perform their winning repertoire. After intermission, conductor Thomas Hong leads the orchestra in works by Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky.

Thomas Hong is presently the assistant conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Previously, he was assistant conductor of Orchestre National de France and also associate conductor of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. As assistant conductor of Orchestre National de France, Mr. Hong has participated in various tours all over Europe, including most recently a momentous occasion where Maestro Kurt Masur performed the complete Beethoven symphonies in Frankfurt and Baden-baden. As associate conductor of Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Hong is in charge of programming and conducting all educational and outreach concerts, including four performances as part of Carnegie Hall’s LinkUp! music education program, serving all fourth grade students in the Fort Worth Independent School District. Other appointments in the past include assistant conductor of The Curtis Opera Theatre, visiting assistant professor at Haverford College and music director of Delaware County Youth Orchestra as well as First Korean Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, where he served as organist and choir director for many years.

Orchestras that Mr. Hong has conducted in the past include Spokane, Richmond, Winnepeg Symphony Orchestras as well as the Seoul, Buffalo and Lutoslawski Philharmonic Orchestras. Among his operatic and vocal performances are Copland’s The Tenderland, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde and Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress. His most recent operatic production was Donizetti’s L’exisir d’Amore at the Wortham Opera Theatre in Houston. Awards that he has received in the past include the Leopold Stokowski Fellowship and the Whitaker Fund for Opera. Most recently, he was awarded the fellowship by the Brahms society of Baden-Baden offering residency for several weeks in the studio of Brahms’ only remaining summer home in Germany.

As an educator, Mr. Hong was on the faculty of The Shepherd School Pre-College at Rice University, teaching piano to young students. He was also a part of the Just for U Music Program (JUMP!) at the university, dialoging and interacting with children as well as performing for them. In 2006, he was an integral part of forming a new musical organization, working closely with the executive and artistic directors as the founding conductor. Based in Greenwich, Connecticut, Youth Symphony for United Nations or YSUN’s guiding principle continues to be ‘a gathering of sound for world peace.’

Thomas was born in Incheon, Korea and immigrated to the United States with his family in 1978. He began his musical training at the age of 15 on the piano and continued his studies with Dr. Samuel Hsu at Philadelphia Biblical University. Later, he went on to earn a master degree in choral conducting at Temple University and an artist diploma in orchestral conducting from The Curtis Institute of Music, studying with Maestro Otto Werner Mueller. He concluded his artistic training with Maestro Larry Rachleff at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.

The Eastern Music Festival’s mission is to promote musical enrichment, excellence, professional collaboration, innovation, and diversity through a nationally-recognized teaching program, music festival, concerts, and other programs which will enhance the quality of life, health, and vitality of our region. The Eastern Music Festival and School, founded in 1961 in Greensboro, North Carolina by Sheldon Morgenstern, is an internationally-renowned classical music festival and institute for young musicians that runs for five weeks each summer. The institute accepts students ages 14 through 22 from around the country and the world. The EMF faculty consists of world-class performing artists selected from top orchestras and music schools nationally and internationally.  Led by music director Gerard Schwarz, the Eastern Music Festival and School celebrates its 51st season in 2012.