Ji Hye Jung on Minoro Miki’s “Time for Marimba”

As performers, we are constantly evolving in our musical perspective. Musical compositions that we may have played as students take on a fresh new interpretation when performed many years later.

Keith Aleo caught up with Ji Hye Jung, Associate Professor of Percussion at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music to talk about her recent performance of Minoro Miki’s “Time for Marimba,” a standard in the solo marimba repetoire. Ji Hye talks about her love of the piece, the unique techniques and musical challenges and how her approach has changed since she performed the piece as a student.

including a full performance of “Time for Marimba”


Percussionist Ji Hye Jung has been praised as “spectacular” by the Los Angeles Times and “extraordinary” by the Ventura County Star, with the Times further describing her as “a centered player who can give the impression of being very still yet at all places at once.”

Jung began concertizing in her native South Korea at the age of 9, going on to perform more than 100 concerts, including solo appearances with every major orchestra in Korea. Soon after coming to the United States in 2004, Jung garnered consecutive first prizes at the 2006 Linz International Marimba Competition and the 2007 Yale Gordon Concerto Competition.

With percussion repertoire still in its formative stages, Jung feels strongly about collaborating with composers to further the creation of a new voice for the art form. She has commissioned and premiered works by Kevin Puts, Emma O’Halloran, Annika Scolofsky, Bora Yoon, Molly Herron, Christopher Theofanidis, Alehandro Viñao, Lukas Ligeti, Paul Lansky, Jason Treuting, David Bruce, Huang Ruo, and John Serry. In 2013, she made the premiere recording of Michael Torke’s marimba concerto Mojave, and in 2014 recorded Phillip Glass’ Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra for the Naxos label.

Jung frequently performs with many of today’s most important conductors and instrumentalists. For ten years she has served as principal percussionist with West Coast chamber ensemble Camerata Pacifica, with whom she has premiered works by Bright Sheng and Huang Ruo. As a member of the Percussion Collective Ms. Jung has been featured with the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, The Louisville Orchestra, the Aspen Music Festival Orchestra and the Curtis Symphony Orchestra. She has also recorded Stravinsky’s Les Noces with JoAnn Falletta at the Virginia Arts Festival, performed as soloist with David Robertson conducting an all-Messiaen program at Carnegie Hall. Ms Jung made her American concerto debut in 2005 with the Houston Symphony under the baton of Hans Graf.

Other performance credits include appearances at the Ligeti Symposium in Helsinki, Finland, Portugal’s Tomarimbando Festival, New Music Indaba in South Africa, the West Cork Chamber Music Festival in Ireland, The Intimacy of Creativity in Hong Kong, the Grand Teton Music Festival, Germany’s Schleswig-Holstein Festival, the Cortona Sessions for New Music in Italy, and the Grachtenfestival in Holland.

In 2015, Jung was named Associate Professor of Percussion at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. She previously served as Associate Professor of Percussion at the University of Kansas for six years. An active educator and clinician, Jung has presented master classes at the Curtis Institute, the Peabody Conservatory, Rice University, Beijing’s Central Conservatory, and the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice, Poland.

Jung completed a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, both under the tutelage of Robert van Sice. As an artist endorser, she proudly represents Pearl/Adams instruments, Vic Firth sticks and mallets, and Zildjian cymbals.




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