Judy Kang is distinctly recognized for her individuality and unique career as a violinist and established soloist and chamber musician in the classical world as well as in the world of pop, indie, jazz, and hip hop music. To attempt to define or fit Judy Kang into a conventional mold, would be to defy an artist born with a multi dimensional gift. Her constantly evolving and non conventional artistry has not only established her as a forerunner and pioneer of this generation of violinists, but as a multi faceted artist in the art of production, visuals, arrangement, composition, and teaching. She explores the use of other instruments as well as through vocals. She has recently leaped even more boundaries through completing her first self titled album, which she wrote, produced, and recorded, released worldwide March 5, 2013. In it, she explores a multi instrumental sonic template through the violin as well as through vocals, keys, synths, guitar, lyrics, rhythms, beats, noise, and everything in between. Dubbed by critics as "Grimes with a Stradivarius", the record has already received praise and accolades from the press and artists alike describing it as, "diverse, unbelievably beautiful, and eclectic". Having achieved pop culture status as "Lady Gaga's violinist/nurse Judy", she was personally selected by the iconic pop sensation to be her solo violinist on the "MonsterBall" world tour in 2010-11, the biggest selling debut tour in history, performing for millions worldwide in sold out shows. In the midst of touring Europe, Judy flew to NYC for less than 30 hrs to perform as soloist at Stern Hall at Carnegie Hall. The New York Times wrote, "Judy Kang, a Canadian violinist and most likely the only musician to have worked with both Pierre Boulez and Lady Gaga, was featured in Brahms’s Violin Concerto. Ms Kang, who drew whoops from the audience before playing a single note, offered a lean, focused sound, pinpoint intonation and expressively molded phrasing. Every line seemed to mean something personal in what amounted to an amorous serenade."
Born and raised in Canada to a single mother, Judy's unusual gift for music was recognized immediately when she picked up the violin at the age of four. Seemingly destined to become a violinist from a dream her grandmother had of a vision of a baby girl holding a violin, the night before she was born, Judy instantly learned and memorized a piece at her first lesson. She was performing solo recitals and winning competitions in her first year of playing. Judy was 6 years old when she made her solo debut with an orchestra and at age ten, she burst onto the classical music scene in a nationally acclaimed televised performance as soloist with the National Arts Center Orchestra. The Ottawa Citizen enthusiastically stated, "If there was a star tonight, it was Judy Kang. Blessed with a gift for the violin that is exceptional, she moves about the instrument at her disposal with an ease that is awe-inspiring." A year later, she auditioned to the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, with a fractured wrist (from a volleyball game), and was accepted to study there on full scholarship. At 17, she graduated with a Bachelor in Music as the youngest graduate in its history. Upon graduation, she captured the Grand-Prize as well as the "Best Interpretation” prize at the CBC Competition for Young Performers, Canada's most honoured competition. At the age of 19, Judy was granted the Lily Foldes Scholarship from the Juilliard School, and graduated with a Masters Degree. She became the first graduate, with high honours, of the prestigious Artist Diploma at the Manhattan School of Music, which holds the distinction of the highest level of education, significantly above all other programs.
Since her first solo appearance at age 4 in her native Edmonton, Canada, she has since toured 6 continents across North and South America, Europe, the Soviet Union, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and the Carribean Islands. She has performed with all the major orchestras and ensembles of Canada and those of the US, Europe, and Asia and has performed in recital and chamber music to diverse audiences in prestigious venues including Tokyo Suntory Hall, Tokyo Opera City Hall, Akasaka ACT Theatre, Osaka Symphony Hall, Wigmore Hall, Glenn Gould Hall, Lincoln Center, Town Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Sejong Cultural Center, Seoul Arts Center, Schubert Hall in Vienna, the National Arts Center as well as at the Metropolitan and Guggenheim Museums in New York among others. She made her debut to a sold-out audience in Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall to critical acclaim.
A member of the acoustic trio of Academy award winning film composer
and pioneer of electronic music, Ryuichi Sakamoto, they have toured Europe and Asia in sold out shows and have released 2 albums entitled "three", and "the best of THREE live" to critical acclaim. Judy produces and writes music for diverse artists and recently co-wrote, produced, and arranged a song for singer/songwriter Antoniette Costa consisting solely of vocals, violin, and drums. Their music video garnered over 65,000 views in the first 48 hrs it went live. A founding member of the piano quartet 'Made In Canada', formed at the Banff Center in 2006, the group immediately earned recognition in their native Canada and have received scholarships and awards including the eminent 2006 Galaxie Rising Stars Award. They were featured in Chatelaine Magazine for Women as one of 80 women to watch. Judy is a member of F.I.RE (FutureInREverse), a project directed by composer Huang Ruo which explores 'sounds of the future' through the use of traditional classical and folk instruments as well as electronic machines.
Judy frequently collaborates with living composers and has worked closely with notable composers, Leon Kirchner, Richard Danielpour, Alexander Goehr, and Pierre Boulez. Of her acclaimed performance and collaboration with Pierre Boulez and IRCAM, The New York times wrote, "violinist Judy Kang, who played with assurance and imagination, became the wizardly master of an entire sound environment." Having been exposed to all kinds of music from an early age, Judy continues to broaden her scope and break through the limits of traditional boundaries collaborating and often times performing spontaneously on stage with diverse musicians and bands including that of her own 'The Simple Machines'', for which she writes and produces music as well. She is also well versed in the New York club scene having played to sold out audiences in venues such as Le Poisson Rouge, The Bitter End, The Delancey, Irving Plaza, Mercury Lounge, and Bowery Ballroom, among others. She has collaborated with artists such as Lenny Kravitz, Susan Enan, Nsync (at the VMA's), hiphop artists Lil J, Marcuz Paulk, and Hazel-E, as well as with band Portugal. The Man. She appeared on the Emmy nominated and award winning HBO special Lady Gaga Presents: The MonsterBall World Tour Live from Madison Square Garden. Judy was featured alongside Lady Gaga on American Idol playing the violin solo of Lady Gaga's hit single, "Alejandro."
She has performed for numerous diplomats and leaders including former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and former US president Bill Clinton. Judy has collaborated extensively with distinguished members of the Guarneri and Emerson Quartets, Beaux Arts Trio, as well as artists such as Claude Frank, Miriam Fried, David Geringas, Gary Hoffmann, Lynn Harell, Cho-Liang Lin, Kyung-Wha Chung, Leon Fleisher, Richard Goode, Bruno Canino, Barry Douglas, Eugenia Zuckerman, David Soyer, Marcy Rosen, Warren Jones, Isidore Cohen, Peter Wiley, Sigfried Palm, Chee-Yun, Samuel Rhodes, Felix Galimir, Samuel Wong, Bramwell Tovey, Nurhan Arman, Jean-Francois Rivest, Yoav Talmi, Nance Geum, Mario Bernardi, and Boris Brott. She has performed at major festivals as Marlboro, Ravinia, Bargemusic, Manchester, Aspen, Evian, Banff, Orford, Ste. Petronille, the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, the Pablo Casals Festival, Lenaudiere International Festival, the 'Focus’ Festival in New York, and has performed and given master classes at the 'Sean Jackson and Friends Festival’ for the development of classical music in Barbados. Judy is featured as one of three chamber groups from a live performance on tour with 'Musicians from Marlboro' on their 60th anniversary CD "Live from Marlboro".
Judy performed in a special concert celebrating the inauguration of the Korean-American Jewish-American Forum (KAJA). As a member of the renowned ensemble Sejong, she toured Asia and America and was presented as soloist and concert-master with Sejong in performances across the US, Korea, the UK, France and at the launching of the Great Mountains Festival and School in Korea, where she also coached chamber music each summer.
Her mentors include Sylvia Rosenberg, Robert Mann, Lorand Fenyves, Aaron Rosand, Felix Galimir, Gary Graffman, Henry Meyer, James Keene, and Yoko Wong. She won many competitions locally, nationally and internationally such as the Grand-Prize of the Canadian Music Competition several years in a row, and top prizes at the Nielsen, Dong-A, Kreisler, and Naumburg International Violin Competitions.
Judy has been the subject of newspaper and magazine articles and has appeared on CBC, CNN, and MTV. She has released two critically acclaimed CDs on the CBC Records label, which have been nominated for awards such as the Opus award and the Gemini in her native Canada. She is also frequently heard live and through broadcasts on national and international radio such as CBC (Canada), BBC (London), and on WQXR (New York). Judy is forever thankful to have received numerous and continuous support through scholarships and grants from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Winspear Foundation, the Anne Burrows Foundation for Young Musicians, and the Canada Council for the Arts, among others. She won the 'Sylva Gelber' Prize given to the most talented musician under 30. In recognition of her outstanding achievement and contribution to the arts, Judy is featured as an accomplished artist and inspiration in a book entitled Korea and Canada: A Shared History.
She is strongly motivated and devoted to taking part in benefits to support causes and visits public schools, daycare, hospitals, and nursing homes through music outreach. Judy is a mentor and artist for Young Audiences (YA), the nation's largest nonprofit arts in education organization. She is also artistic director and a member of EnoB, since it's inception in 2006 and is an artist and ambassador for WorldVision. The sole artist to be awarded the longest use of an instrument from the Canada Council Instrument Bank, Judy has been awarded the 1689 "Baumgartner" Stradivarius, through a generous donor.
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