A soprano of “fearlessness and consummate artistry” (Opera News), Ah Young Hong has interpreted a vast array of repertoire, ranging from the music of Monteverdi, Bach, Mozart, and Poulenc, to works of Shostakovich, Babbitt, Haas, and Kurtág. Widely recognized for her work in Michael Hersch’s monodrama, On the Threshold of Winter, The New York Times praised Hong’s performance in the world premiere as “the opera’s blazing, lone star.” In a recent production directed by the soprano, The Chicago Tribune called her “absolutely riveting,” and the Chicago Classical Review noted the soprano’s “fearless presence, wielding her unamplified, bell-like voice like a weaponized instrument. Hong delivered a tour de force vocal performance in this almost unfathomably difficult music-attacking the dizzying high notes with surprising power, racing through the rapid-fire desperation of agitated sections, and bringing a numbed, toneless sprechstimme and contralto-like darkness to the low tessitura.” Other operatic performances by Hong include the title role in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, Morgana in Handel’s Alcina, Gilda in Verdi’s Rigoletto, Fortuna and Minerva in Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, and Asteria in Handel’s Tamerlano. She has also appeared with Opera Lafayette in Rebel and Francoeur’s Zélindor, roi des Sylphes at the Rose Theater in Lincoln Center and as La Musique in Charpentier’s Les Arts Florissants at the Kennedy Center. At the 2020 Wien Modern Festival, Hong has been engaged to sing the lead role in the world premiere of Michael Hersch’s POPPAEA.
In high demand as a concert and chamber soloist, Hong has performed with Mahler Chamber Orchestra, FLUX Quartet, Konzerthaus Berlin’s ensemble-in-residence, Ensemble unitedberlin, the acclaimed Netherland-based contemporary music group Ensemble Klang, The Daedalus Quartet, Wiener KammerOrchester, Phoenix Symphony, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, Concert Artists of Baltimore, and Tempesta di Mare, amongst others. In summer of 2018, she gave her Ojai Festival debut with violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja in György Kurtág’s complete Kafka Fragments. Hong also appeared as soloist during the 2018 Aldeburgh Music Festival and on the CalPerformances series in Berkeley. Alex Ross from The New Yorker praised her performances as “commanding” and “transfixing.”
Hong has collaborated with Ensemble Dal Niente in Chicago and the NOVA Chamber Music series in Salt Lake City as both soprano and director in a new production of Michael Hersch’s On the Threshold of Winter. This production has also been presented at the Corcoran New Music Festival, Washington DC. In 2019-2020, she will be championing the role once again with Cantata Profana in New York City at Brooklyn’s Irondale. Hong will also return to Kurtág’s Kafka Fragments with violinists Jacob Ashworth at Spectrum NYC, Hirono Oka with Network for New music in Philadelphia, and with Patricia Kopatchinskaja on the Seattle Symphony Orchestra’s chamber series. The season also includes a residency at Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music performing with pianists Mark Wait, Jacob Rhodebeck, and violinist Carolyn Huebl. In early 2020, Hong joins forces with Kopatchinskaja, clarinetist Reto Bieri and Camerata Bern in Switzerland to premiere Michael Hersch’s Agatha. She will perform Nørgård’s Nova Genitura and Seadrift and Bach’s Kantate 82a Ich habe genug with earspace. She concludes the concert season with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 under the baton of Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
A prolific recording artist, Hong recorded the American premiere of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Alles mit Gott und nichts ohn’ ihn, BWV 1127, for National Public Radio’s Performance Today. Other recordings include the world premiere of Rebel and Francoeur’s Zélindor, roi des Sylphes (Naxos), Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater (Peter Lee Music), and Sentirete una Canzonetta with Harmonious Blacksmith. Hong is also a featured soloist in Ensemble Klang’s recording of Michael Hersch’s cortex and ankle. Early 2018 saw the commercial release of her debut solo CD on Innova Recordings, the recording featuring Milton Babbitt’s Philomel and Michael Hersch’s a breath upwards. Upcoming recordings include Kurtág’s Kafka Fragments with Patricia Kopatchinskaja on the New Focus label, and a program featuring the music of Georg Friedrich Haas.
Hong currently serves as faculty on the voice department at the Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University.