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Music to our Ears

A look into Columbia's local artist Jung-hoon Park

Award-winning pianist and teacher Jung-hoon Park grew up as the “weird one” in the family as no one else played music. After immigrating to the United States from South Korea when he was twelve, Park struggled with being an extrovert trapped in an introvert’s body. The 2002 film, The Pianist, showed Park that music was a transcendental art, bypassing language itself in order to communicate. Enamored by the way music depicts emotion, he realized it was a form of communication that overlooked origin or cultural borders. 

Park teaches music at Ellicott City Music and Arts and Glenelg Country School, as well as serving as a traveling teacher at various private schools throughout the state. Park attended Mount Hebron High School and UMBC (University of Maryland Baltimore County) studying English and Music. With a daily playlist of over 100 classical and jazz artists, Park not only appreciates the music but listens for new techniques to learn from. He says it is best to keep your mind open to the possibilities and learn from other masters. 

One learning experience Jung-hoon recounted started with an invitation to a competition in Connecticut. He drove 8 hours and took a 1 hour nap before he performed, being both physically and mentally unprepared. Although he received an honorable mention, he likes to remind himself of that performance in order to be better in the future. Park is a big believer in the “best is yet to come” in terms of performance.

In April, Park gave a concert where he performed at a church with no physical audience. He streamed his performance through YouTube, as a thank you to Patrons who have supported him throughout the pandemic. With nothing but him and the piano, Park said it was the scariest and most fulfilling performance of his life. 

As he looks forward to the future, Park wants to perform more online concerts and provide opportunities for others to witness the beauty of music online. He is considering traveling with his keyboard and playing requests in public spaces as well as performing local music for churches and nursing homes.  It brings him joy to help those who need a smile to go forward.