Pianist and harpsichordist Joanne Kong captures the attention of audiences in compelling performances that celebrate the vibrancy and eloquence of musical expression. Embracing a broad range of repertoire from Baroque to contemporary music, her performances have been praised for "great finesse and flexibility" (The Washington Post), "utmost keyboard sensitivity and variety of tone" (Richmond Times-Dispatch), "remarkable technical ability" (The Oregonian), and "superb artistry" (San Antonio Express-News). Tonight's performance marks the US premiere of Michael Colgrass's Side by Side, the first concerto to be written that features a soloist in a dual role as both pianist and harpsichordist.
Kong's large repertoire of contemporary music includes solo, chamber and orchestral works of Olivier Messiaen, Gyorgy Ligeti, Oliver Knussen, Elliott Carter, John Cage, Arvo Pärt, William Bolcom, John Corigliano, Chou Wen-Chung, Gunther Schuller, Joan Tower, Vivian Fine, Margaret Brouwer, Lester Trimble, Joel Feigin, Joseph Baber, Daniel Perlongo, Allan Blank, and Robert Linn. Upcoming performances include Bartók's Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion with pianist Paul Hanson, timpanist Ray Breakall and Matthew Duvall, percussionist of eighth blackbird, and performances in 2008 to celebrate the 100th birthdays of Olivier Messiaen and Elliott Carter.
An acknowledged Bach specialist, Kong has performed for the Los Angeles Bach Festival, Oregon Bach Festival, Abbey Bach Festival, Texas Bach Collegium, Houston Harpsichord Recital Series, and twice was a fellowship performer at the Bach Aria Festival and Institute held in Stony Brook, New York. This coming February she will be guest solo and orchestral harpsichordist for the Winter Park Bach Festival in Florida. Her performances of the Well-Tempered Clavier and Goldberg Variations have received critical acclaim. John Crossett of Soundstage.com writes: "It takes an artist with a great deal of self-confidence, not to mention talent, to undertake recording another version of Bach's Goldberg Variations. Joanne Kong's recording of the work on harpsichord helps to give it a more historically accurate perspective, and her ability at the keyboard offers reason for contemplating its addition to your collection....If you're looking for an alternative to the Gould recordings, this one should head toward the top of your audition list." Kong's other recordings on the Brioso label include Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, English music with Richmond Symphony concertmaster Karen Johnson, and a recording of German and Russian art songs with baritone Zheng Zhou.
Other performance venues have included the Memphis Chamber Music Society, Stotsenberg Concert Series, San Antonio Festival, Los Angeles Monday Evening Concert Series, Virginia Waterfront International Festival of the Arts, the Royal Netherlands Embassy, Columbia University, Harvard University, and orchestral performances under William McGlaughlin, Myung-Whun Chung, Alberto Bolet, Samuel Baron, George Manahan, Alexander Kordzaia, Eckart Preu and Mark Russell Smith. A gifted collaborator, she has performed with the Shanghai String Quartet, Eugenia Zukerman, cellist James Wilson, soprano Ying Huang, baritones James Weaver and Zheng Zhou, and has been master class pianist for James Buswell, Timothy Eddy, Robert Bloom, David Shifrin, Harvey Pittel, Gwendolyn Koldofsky, Arleen Augér, Phyllis Bryn-Julson, Lucy Shelton, Roberta Alexander, Will Ferguson, Roberta Peters, Dawn Upshaw, and Gian Carlo Menotti.
A native of Southern California, Kong is the recipient of national and international honors including performance fellowships from the American Academy of the Arts in Europe and the Bach Aria Festival, designation as a Laureate in the 1983 National Beethoven Foundation Fellowship Auditions, three Ruth Lorraine Close Fellowships, and the Irl Allison Grand Prize in the 1985 International Piano Recording Competition. In addition to concertizing, her performances have been broadcast over numerous radio stations including National Public Radio, WQXR in New York and WFMT in Chicago. She is in frequent demand as a piano, harpsichord, vocal and chamber coach, and has been recognized for her exceptional work with gifted young musicians. Dr. Kong is currently the director of the accompanying and chamber music programs at the University of Richmond. A graduate of the University of Southern California and University of Oregon, she has studied with Joanna Hodges, Malcolm Hamilton and Victor Steinhardt, and performed in the master classes of Leon Fleisher and Lorin Hollander.
Joanne Kong is represented by Marilyn Gilbert Artists Management