Serving as an artist in residence at Weatherford College, pianist Hyeyoung Song is far from her childhood home in the bay area of South Korea. It was her early-discovered musical talent that has allowed her to share her talents across the globe.
Song was 8 years old when she took her first piano lesson. She picked up skills quickly and found the instrument enchanting.
“I still remember the first lesson so vividly,” Song said. “It was a magical moment for me. I believe every person has their own unique talent and can have that magic moment that will change their life. I was lucky that happened to me.”
It didn’t take long for Song to realize her future was set in the ivory keys. As a teen, Song was mesmerized by the power of music and the overall greatness of art. She felt that being a pianist was her way to make the world a better place. Teaching the piano was part of that calling as well.
“I have taught various students since I was young,” Song said. “Teaching has always been a passionate part of the piano, along with performing. While working as a teaching assistant at UT Austin, my teaching was recognized by the faculty and students. I think it was that period of time that my calling was confirmed.”
Song described, in depth, the joy she receives while playing the piano and the complex and demanding attributes of playing a musical instrument.
“Literally one’s whole being – intelligence, emotion and physical movement – should be involved simultaneously and constantly with the sound in one of the highest forms of art,” she said. “I enjoy every moment of being with the piano and learning new pieces. When I play, I fall in love with the wonderful masterworks by great composers in history. I feel as if I am time traveling and know these composers personally. My job is to make every note live again and translate the composer’s message to the audience who lives today.”
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As a mother of two young children, the most challenging part of the piano these days for Song is finding enough time to practice. While neither of her children have had any official piano lessons yet, music is an important part of their lives.
“They are always singing, conducting, improvising and having fun with music,” she said. “My 5-year-old son’s favorite instruments so far are the violin and trumpet, and my 1-year-old daughter’s is the handbell. I always dream that I will play with them in a duo or trio someday.”
Song is no stranger to sharing the piano. She often performs with fellow pianist and good friend Amy Gustafson as Duo Azuel. The duo performed at WC in the fall of 2014.
Song has performed concerts throughout the United States and Korea, and besides the Alkek Fine Arts Center at WC she said her favorite place to perform is New York City because of the energy and excitement of the big city.
“One of the reasons I perform is to be a better teacher, to learn more myself and to be a good model for my students,” Song said, “in that sense, teaching and playing are not that much different for me.”
Song has spent the past 10 years teaching at four different colleges including Weatherford College.
“I love WC and all the great people,” she said. “It has a great facility with the Alkek Fine Arts Center, a beautiful Steinway piano and the people are so supportive of me as a musician. WC is an excellent school in many ways, and I am proud to be a part of it.”
Song received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Ewha Woman’s University where she graduated with highest honors in piano performance, an artist diploma from Texas Christian University and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from the University of Texas at Austin.
She has won top prizes in several competitions including the Janice K. Hodges Contemporary Piano Competition, the International Chopin Piano Competition in Corpus Christi, the Sydney Wright Accompanying Competition and Ewha University Concerto Competition.
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