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Ji-Hyang Gwak

Adjunct Faculty, Piano


College of Arts and Sciences: Music


Email: Ji-Hyang Gwak
FH 461
Website: Visit Site


  • S.M., Piano Performance, University of Michigan
  • DMA, Piano Performance, University of Michigan
  • M.M., Piano Performance and Literature, Eastman School of Music
  • B.M., Piano Performance, Seoul National University


A prizewinner of numerous competitions, pianist Ji-Hyang Gwak has garnered international praise for her versatility, energy and technical mastery. As a performing solo artist, chamber musician and pedagogue, she's made appearances across the United States, in Czech, England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan and Korea. Gwak was the top prize winner of the Sicily International Piano Competition, Seattle International Piano Competition, Franz Liszt International Piano Competition – Ohio, High Point University Piano Competition and the Michigan MTNA Young Artist Piano Competition. Her most recent achievement was in the 2021 Lyon International Music Competition in France, where she won third prize and received concert engagement from the Association Frédéric Chopin à Lyon. She also received awards in numerous competitions, such as the 39th Joongang Music Concours, Korea-Germany Brahms Associations Concours, and was a semifinalist at the Concours musical international de Montréal, Seoul International Piano Competition, the Olga Kern International Piano Competition and the Ricard Viñes International Piano Competition. She was selected to participate in summer festivals, including the CCM Prague Festival in Czech, the Sicily Piano Festival in Italy, UFIPF (University of Florida International Piano Festival) in Gainesville, Fla., and PianoTexas in Fort Worth, Texas.

She has performed in concerts and recitals at various venues: Yamaha Salon in New York, Salle Molière in France, Palffy Palace in Prague, PepsiCo Recital Hall in Fort Worth, Texas, Benaroya Hall in Seattle, Chiostro di Campitelli al Teatro di Marcello, Sala Sciabica, Palazzo Spadaro, and Museo Diocesano in Italy, Mozart Hall, Sejong Chamber Hall, and Jungam Art Hall in Korea, Hill Auditorium, Kerrytown Concert House, The Heritage Museum and Cultural Center in Michigan, Coastal Carolina University, University of Florida, University of Indianapolis, Concordia College in Minnesota and the Ohio State University, among many others. Gwak made her orchestral debut at 15 with the Bucheon Chamber Orchestra at Jancheon Art Hall in Seoul. In 2014, she was the winner of the Eastman School of Music Concerto Competition, allowing her to perform Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Eastman Philharmonia under the baton of Maestro Neil Varon in the historical concert venue, 2400 seats Kodak Hall, Rochester. She has also appeared as a soloist with Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra at Hill Auditorium and Dexter Community Orchestra at Dexter Center for the Performing Arts. 

Gwak holds a Bachelor of Music in piano performance, summa cum laude, from Seoul National University and a Master of Music in piano performance and literature from Eastman School of Music. Her teacher includes Kyungrok Park, Jinson Kim, Prof. Hie-Yon Choi, and Prof. Natalya Antonova. She earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance and recently completed her Specialist degree in 2022 at the University of Michigan under the tutelage of Prof. Christopher Harding, with the Earl V. Moore Award, the School of Music · Theatre and Dance department's top graduation honor.

​She is deeply passionate about sharing the joy of classical music and is especially interested in promoting classical music in the digital age, which led her to give performances in community venues and schools to seek new audiences. 

Professional activities

  • American Liszt Society (board member)
  • MTNA