About

Keyboardist 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), “superb” playing (The Boston Globe), “utmost keyboard sensitivity and variety of tone” (Richmond Times-Dispatch), “remarkable technical ability” (The Oregonian), and “superb artistry” (San Antonio Express-News) for works “sensitively played” (The New York Times). Her versatility includes the distinction of being the first artist to release a harpsichord-piano recording of Bach’s Goldberg and Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, on the BRIOSO label. Other critically-acclaimed recordings on the same label include English music with violinist Karen Johnson, and a recording of German and Russian art songs with baritone Zheng Zhou.

Kong has performed to critical acclaim at numerous venues including the Los Angeles and Oregon Bach Festivals, Abbey Bach Festival, Bach Aria Festival, Texas Bach Collegium, Houston Harpsichord Recital Series, 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, National Gallery of Art Concert Series, Strathmore Hall’s “Music in the Mansion” series, Columbia University, Harvard University, the Conservatorio di Verona “Evaristo Felice Dall’Abaco” in Italy, and orchestral performances under William McGlaughlin, Myung-Whun Chung, Alberto Bolet, Steven Smith, Samuel Baron, George Manahan, Alexander Kordzaia, Eckart Preu, John Sinclair, Mark Russell Smith, David Commanday, Wes Kenney, Daniel Long, Gil Rose and Alex Pauk. A gifted collaborator, she has performed with numerous artists including the Shanghai String Quartet, flutist Eugenia Zukerman, cellist James Wilson, viola da gambist Lisa Terry, violinist Karen Johnson, soprano Ying Huang, pianist Paul Hanson, baritones James Weaver and Zheng Zhou, and has been master class pianist for James Buswell, Timothy Eddy, Robert Bloom, David Shifrin, Alice Schoenfeld, Eleonore Schoenfeld, Harvey Pittel, Gwendolyn Koldofsky, Arleen Augér, Phyllis Bryn-Julson, Lucy Shelton, Jennifer Larmore, Thomas Hampson, William Ferguson, Roberta Alexander, Roberta Peters, Dawn Upshaw, Amanda Pabyan, and Gian Carlo Menotti. She has presented master classes around the country, including New York University’s prestigious Piano Artist Master Class Series.

An acknowledged Bach specialist, Kong twice received performance fellowships to the Bach Aria Festival and Institute held in Stony Brook, New York, and is regular guest keyboardist for the Winter Park Bach Festival in Florida, where she recently performed in the St. Matthew Passion conducted by eminent Bach scholar Christoph Wolff. Her performances of the Well-Tempered Clavier and Goldberg Variations have received wide acclaim. John Crossett of Soundstage.com wrote: “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 regularly performs in a duo with viola da gamba soloist Lisa Terry, and they received critical praise for their performances of Bach’s three viola da gamba sonatas during the 2011-2012 season.

Of particular note, Kong gave the world premiere of Pulitzer Prize – winning composer Michael Colgrass’s Side by Side, the first concerto written for a soloist in the dual role of pianist and harpsichordist. The work was performed by Toronto’s Esprit Orchestra (2007), the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (2007), and the Richmond Symphony (2010). Kong’s large repertoire of contemporary music includes solo, chamber and orchestral works of Olivier Messiaen, György 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, Robert Linn, and many others. Other recent performances of contemporary music include collaborations with members of two-time Grammy Award-winning ensemble eighth blackbird, as well as nation-wide performances in 2008 to celebrate the centennials of Olivier Messiaen and Elliott Carter. She has also been a guest artist and coach in the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice, held at New England Conservatory.

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’s Performance Today, WQXR in New York, WFMT in Chicago, CKWR in Ontario, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She is in frequent demand as a coach for piano, harpsichord, vocal and chamber music, and has been recognized for her exceptional work with gifted young musicians. Kong is currently the Director of Accompaniment and coordinator of chamber music ensembles 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.