You meet all kinds of people at music conventions and you never know where your conversations will lead. In fact it was fifteen years ago that I met organist and Lutheran pastor, Karl Bachman, at a national conference of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians in Richmond, VA. That was in July 2000. Just a few months later, he came to visit Hawaii, and by November 2000, he had moved here!
If you recall by my post about the American Guild of Organists regional convention (St. John’s Lutheran, Bakersfield) CA, it was where I first heard the concert by Hyunju Hwang and jazz percussionist Tsugumi Shikano and was completely blown away at the unique combination of instruments and the performers’ virtuosity. A day later, I had gotten on the convention bus to go to another concert venue, and I spotted Hyunju sitting in an adjacent seat. I got up my courage to speak to her and told her how much I admired her performance. A few minutes of conversation later, we found out that we had so many things in common — that we had both attended Westminster Choir College and the University of Southern California — but of course, decades apart.
So I spoke to the local Executive Board of the AGO, and now our dreams have come true. Hyunju is staying in my guest bedroom in preparation for her concert with Tsugumi on Sunday, March 22nd at 2:00 pm at Central Union Church! And guess who picked her up at the airport — Karl Bachman!
Here’s her bio:
Dr. Hyunju Hwang was born in Seoul, Korea. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Organ Performance from Yonsei University in Seoul where she studied with Myoung-Ja Cho. Following graduation, she moved to Princeton, NJ to study with Stefan Engels at the Westminster Choir College, receiving her Master’s degree with a full scholarship . Dr. Hwang relocated to Cleveland, OH to study with Todd Wilson at the Cleveland Institute of Music where she received her Artist Diploma and Henry Fosner Award. She completed a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ performance from the Flora L. Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California on full scholarship, studying with Dr. Ladd Thomas and Cherry Rhodes. Dr. Hwang has also participated in master classes with Ewald Kooiman, Ludger Lohmann, Massino Nosetti, Wolfgang Zerer, Piet Kee, Jean Boyer, Olivier Latry, and Jean Guillou.
Dr. Hwang has won first prize in the John Finley Williams Organ Competition in the U.S. and was a semifinalist in the St. Maurice International Organ Competition in Switzerland and the St. Albans International Organ Competition in England. Her versatility on keyboard has also won the Greenberg Harpsichord Award from the Early Music Society in San Francisco.
She was a concert artist at the Treviso International Organ Festival in Italy and the Regional Convention of American Guild of Organists in 2013. Currently the Associate Director of Music and Principal Organist at Blessed Sacrament Church in Hollywood, CA, Dr. Hwang has taught organ at Shepherd University in Los Angeles and Bethesda University in Anaheim. She is also a collaborative artist for the choral ensembles at the University of Redlands, CA. She is on the board of the Long Beach Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
Dr. Hwang will team up with Tsugumi Shikano for a unique event for organ and percussion for the Tenth Annual Organ Concert, Sunday, March 22, 2015 at 2:00 PM, Central Union Church, 1660 S. Beretania Street. Admission is free; donations will be welcomed.