Chung Wan Choi (“Chung”, preferred pronoun: she/her) is a creative musician with an engineering mind, who believes that innovation requires a strong foundation, active problem solving and perseverance. Chung is currently one of the two candidates of the MFA Piano Technology program of Florida State University, studying and training as a university piano technician. Chung also finds inspiration from everyday’s life; her widespread creativity includes music composition, sound engineering, taiko playing and piano technology. Moreover, Chung’s long term involvements in various backstage positions, such as orchestra librarian, live sound engineer and stagehand has gain her the abilities to run a production by herself.
Chung enjoys making specialty tools for piano maintenance, which have impressed numerous professionals including Peter Stumpf, who serves as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s piano technician. While piano maintenance might be boring to some, Chung is captivated by its technical challenges and creative possibilities. Because of her musical background, Chung is aspired to service pianos on the highest level and takes pride in being one of the important supporting members of a successful concert.
As well as making specialty tools, Chung has started an ongoing DIY Taiko project, creating a series of new designs of practice taiko (Japanese drum) which are effective, affordable and collapsible. Made with common construction materials, her designs aim to increase access to practice instruments for serious urban taiko learners and promoters such as herself. Chung has spent a year in a fellowship at the Taiko Center of the Pacific in Honolulu, where she studied the arts of traditional and contemporary taiko with the renowned taiko artist and composer, Kenny Endo. She also assisted in teaching taiko classes and created two new websites for his school.
As a conservatory trained composer, Chung is skilled in manipulating music to tell stories. She is one of the proud founders of CO-OPERA, a two-year project involving departments of Carnegie Mellon University and the Pittsburgh Opera to premiere five fully produced operas, including her sentimental chamber opera Last Night in The Hague, which tells a snippet of the young struggling Vincent van Gogh’s life. Other than the traditional genre, Chung also experimented in unconventional settings such as including sound engineering, amplified instruments, bicycle and taiko elements into her compositions.
Chung grew up in Hong Kong and has been residing in the United States since 2007. Chung commutes by bike all year round, and loves to treasure hunt in local thrift stores. Chung holds a Bachelor of Music degree in composition from Mannes College of Music, NY and a Masters of Music degree in composition from Carnegie Mellon University, PA.