The South Korean-born American soprano, Hyunah Yu, received a degree in molecular biology from the University of Texas, Austin, and was successfully pursuing a career in molecular biology. Her professional career in music came relatively late – after the tragic death of her husband just two years after they were married. He was the victim of America’s first fatal car-jacking. This tragedy demanded that her deep-felt love of music called her to a career as a singer. She studied voice at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore earning a Master of Music and an Artist Diploma.
Hyunah Yu first gained recognition in 1999 as a soloist in St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) with the New England Bach Festival. She was a prize-winner in the 1999 Walter W. Naumburg International Competition and a finalist in the Dutch International Vocal Competition and the Concert Artist Guild International Competition in New York. At the 2000 Marlboro Music Festival in the USA, Hyunah Yu was discovered by the eminent pianist Mitsuko Uchida, who has supported and encouraged her since. In 2003 she was nominated by Uchida and awarded a Fellowship by the Borletti-Buitoni Trust.
Hyunah Yu made her successful New York City recital debut in 2004 at Carnegie Hall. Her recent engagements include Arnold Schoenberg‘s String Quartet, No. 2 and J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion (BWV 245) at the Marlboro Music Festival; the Mass in B minor (BWV 232), Magnificat (BWV 243); solo cantatas at the New England Bach Festival; and solo recitals at Jordan Hall in Boston, Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center and Carnegie Recital Hall in New York.
In the 2004-2005 season, Hyunah Yu appeared in the Shriver Hall concert Series in Baltimore. European engagements during that year included Gustav Mahler‘s Symphony No. 8 with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev, J.S. Bach’s Mass in B minor (BWV 232) in Cologne under Semyon Bychkov with the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, L.v. Beethoven 9th Symphony with David Zinman at the Aspen Music Festival and a solo recital debut for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. During the 2005-2006 season, she sang in the Marlboro Festival in which she has been a regularly participating artist since 2000. She also made a series of concert appearances including a very successful recital for the Vancouver Recital Society, at the Curtis Institute for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, at the Alice Tully Hall for the Lincoln Center, a recital for the Chicago Chamber Musicians and on tour with Musicians from Marlboro. The highlight of 2006 for Hyunah Yu has been singing the title role in Peter Sellars’ new production of Zaide conducted by Louis Langrée. This has been a joint production between the Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival and the Wiener Festwochen and has played in Vienna, New York, and Holland and at London’s Barbican.
Hyunah Yu, has already caught the ears of leading USA critics and promoters with a series of refined performances in the opera house and concert hall. Her lyric voice, impeccable musicianship and readiness to explore new repertoire have appealed directly to composers, Alan Mandel and Barton Bullock among them, who have written works specifically for her. The Baltimore Sun has identified her as «a rising star – a lovely voice with diamond purity».
Hyunah Yu has recorded two solo recitals for BBC Radio 3’s Voices programme and has given several first performances. Her first CD was picked as one of Radio 3’s Best of 2004. Her second, EMI Debut Disc, will be released in January 2007. Recorded with the Prague Philharmonia conducted by Shuntaro Sato, the CD features Mozart arias and Bach cantatas.