Hee-Kung Juhn

Director of keyboard studies and associate professor of piano

Technique alone is not impressive anymore. There are tons of people with good technique. The pianists who speak to me are the ones who are in touch with the music. As I get older, I feel like you play the piano as yourself. Your personality comes through the piano.

Hee-Kyung Juhn’s interest in music began at an early age in South Korea. She began playing the melodica by ear when she was six, and started playing piano a year later.

Juhn’s father was a missionary minister, and she moved with her parents to South America when she was 14. She came to the United States while a sophomore in college.

Juhn majored in piano performance, but said she always knew that she would teach. “These days, doctoral degree programs keep in mind that the artists they are training will also be teachers,” she said.

Attending the Juilliard School in New York exposed Juhn to the highest level of music making.

“The best part of being a Juilliard student was being able to perform in the important venues of the Lincoln Center Plaza and attending all the concerts and open rehearsals in the vicinity – all within walking distance.

“I would attend the open rehearsals of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra whenever there was no class, and I would buy standing tickets (cheaper option) to the Metropolitan Opera House on the weekends and actually stand through the whole opera. I loved it.”

Juhn said this experience helped “shaped the musician that I am today – the pursuit of excellence and expectations for myself and for my students. I want them to experience the bigger world after getting a strong foundation at Henderson.”

Juhn teaches piano and ear training at Henderson where she has a strong appreciation for the people she works with and her students.

“It’s the integrity of the people I work with that keeps me motivated,” Juhn said. “I have never seen another place where they actually enact the belief of putting the student first. Every decision and policy that we make in the music department is student-oriented.

“And the kids make me love my job. They are such well-mannered.”

Teaching hasn’t kept Juhn from performing. She enjoys going back to Korea to perform for family and old friends. Juhn has performed across the world, but she said Europe is her favorite locale. She went on sabbatical during the spring of 2016 to perform in Asia and Australia.

Juhn says her repertoire includes mainly classical music. As a pianist at church, she sometimes plays gospel music. Her recording of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations was praised by the American Record Guide. Juhn said she has some ideas for a second recording.

What sets apart the best pianists?

“It’s the person who is in touch with the music and somehow is able to be true to the music,” Juhn said. “You see some performers at the highest levels who play wonderfully. But it seems like they are just going through the motions.

“It should mean something to you. If you can somehow communicate that to the audience, that would be the ideal performer.”

Department of Music

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Degree and School:
D.M. from Indiana University

Piano chamber music

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