ISU Magazine

Volume 40 | Number 1 | Fall 2009

Making Musical Connections

Idaho State Civic Symphony Director Chung Park. Behind him, the Symphony prepares to start a performance.

Photo by ISU Photographic Services/Susan Duncan

Making Musical Connections

Fall 2009 Issue | By Andy Taylor

In Idaho State Civic Symphony Director Chung Park's concert hall, music isn't just something to be enjoyed by the classically educated and refined.

His goal is to make music that everyone can enjoy. For him, it is all about connecting.

Chung Park's website
Idaho State Civic Symphony

Before and after each symphony performance Park meets with concertgoers to talk about the music. The public hobnobs with the maestro, symphony players and each other, enjoying refreshments. The musical mastery, the energy and the setting of the spectacular Joseph C. and Cheryl H. Jensen Grand Concert Hall, perhaps topped off with a treat and conversation with the maestro, can make for rich, well-rounded evening.

“I love music, and not music just for music’s sake,” Park said. “My goal for the symphony and anything I do is to bring people together. I want to offer a full experience for the evening so people aren’t coming to worship at the altar of music. I’m trying to make the concerts about the people coming to them.”

Park, who became director last fall, exudes energy, and that spark has caught on with the symphony and its public. During his first season the symphony drew packed houses at the Joseph C. and Cheryl H. Jensen Grand Concert Hall in the L.E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center.

“He has been so involved with the community and his artistic abilities are fabulous,” said Sue Parker, the symphony’s executive director. “He has been able to bring music that the community loves.”

The new director has received thumbs up from symphony members as well.

“Certainly, this last season with the orchestra was a resounding success with the public, as witnessed by the large audiences at the performances,” said Patrick Brooks, ISU music professor and trombonist. “It is exciting as a performer to be playing for a packed, enthusiastic house. Chung has been very well received by the orchestra, which has bought in to his approach and vision. It was a lot of fun last year. We covered a lot of exciting literature and there are a lot of new faces in the orchestra.”

Park, who also teaches viola at ISU, came to the University with an impressive resume. Park’s primary musical studies were completed at the Peabody Conservatory and the University of Miami, where he received a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree as a student of renowned conductor and composer Thomas Sleeper. Additionally, Park studied viola in Hannover, Germany, with Hatto Beyerle of the Alban Berg Quartet.

The director’s goals for the ongoing season are both concrete and ethereal.

“I want to get us an even more refined sound and play with greater precision, and I want to facilitate that,” Park said. “The audience should find a few more surprises in store for them this year. The idea is to try to create magic every time people come out. For that to happen there has to be a good combination of the familiar and the novel, to keep people interested.”