Elaine Kwon: Bio

 
 

mta.mit.edu/person/elaine-kwon

Elaine Kwon is a prize-winning concert pianist, martial artist, and a Lecturer in Music at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She made her orchestral debut with the Washington-Idaho Symphony at age 15 and has performed solo, concerto, and chamber music concerts throughout the US and internationally. She received standing ovations at her sold-out Carnegie Hall benefit concerts for Best Buddies New York (2008-2016), as well as her solo concerto performances with the Toronto Philharmonia Orchestra, Slovak Sinfonietta, Finger Lakes Symphony, New York Chamber Virtuosi, Union Symphony, and National Music Festival Orchestra. She was a Visiting Professor of Piano at the Conservatory of Music in Wuhan, People's Republic of China and performed duo piano concerts (with pianist Sandra Hebert) and taught master classes at the music conservatories in Wuhan, Chengdu and Tianjin. She has been an active chamber musician with OCTET, Forecast New Music Group, Light and Sound Water Trio, and Hebert/Kwon piano duo, among others. As collaborative musician, she has performed/composed/choreographed productions of piano music combined with other art forms. Performances in New York include presentations at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center Rose Studio, Angel Orensanz Theater, Tenri Cultural Institute, ICO Gallery, Yamaha Piano Salon and the Knitting Factory. As a composer, she has written primarily solo piano works. She created an original score for the highly-acclaimed Shakespearean play, Corsetless, which premiered in Buffalo, NY, was showcased in Carnegie Hall, toured through Ireland in 2009 and is now being made into a feature film.

She has recorded on Artist's Choice Recording and Naxos labels. Her recording of Anton Rubinstein's Piano Concerto no. 4 with conductor Kerry Stratton and the Slovak Sinfonietta was released on the Artist's Choice Recordings label in January 2012. Her latest recording on Naxos with chamber ensemble OCTET, hit #1 on Amazon Hot New Releases in Classical Music, and was featured in iTunes New and Noteworthy.

Elaine received a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Boston University; a Master of Music from New England Conservatory with highest honors and the Distinction in Performance Award; and a Bachelor of Music from University of Texas in Austin with highest honors and the Academic All-American award. Former teachers include Anthony di Bonaventura, Leonard Shure, Danielle Martin and Jerome Lowenthal.

As an avid martial artist, Elaine holds a second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and is five-time US National Tae Kwon Do Champion in Traditional and Creative Forms (1994, 1997-2000). She currently studies Shaolin Kung Fu at the USA Shaolin Temple in New York with Sifu Shi Yan Ming. She represented Nike in Asian ad campaigns, has appeared in Vogue, Elle, InStyle, Runner's World, Prevention, and numerous other magazines, ads, videos, books, including Women’s Health, Big Book of Exercises (2010) and Big Book of 15-Minute Workouts (2012). She hosted the 2006 action/urban adventure/martial arts TV show: "The Lounge--Shaken 'n Stirred" on ImaginAsian TV.

Elaine has been a featured guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show, StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson, and was named one of Boston’s “Most Alluring Women” by Boston Magazine and Chanel, and one of “Ten Toughest Bostonians” by the Improper Bostonian Magazine. New York Moves Magazine honored her as a 2008 Power Woman: celebrating women of substance and influence. A documentary of her life aired in Oct. 2010 on the TV series: Dream It: You Are the Next Generation, which was broadcast internationally to over 89 million households on Arirang TV. In 2012, Elaine was profiled on the Better TV Show segment, "Women Who Inspire," showcased in the 2013 ALIST Magazine Female Leaders Issue, and highlighted in Road Trip Nation’s 2015 book, Road Map.

Elaine was Piano Mentor at the National Music Festival for two seasons, and has been on the music department faculty at MIT since 1999, where she teaches music theory and piano lab. She is co-founder/Artistic Director of the immersive, music pairing performance series, Savor Your Senses®, and creator of LifeChord,™ a lifestyle platform intertwining Passion, Health and Purpose to foster high performance living. Elaine traveled around the world for a year and a half before making her home in New York City, where she continues to explore ways to combine and communicate her passion for music, martial arts, creative education and optimal living.