Hongjae Kim

Kim, Hong-je, a Korean-Japanese conductor, graduated from the Toho Gakuen School of Music.

He then studied under the world-famous conductor Ozawa Seiji and was appointed as resident conductor of the Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra in 1978 at the age of 24.

He participated in the 14th Tokyo International Conductors' Competition and was awarded the second prize and a special prize named after Hideo Saito, which is the highest honor as a conductor.

At the age of 31, he became the principal guest conductor of the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra and he became the principal guest conductor of the Kyoto Symphony Orchestra and the Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra when he was 33 years old.

He then decided to study in Germany and studied under the composer Isang Yun, learning composition and conduction techniques.

Kim’s activities were not only formal classical concerts but crossovers and concerts of traditional Korean music.

He conducted many original soundtracks for the movies of Hayao Miyazaki, the director of My Neighbor Totoro, and worked as a music producer for Joe Hisaishi, a well-known composer of Hayao Miyazaki’s film music.

He also showcased many traditional music creations through conducting a number of subscription concerts as a special guest conductor at the National Orchestra of Korea.

Kim successfully conducted the “Korea Brand Concert” in Russia in 2007, as well as a commemorative concert in both Korea and Japan for the 20th founding anniversary of the National Orchestra of Korea in 2015, at the recommendation of major figures in the Korean traditional music field.

Kim, Hong-je was born in Japan and was not able to visit Korea, since he was stateless, for over 50 years.

In 2000, he visited South Korea for the first time for the ASEM Music Festival held at the Seoul Arts Center, where he conducted the opening act of the “Korean World Star Series.” Kim began to become a well-known conductor afterwards, thanks to the domestic media’s coverage of him, a completely new conductor to Korean society.

In 2005, he obtained South Korean citizenship and was appointed principal conductor and artistic director of the Ulsan Philharmonic Orchestra.

Over the last 9 years, Kim has successfully led the Ulsan Philharmonic Orchestra through conducting over 100 subscription concerts and special concerts.

In particular, he showed a high level of performance in the international arena by being invited to perform in Canada and at Carnegie Hall in the USA, as well as at the UN Peace Concert.

Through these performances, he was able to bring the Ulsan Philharmonic Orchestra to a position as a national representative symphony orchestra of South Korea.

He became the principal conductor and artistic director of the Gwangju Symphony Orchestra in Nov. 2016 and has been since devoted to the orchestra’s progress