Two musicians have been appointed to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s viola section: Sunghee Choi and Youming Chen. The appointments were announced Nov. 2 by Music Director Riccardo Muti and CSO President Jeff Alexander.
Choi, who comes to the CSO from Lyric Opera of Chicago, officially joined the orchestra on Oct. 26 and performed with the CSO and Muti on their fall U.S. tour of Kansas City, Mo.; Ann Arbor, Mich., and Chapel Hill, N.C.
Before her three-year stint with Lyric Opera, she was a member of the Grant Park Music Festival Orchestra for five seasons beginning in 2011. A regular substitute with the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra, Choi appeared as soloist in her native Korea with the Seoul and Sunhwa symphony orchestras. She received her bachelor’s degree from the Seoul National University, her master’s and graduate diploma from New England Conservatory of Music, and is a doctoral candidate at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.
Youming Chen, currently associate principal viola of the Kansas City Symphony, will join the CSO’s viola section on Feb. 1. Before winning the associate principal post in 2013, he joined that orchestra’s viola section in 2012. He is also a member of the Grant Park Music Festival Orchestra, and was principal viola with the Juilliard Orchestra in 2005, the year of its centennial tour.
Chen received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, his master’s degree from The Juilliard School, a professional diploma from Mannes College of Music and his doctorate from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.