Choong-Jin Chang, viola
A native of Seoul, Korea, Choong-Jin (C.J.) Chang is the Principal Viola of The Philadelphia Orchestra since 2006. He also served there as the Associate Principal Viola from 1994 to 2006. He made his performance debut as a 12-year-old violinist with the Seoul Philharmonic as winner of the grand prize in Korea’s Yook Young National Competition. In 1981, at the age of 13, he moved to the United States to attend the Juilliard School of Music. He subsequently studied in Philadelphia at the Esther Boyer College of Music of Temple University and at the Curtis Institute of Music, from which he received degrees in both violin and viola. His primary teachers were Jascha Brodsky and retired Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Viola Joseph de Pasquale.
Since Mr. Chang made a successful solo debut recital at Carnegie Hall in 2007, he has appeared in numerous recitals in United States and South Korea and as a soloist with The Philadelphia Orchestra during its Asian Tour in Seoul, Korea and Shanghai, China and its summer residency at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. In 2009, he made a Philadelphia Orchestra subscription debut as a viola soloist performing Bartok Viola Concerto. An ardent chamber musician, Mr. Chang has performed in numerous chamber music festivals here and abroad, including the Marlboro Festival, Bridgehampton, Seattle, and Santa-Fe. The list of distinguished musicians with whom he has collaborated includes Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, Jaime Laredo, André Previn, Mstislav Rostropovich, and Yo-Yo Ma.
Mr. Chang is a founding member of the Johannes Quartet whose debut performances at Philadelphia’s Ethical Society and at Carnegie Hall in New York City received glowing reviews. Since 1997, the Quartet has performed to audience and critical acclaim throughout the United States. The Quartet recently premiered Esa-Pekka Salonen’s new quartet, Homunculus, and William Bolcom’s new octet, Double Quartet, with the Guarneri Quartet.
Alongside his extensive performing activities, Mr. Chang is a respected teacher on both violin and viola. Among his former pupils are current members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra, as well as many winners of major competitions. He currently serves on the faculty of Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts and Temple Music-Prep.