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Okon Hwang - Professor, Music

Ph.D., Wesleyan University


Okon HwangBiography

Dr. Hwang is a Western classical pianist, composer and ethnomusicologist. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Seoul National University, Master of Arts in Music Theory from Eastman School of Music, Master of Music in Piano Performance from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance and Literature from Eastman School of Music, and Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University. In addition to her work as a composer and ethnomusicologist of Korean music, Hwang is also a soloist and chamber musician.


Research interests

Okon Hwang’s research interests include Korean popular music; the intersection between Western art music and Korean cultural identity; the piano and chamber music of Korea; and new ways to introduce music in a variety of concert settings.

Of Note

As a pianist, Professor Hwang performed at Carnegie Hall to celebrate the S.O.Y. Trio’s first-place award at the American Protégé International Competition. One of her compositions, “Bidan an-gae,” was featured in Jo Gyeong-ok’s solo album Jal Jinaesinayo. Dr. Hwang also took a leadership role in forming the Association for Korean Music Research. She is currently working on a Korean nanta project that encompasses both her research projects and teaching endeavor.

Teaching interests

Of her teaching philosophy, Professor Hwang says, “Everyone contributes to create a positive and productive learning environment.  I learn from students as much as they learn from me.” She teaches piano, ethnomusicology, and Korean music and culture.

Everyone contributes to create a positive and productive learning environment. I learn from students as much as they learn from me.

Okon Hwang playing piano with a student