Chord of Life: Elaine Kwon

Chord of Life: Elaine Kwon
0 comments, 05/06/2013, by , in Female Leaders

Prize-winning pianist Elaine Kwon made her orchestral debut with the Washington-Idaho Symphony at age 15 and has performed solo, concerto, and chamber music concerts throughout the U.S. and internationally.

A master of music and martial arts, Elaine Kwon doesn't stop there. Photo by Jackie Ho for ALIST Magazine

A master of music and martial arts, Elaine Kwon doesn’t stop there. Photo by Jackie Ho for ALIST Magazine

As soloist, she received standing ovations at her 2008, 2010, and 2011 Carnegie Hall concerts, as well as in her solo concerto performances with the Slovak Sinfonietta, Toronto Philharmonia Orchestra, Finger Lakes Symphony, and the New York Chamber Virtuosi. As chamber musician, she toured regularly for 10 years as part of the Hebert/Kwon piano duo, and performed as a member of Forecast New Music Group, Light and Sound Water Trio, Sapphire Ensemble and OCTET.  As composer, she created an original score for the acclaimed Shakespearean play, Corsetless, which premiered in Buffalo, NY, was showcased in Carnegie Hall, toured through Ireland, and is being made into a feature film. Her recording of the Rubinstein Piano Concerto No. 4 with the Slovak Sinfonietta was released on Artist’s Choice Recordings in December 2011.

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. She is now a Lecturer/Affiliated Artist at MIT, where she teaches music theory and piano lab.

Photo by Jackie Ho for ALIST Magazine

Photo by Jackie Ho for ALIST Magazine

As an avid martial artist, Elaine holds a second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and is a five-time U.S. National Tae Kwon Do champion in Traditional and Creative Forms (1994, 1997-2000). Presently she studies Shaolin Kung Fu. She was chosen to represent Nike in the 2003 Asia campaign as a martial artist and has appeared in numerous magazines, advertisements and videos. She hosted the 2006 action-adventure host-wrap show: The Lounge–Shaken ‘n Stirred on ImaginAsian TV.

She has been a featured guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show and was honored as a “Power Woman” of New York.  Elaine was the subject of a documentary for the Arirang TV series, Dream It, which was broadcast internationally to 89 million households.  Elaine lives in New York City, where she continues to find ways to combine and communicate her passion for music, martial arts, food/wine, and optimal living. For more information about Elaine and her work, visit her website at

About the author: Grace Rong Wang is currently the Director of Communication in NAAAP Charlotte Chapter. She works full-time as a consultant in a management consulting company, and takes journalism as a serious hobby, from which she enjoys telling stories about interesting people and exploring connections between individuals  and social contexts. Right now, she writes ad-hoc for NAAAP Charlotte website’s “In the Community” session. Grace was born and grew up in China, studied and lived in U.S. and Japan, speaking Mandarin, English, and Japanese. She received Master’s Degree in Mathematical Economics from the  University of Iowa. Grace is also an amateur violinist, playing for symphonies in her spare time.

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