While every concert brings a chance to make career connections, some venues offer more than others. That’s what Young-Ah Tak, a doctoral student of Leon Fleisher’s, discovered last March when she performed a program that included music by Clementi, Zaimont, Schubert, and Liszt in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall.
After her performance, Tak was offered a contract by Parker Artists, a New York management company. “It’s a great kick for my performance career,” she says. “They will help me to get a different level of concert opportunities.” This year the 33-year-old pianist has also performed with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra in Virginia, the Venice Symphony in Florida, and the Seongnam Philharmonic Orchestra in Korea.
Her Carnegie Hall appearance was arranged through the Korean Music Foundation, a nonprofit organization that has sponsored debut recitals at Carnegie Hall and Merkin Hall for more than 50 Korean soloists since 1984. Soprano Soon-Hee Lee, president of KMF, says she vividly recalls the 1988 Merkin Hall debut of Peabody’s Yong Hi Moon, and her husband, pianist Dai Uk Lee.
Young-Ah Tak came to the U.S. in 1995 as a high school student to study with Moon, who was then teaching at Michigan State University.
Tak earned her undergraduate degree at Juilliard, then attended the New England Conservatory, where she received her master’s degree and graduate diploma.
In 2006, she began a doctoral program at Peabody that she will complete next year. She is also a faculty member at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla.—a job she says her Peabody mentors encouraged her to pursue.
“Peabody has prepared me very well to go into ‘the real world,’” she says. “It’s been a great combination of great classes, great mentoring, and a great teacher.” —LS