Violinist takes first place in music competition

Karson Sharp

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Sungkyung Woo took first place for violin at a state music competition. 

Junior violin performance major Woo also achieved second place in the South Central Music Teachers National Association Young Artist Performance Competition. 

The violinist was surprised to place in the competitions and compared them to those she had seen in her native country South Korea.

“I really did not expect to take places in the competitions because it was the first competition in the United States,” said Woo. “Of course I had many experiences in Korea, but I thought this would be totally different. I could not have known what would be different from competitions that I have seen before, but nothing was different. Like all my competitions, I just practiced and practiced and that made me feel comfortable on the stage. That’s what judges want to see, how much students practiced and how confident they are with their playing. At least, that’s what I believed and I think I proved that somehow.”

After more than half of Woo’s life, Woo is still ecstatic each time she plays the violin.

“I have been playing violin since I was eight,” said Woo. “It already has been more than 10 years. I still cannot believe that I was with my violin more than half of my life, but whenever I open my violin, I still get excited to play.”

Woo also reflected on her inspiration for music, what convinced her to play in the very beginning as well as her motivation for the competition.

“At first, my parents suggested I learn an instrument because they wanted me to play something in church,” said Woo. “They brought me to a private music teacher when I said I wanted a violin. This competition was a suggestion from my professor Dr.Voldman. He and I thought that I needed a motivation to make me step up. He gave me lessons almost everyday during the Christmas break. We worked on from small details to the overall flow of the music together.”

Woo is more versatile in musical instuments than playing only the violin.

“I learned piano from my mother when I was little, and that was how I started to study music,” said Woo. “I am taking guitar lessons from Dr. Kerber at Southeastern. I love having guitar lessons with him.”

Finally, Woo noted her favorite musical eras to use while performing.  

“I like to play Classical and Romantic periods of music,” said Woo. “I can fully feel what the composers wanted to impose in their works, and it is amazing that you can be connected with them through your instrument. That is why I love those pieces. Of course, I love Baroque and Contemporary composers too, but sometimes you really need to control your emotions when you play their music because it requires you to be pretty rational.”

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Violinist takes first place in music competition