ASU welcomes new conductor

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Article Published: Nov. 1, 2012 | Modified: Nov. 1, 2012
ASU welcomes new conductor

The Hayes School of Music’s Dr. Chung Park conducts the Appalachian Symphony Orchestra during a rehearsal. Park, the school’s new director of orchestral activities, will direct the musicians in a Dec. 2 performance.

Photo by Marie Freeman

Inspired by his high school orchestra teacher, Dr. Chung Park challenges his students to become “irreplaceable.”

Park is the new director of orchestral activities in Appalachian State University’s Hayes School of Music. Park conducts the Appalachian Symphony Orchestra, Appalachian Philharmonic and Appalachian Opera Theatre. He is an assistant professor of music at Appalachian.

Park also is the music director and conductor of Project Copernicus, a Miami-based, large chamber ensemble dedicated to performing music by living composers. For more information, visit

Park said he was first motivated by his high school teacher, who was “a very accomplished musician” and set high standards for his students. Influenced by his mentor’s instruction, Park began infusing what he learned from him into his own teaching practices when he started conducting.

“I quickly learned that if you challenge your students, they will deliver,” Park said. “If you allow them to only be a ‘B’ student, that’s what you’ll get. As a teacher, I challenge my students to grow. I think that we can be one of the premier orchestral programs in the Southeastern United States and gain national recognition.”

Park believes that it is important for students to play both the “standard orchestral repertoire” – Tchaikovsky, Beethoven and Bach – as well as works by living composers.

Prior to his work at Appalachian, Park was the music director and conductor of the Idaho State-Civic Symphony. Though similar to the position he now holds at Appalachian, that job was more administrative than teaching-oriented.

“I got into this profession to teach, not to gain notoriety in the community,” he said. “I like to see students succeed and shepherd them towards achieving their goals. I think that what we need to do as educators is instill an ethic in our students that you can’t ever stop growing, you can’t ever stop making yourself irreplaceable.”

Park has been impressed by the student-centered focus of Appalachian and the High Country community.

“The thing I have really noticed since I’ve been here is that there really is an ‘Appalachian way,’” Park said. “It’s not talked about like that, but it’s focused on learning, supporting students and helping them to succeed and doing things that people say are impossible. I love that fighting spirit.”

Park earned his doctoral degree of musical arts in instrumental conducting at the University of Miami. He received two master’s degrees: one in viola performance from Western Michigan University and the other in orchestral conducting from the University of Illinois. Park received his undergraduate degree in viola performance from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University.

For details about upcoming orchestral performances, visit the Hayes School of Music calendar at

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