Chung Park named next conductor of the St. Olaf Orchestra
Conductor and music educator Chung Park has been named the new conductor of the St. Olaf Orchestra, and will take the reins of the award-winning ensemble at the beginning of the 2022-23 academic year.
Park will succeed St. Olaf Orchestra Conductor Steven Amundson, who will retire in June after leading the ensemble for 40 years. Along with conducting the orchestra, Park will join the St. Olaf Music Department as a member of the upper string faculty.
“St. Olaf has been my dream job for at least the last decade, and I feel incredibly blessed to be coming here,” says Park. “I see myself as part of a continuum. I feel a great responsibility to carry on the legacy of the St. Olaf Orchestra and what Steven Amundson has built, and pass this tradition on to the next generation of students.”
Park comes to St. Olaf College most recently from the University of Central Florida, where he served as conductor of the UCF Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, head of string music education, and instructor of viola. Prior appointments include positions at Appalachian State University, the Idaho State-Civic Symphony, Idaho State University, Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, the University of Chicago, the University of North Dakota, and Indiana University-South Bend.
Along with his academic work, Park has maintained an active schedule as a guest conductor. Recent engagements include several concerts with the Sarasota Orchestra, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, and student orchestras in Tennessee, North Dakota, North Carolina, Utah, Washington, and Georgia.
“The fact that St. Olaf is a liberal arts institution was a huge draw for me, because I didn’t want to be at a conservatory where the focus is often too narrow,” says Park. “I want to be around other people who are thinkers, because I still have so much to learn, and I want to swim in the cultural soup this incredible music comes out of.”
Park earned his doctorate in instrumental conducting from the University of Miami, and holds MM degrees in orchestral conducting (University of Illinois) and viola performance (Western Michigan University), and a BM in viola performance from the Peabody Conservatory of Music. He studied viola in Hanover, Germany, with Hatto Beyerle of the Alban Berg Quartet. He continued his studies at the Aspen Music Festival, Pierre Monteux School, the South Carolina Conductor’s Institute, Tafelmusik Institute in Toronto, Ontario, and the International Festival-Institute at Roundtop, Texas.
Chung Park, St. Olaf Orchestra Conductor DesignateSt. Olaf has been my dream job for at least the last decade, and I feel incredibly blessed to be coming here. I see myself as part of a continuum. I feel a great responsibility to carry on the legacy of the St. Olaf Orchestra and what Steven Amundson has built, and pass this tradition on to the next generation of students.
Earlier this year, Park had the opportunity to guest conduct the St. Olaf Orchestra and work with many of the students he’ll lead come fall.
“What I love about working with students is that for most of them, this is their first time experiencing the music we’re playing,” says Park. “Even if some of them have played a piece a few times, it still makes what we’re doing fresh and exciting. I love bringing that music into their lives and going on a journey with them.”
Originally from Chicago, where his family still resides, Park views this appointment as a type of homecoming. Apart from his upcoming duties at St. Olaf, Park loves to spend his free time foraging for wild food, attempting to fly fish, cooking, gardening organically, cycling, hiking, doing home renovations, and reading. He hopes to one day build his own greenhouse.