March 29, 2024

MSM Spotlight: Meet Ye In Kwak, a featured performer in the MSM International Students’ Concert on April 1

The annual MSM International Students Concert showcases international students performing a musical piece representing their home country.

This year collaborative piano master student Ye In Kwak (MM ’25) is presenting two Korean art songs, “이화우”(Pear Blossom Rain) composed by Wonju Lee and “참 맑은 물살” (What a clear current) composed by Jaemin Jung.

Ye In talks about the pieces she’s performing, shares insights into her experiences at MSM, and also tells us about her upcoming summer plans.


Korean-born pianist Ye In Kwak moved with her family to Russia at the age of six to attend the Gnessin School of Music in Moscow. After graduating, she studied at the Moscow State Conservatory.

In 2014, Ms. Kwak returned to Korea to complete her piano performance degree at Seoul National University, and then, pursuing her interest in musical collaboration with multiple genres, she studied vocal coaching at Korea National University of Arts.

Currently, Ye In is a second-year masters student, studying under Myra Huang. While here at MSM, she made her New York debut at the Jerome L. Greene Space at WQXR and participated in the Aspen Music Festival and School as an opera coaching fellowship recipient. She also took part in SongStudio hosted by Renée Fleming and performed at Carnegie Hall. This summer, she will be a coach and pianist at the prestigious Wolf Trap Opera Program.


APR 1 | MON 
7:30 PM 

Miller Recital Hall

Tell us about the concert! What are you performing?

Ye In: This performance, organized by the office of International Student Services, is the 18th Annual International Student Concert at our school, where students from various nationalities studying here at MSM come together to showcase and introduce music from their respective countries.

I’m planning to perform two Korean art songs with tenor Moses Sunghyun Park (MM ’24). They are “이화우”(Pear Blossom Rain) composed by Wonju Lee and the other is “참 맑은 물살” (What a clear current) composed by Jaemin Jung. In these songs, we are speaking about love and longing through the beauty of nature. The listener can hear some water dripping from flowers during rainy days in the song Pear Blossom Rain and the faint sound of a stream from afar in What a clear current.

Moses and I have performed together in many concerts over the past two years, but this performance feels particularly meaningful as we’ll be performing only Korean art songs. It’s even thrilling, and we are eager to share the beauty of Korean art songs with the audience.

Why did you decide to study at MSM?

Ye In: The main reason I decided to study at MSM was because of my professor, Myra Huang. Meeting her is truly a gift I am grateful for and blessing to me.

She is not only providing me with good musical direction and piano techniques, but she is also a wonderful mentor and continues to help me find a better attitude towards life. Recently, Myra said, “We may think we can do everything on our own, but it’s when we let go that we achieve things we never knew possible. If we strive with all our might and achieve it on our own, we’ll only fill up to our maximum potential. So, don’t hold everything inside your hand.” Isn’t it so beautiful? Through the wonderful teachings of such an inspiring teacher, I have been able to grow each day.

Additionally, I want to express that coming to this school was a really great decision. I am grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had here such as performing with MSM Chorale and Chamber choir, participating in choir rehearsals of opera productions, performing as an orchestral pianist for the opera production, and having opportunities to learn and play harpsichord and organ.

Through these experiences, I believe I am filling in the necessary elements to delve into deeper and more diverse areas of music. With all of these as a foundation, I am confident that I can create even more profound music.

L to R: MSM Collaborative Piano Faculty Myra Huang (MM ’01) and Ye In Kwak (MM '24)

Why should people come to the International Student’s Concert?

Ye In: There are not many musical opportunities to exchange and appreciate each other’s diverse cultural backgrounds and  musical traditions. This performance is the perfect chance to experience those things!

In this concert, besides instrumental pieces, there are also be performances of art songs in different languages. Even though languages may differ and understanding may be limited, I believe this will be a time to rediscover the powerful connection and emotional exchange that music can create, allowing us to become one through music, regardless of language barriers.

What is my favorite part about living in NYC?

Ye In: Personally, I love spending my free time going to art museums or attending performances alone, and New York City is truly an ideal environment for such cultural activities. The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers a fresh experience every time I visit due to its changing special exhibitions, and there are so many Broadway musicals I have yet to see! The productions at the Metropolitan Opera are undeniably glamorous and magnificent, making it undoubtedly one of the world’s best theaters. No matter how busy life gets, I hope everyone takes the time to enjoy the cultural offerings of New York City!

Even though languages may differ and understanding may be limited, I believe this will be a time to rediscover the powerful connection and emotional exchange that music can create, allowing us to become one through music, regardless of language barriers.

What are your summer plans?

Ye In: This summer, I’m thrilled to be joining the Wolf Trap Opera Program as a coach and pianist, where I’ll be participating in the production of two operas: La Boheme by Giacomo Puccini and Seven Deadly Sins by Kurt Weill. I’m really excited and looking forward to being able to focus solely on studying operas and putting up productions for three months!

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