Getting a full-ride scholarship to Southern Methodist University would be a big deal for anyone, but it was life-changing for Eun Chong Ju.
Born and raised in South Korea, Ju was inspired by her violinist aunt. She went to great lengths to practice violin growing up, traveling three hours round trip to Seoul to get training from great musicians. In 2008, Ju made the decision to move to Texas from South Korea to get her master’s degree in Violin Performance at SMU.
“It was hard. Making friends and being homesick, and English, everything was hard,” Ju says. “But on the other side, I had more feelings that I wanted more experience for my musical career. I wanted to overcome everything.”
While language was a huge barrier for Ju, it also allowed her to connect with her peers through music.
“English was kind of a barrier for me making friends here, but with music, with what I play, they can understand what I’m playing, and we can connect with music,” Ju says. “By playing the violin, I met more people to help make my community here.”
After graduating, she took a position with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, where she performed for three years. Here, she was able to perform with many famous musicians, like Emanuel Ax, Jaap Van Zweden, Riccardo Muti, and Yo-Yo Ma.
In 2014, she moved back to Texas to get married. She is currently a member of the Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra where she holds the first violinist position. Ju has taught violin for over 15 years, beginning when she was still in Korea, and has helped train over 100 winners of solo competitions and orchestra auditions using the Suzuki method and the Belwin Course to train her students.
In addition to her work with the Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra and as an educator, she is also an award-winning solo performer. In 2018, she placed third place in the highly competitive Grand Prize Virtuoso Competition, which includes applicants from all around the world.
Most recently, she also won third place at the 2019 Golden Classical Music Awards, in which the prize included the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Her latest accomplishment, her digital single “Camille Saint-Saens: Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor, Op. 28,” was released in August. She chose this piece for the technique and fast tempo, and it’s “perfect for the autumn mood.” The piece is paired with Min Kyung Kim’s piano accompaniment, who is a friend of Ju’s.
“The best part is doing what I love,” says Ju. “I want to do more recordings and do more concerts and do more teaching. I hope to be able to share my music with more people.”
You can find Ju’s music on YouTube, as well as see her preform with the Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra in its current 2019-2020 season. The Symphony’s next concerts will be on November 16, featuring soprano Sarah Tucker, and December 21, featuring bass baritone Nicholas Newton.