Pianist KaJeng Wong considers himself an outcast.
KJ’s unusual musical has quickly brought him to international stages since a very young age, performing in Europe, UK, North America, China and South East Asia. Studied with Nancy Loo for 7 years, his innate connection with her humanistic approach in music has largely influenced his upcoming path. His violin teachers include Yang Bao-Zhi, Michael Ma, and Ho Hung-Ying.
“Extremely overpowering, talented but controversial.”
KJ, being extremely active in musical activities, had won virtually every category at music contests with string quartets, solos, duos, orchestras and choirs in Hong Kong. Having temporary suspended his studies on piano for two years at age 13-15, KJ auditioned at Curtis Institute of Music on the violin before settling on the keyboard. Upon his return to the instrument studying with Prof. Gabriel Kwok, the head of department at HKAPA, he soon participated at international festivals such as Verbier Music Academy and PianoTexas. These opportunities proved to be crucial as he exposed to the teachings of the legendary Menahem Pressler, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Claude Frank, John O’Conor, Gabor Takacs-Nagy and Emile Naoumoff.
”Probably the most talented musician I have ever met.” – Claude Frank
KJ’s calling to be a musician, as well as a personal note of encouragement from Claude Frank, grew into the decision to study with Emile Naoumoff at the Jacobs School of Music. Within two months, he was the winner of the piano concerto competition; and performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto K467 with Maestro Uriel Segal. His talent as music collaborator was soon widely noted and was tirelessly sought as chamber music partners and choral accompanist.
KJ decided to take a gap year and did various social activities after his freshman year. Working closely with LoveFaithHope Charitable Foundation, he did various workshops on humanitarian and environmental themes in the community. These non-musical projects and ventures have awakened his thoughts that an artist should not only be exclusive on the stage. An Artist has a social responsibility to influence the society through his voice in art. His innovative borderline classical concert, “KJ & NG: Music is Music” in 2009, receives critical acclaim for its originality and ground-breaking form.
“A Special Pianist” – Martha Argerich
A documentary was made of KJ’s youthful passions, pursuits and ideals in 2009. “KJ – Music & Life” has received raving critiques and awards such as “Best Editing”, “Best Documentary” and “Best Sound Effect” from the Golden Horse Award. During the time when the docu was most widely distributed and seen in most countries in South East Asia, KJ experienced that fame and vanity should not be the end but a mean for an artist’s career. The Artist’s craft is the soul of an artist. Unfazed by the attention he accidentally received, his focus on his studies for the next three years with Prof. Naoumoff has proved to shape his musical understanding and mature personality.
“Most pianists are either virtuosic or musically deep, the unfortunate case for KJ is that he is genuinely both.” – Emile Naoumoff
His next chapter in Hong Kong has just begun. He is teaching privately, preparing for competitions/recitals and is serving as the Artistic Director of Music Lab. In Music Lab, he strives to influence the classical music culture in Hong Kong. The imbalance of high percentage classical music students but low classical concert attendance, the monotone of classical concert format, the lack of opportunities for his music colleagues, the absence of self-criticism, international stages… Music Lab exists to create and inspire. His upcoming concerts in December , “Season of Life” and “Chemistry” will prove to differ. Other upcoming projects include educational projects with schools, cross-overs concerts and chamber recitals.