The Korean pianist, Ji-Yong Kim (known as Ji), began playing the piano at the age of 5. At 9, his family relocated to New York, where he studied at the Music Preparatory Division of the Mannes College with Yuri Kim, and later at The Juilliard School Pre-College with Yoheved Kaplinsky. In 1991, at the age of 10, he was the youngest pianist to win the New York Philharmonic Orchestra’s Young Artists Competition, resulting in a performance at Avery Fisher Hall under Maestro Kurt Masur. He graduated from the Juilliard School with Bachelor of Music degree. As a winner of the 2012 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, Ji was also honored with seven YCA prizes: the Sander Buchman Award, Slomovic Concerto Prize, Korean Concert Society Prize, and four concert prizes: the Harriman-Jewell Series Prize, Bronder Prize for Piano from Saint Vincent College, Tannery Pond Concerts Prize and Usedom Festival Prize in Germany. He is currently working with Choong-Mo Kang at The Juilliard School.
Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as “a gifted young pianist who is clearly going places,” Ji has been praised from a young age for his compelling musical presence and impressive technical command. He has appeared as soloist with orchestras including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra under Peter Oundjian, Orchestra of St. Luke's, Nashville Symphony, Bangor Symphony, Fairfax Symphony, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Charlotte Philharmonic, Victoria Symphony, New Haven Symphony, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Santa Rosa Symphony, and the Brevard Festival Orchestra.
Ji has given recitals and educational outreach programs throughout the USA at the Harriman-Jewell Series, Buffalo Chamber Music Society, Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach, Brownville Concert Series, Evergreen Museum and Library, Mexico’s Centro Nacional de las Artes, National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Iowa State University, Saint Martin’s Abbey Church, La Jolla Music Society, San Diego’s Mainly Mozart Festival, Morgan Library and Museum, National Gallery of Art, and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. He has also performed in four-hand recitals with Marika Bournaki at the Seoul Art Center and in a chamber music program of Charles Wadsworth and Friends.
Well-known in his native country of Korea, Ji performed the country’s first outdoor classical concert as soloist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Jirí Belohlávek; and performed in Seoul with world-renowned ballerina, Sue Jin Kang and dancers from the Stuttgart Ballet. Ji’s creative vision to make classical music accessible to young people led to his “Stop & Listen” outdoor “guerrilla” performances in 2010, during which he worked with renowned Korean pop-artist Tae Jung Kim to design the “Ji-T” piano, bringing classical music to the public on the busy streets of Seoul. He also collaborated with the Japanese electronic/house music singer FreeTEMPO. From 2008 to 2013, Ji performed as a member of the Ensemble DITTO in Korea and Japan with violinist Stefan Jackiw, violist Richard O’Neill, and cellist Michael Nicolas.
Ji's 2013-2014 season features a performance of L.v. Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 with the Victoria Symphony, as well as recitals at the University of Alabama's Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, Harriman-Jewell Series, Philadelphia's Morning Musicales, Buffalo Chamber Music Society, Mary Baldwin College, St. Vincent College, Evergreen Museum and Library, Port Washington Library, Waveny Chamber Music Festival and Brevard Music Festival. In 2014, he made his New York recital debut at Merkin Hall and in his Washington, D.C. debut at the Kennedy Center on the Young Concert Artists Series to rave reviews. Subsequent seasons have included a number of non-traditional concert appearances. Along the way, he decided to bill himself using only a portion of his first name.
Highlights of the 2015-2016 season include recitals at the ShortGrass Music Festival, the Brownville Concert Series, La Jolla Music Society, and at the Morgan Library and Museum; a performance of W.A. Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23 with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra; and a chamber music appearance at San Diego’s Mainly Mozart Festival. In early 2016, Ji was the star of a national Android commercial in which he performs L.v. Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata on two pianos, one that features the usual 88 pitches on a piano, and one that is tuned so that each key plays a middle C. His unique and varied career continues during the 2017-2018 season, which begins with performances at the Seoul Jazz Festival, at Germany’s Usedomer Musikfestival, recitals including a concert titled “Bach to the Future” at the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota, and a concerto performance with the Arkansas Symphony.
In 2017, he signed to Warner Classics as an exclusive recording artist. For his label debut, he has recorded Bach’s Goldberg Variations, to be released in January 2018. His previous albums are "Bach Exhibition" on the Credia label (2012), and "Lisztomania" for Credia/Universal Music.