BEN HEDGES, (Host)- Mr. Ben Hedges is a professional television host and journalist. He is best known for hosting the popular news commentary show, A Foreigner’s View of China, which he delivers in Mandarin Chinese on a weekly basis. Ben was born in Hong Kong and was educated in Hong Kong, U.K., and Taiwan. After graduating from the University of London in 2011, he moved to New York, where he worked on several television shows including A Foreigner’s View of China in Chinese, Discovering China in English, and the educational series, Learn Chinese Now. Ben has also hosted segments for NTDTV’s International Chinese Culinary Competition in Times Square, and a series of speaking tours in Taiwan and the U.S. He is a contributor to the Chinese language newspaper, Apple Daily (Taiwan edition).
SHARON CHENG, (Soprano)- A native of Taiwan, Ms. Sharon Cheng made her US professional debut with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra as the soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in 2009. Praised for her “comic talent and dazzling high notes”, she has successfully portrayed a wide variety of operatic roles from Baroque to contemporary repertoire, and given several collaborative recitals throughout Asia, America, and Europe. Ms. Cheng was awarded first prizes at many vocal competitions and is a frequent guest performer at numerous fundraisers for various charities.
CHAD JUROS,(Magician)- Mr. Chad Juros is an award-winning magician/speaker who is honored to share his magic and inspirational story with audiences around the world for over 20 years. Chad has brought his talents to such places as The White House in Washington, D.C., both Atlantic City and Las Vegas resorts, the Island of Aruba, and numerous regions in Canada. He was also featured on ABC’s Good Morning America, The CW’s Penn & Teller: Fool Us, and A&E’s Criss Angel Mindfreak. Chad is also the founder of the Spread The Magic Foundation; a nonprofit organization that helps raise funds and awareness for pediatric cancer in the hopes that everyone can find the magic in their lives as Chad did in his life.
JIAQI LONG,(Piano) – Mr. Jiaqi Long is a 20-year-old talented pianist from China. With his recent performances in Chicago, New York, Finland, and China, Jiaqi shares his love for life and music through his passionate, multi-perspective, and modern renditions of numerous masterpieces. Jiaqi is also a prize-winning pianist in numerous international competitions; recent participations include the NTD International Piano Competition and New York International Piano Competition. Simultaneously pursuing his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees at The Juilliard School, Jiaqi also loves fitness, fashion and reading.
CHRISTOPHER COOLEY,(Piano) – Mr. Christopher Cooley has played with various instrumental and vocal soloists in Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, and numerous venues throughout the five continents. He holds a Doctorate in Collaborative Piano from the Manhattan School of Music and is a freelance pianist, accompanist, arranger, and composer in New York City for nearly 20 years.
YUSUN KANG, (Two Medium Standing Drums) – Ms. Yusun Kang is a New York–based Korean traditional dancer, choreographer, and the artistic director of the Korean Traditional Music and Dance Center (KTMDC). KTMDC is the oldest established traditional Korean arts organization in New York City. She studied under Yijo Lim, the leading dance figure in Korea today and has mastered Seung Mu and Salp’uri, which represent the highest level of traditional Korean dance and have both been designated intangible cultural assets. Ms. Kang is the 1st place winner at the 2002 Korean Traditional Music and Dance Competition in New York and the 2003 Namwon Chunhyang Competition in Korea, and the 3rd place winner at the 2003 Junju Dae Sa Seup Nori, one of the highest performing arts National Competition in Korea. Her career highlights include numerous performances at Carnegie Weill Recital Hall, Lincoln Center-Alice Tully Hall, many significant universities and colleges, theatres, festivals, and parades throughout the U.S., Asia, and South America.
YOON SOOK PARK, (Janggo) – Ms. Yoon Sook Park established KTMDC over 30 years ago in New York City. Before immigrating to the U.S., Ms. Park spent over 25 years studying Kayagum (traditional Korean string instrument), Pansori (Korean opera), and dance with many of Korea’s leading artists. Her expertise lies in the style of the late Kayagum master, Dae Bong Yoo. Ms. Park has won numerous awards and performed in over 1,800 concerts all over Asia and the U.S. Her career highlights include solo recitals at Carnegie Weill Recital Hall, Lincoln Center, a private charity party at the Metropolitan Museum, and the Italian Embassy’s private party with UN Secretary General Ki Moon Ban, among many others. Ms. Park is very passionate about spreading the awareness and appreciation for Korean arts. She established the Korean American Traditional Art Development Association in 2001 which hosts an on-going annual Korean Traditional Performing Art Competition.
JULIE PARK, (Two Small Standing Drums) – Ms. Julie Park’s dancing endeavors started when she was in high school. She has studied both traditional and contemporary dance styles. Her teachers include Master Yijo Lim and Master Yusun Kang of KTMDC. Her performances have been seen at Flushing Town Hall, Queens College, Egg Theater, and various other venues. Ms. Park is currently pursuing a business career with Milea Truck.
SUNSOOK ROH, (Two Small Standing Drums) – Ms. Sunsook Roh is a multimedia artist, who combines fine arts with dance performances. For the past thirty years, Ms. Roh has been performing Korean traditional dance and drumming while also making and exhibiting sculptural art installations internationally. Ms. Roh has studied the dance style of Yimijo under Master Yusun Kang of KTMDC. She performed at the National Theater of Korea and won numerous awards at dance competitions in New York and Korea.
JIHWAN CHOI, (Grand Grand Drum) – Mr. JiHwan Choi is a decorated Korean traditional music and dance artist, who has been recognized in both South Korea and U.S. With 14 years of practice, performances, awards, and recognitions, and as part of the Korean Traditional Music and Dance Center, he has developed advanced skills and valuable experiences to be able to be an ambassador and spread the culture of Korea.
MONICA CHUNG, (Grand Medium Drum) – Ms. Monica Chung has been a part of the Korean Traditional Music and Dance Center for over 15 years, performing and competing at various venues. She has worked to not only spread the beauty of Korean traditional music and dance with others in the Korean-American society, but also to share her Korean culture with other ethnicities in New York.
JANIS CHOI,(Two Small Standing Drums) -Ms. Janis Choi is a current student in the College of Arts and Sciences at Emory University. She has practiced and studied Korean traditional dance for more than seven years at the Korean Traditional Music and Dance Center in New York. Ms. Choi’s repertoire includes the Floral Fan Dance, Heartbeat Drum Dance, and the Jindo Drum Dance.
SARA CHOI,(Grand Medium Drum) – Ms. Sara Choi has intensively learned Korean percussion and dance under Master Yusun Kang at KTMDC. With her experience in Korean drumming, Ms. Choi has performed at BAM, Flushing Town Hall, Times Square and won awards from different competitions in New York and New Jersey.
HANNAH KIM,( Two Medium Standing Drums) – Ms. Hannah Kim has been actively involved in Korean drumming and dancing at the Korean Traditional Music and Dance Center since 2013. Her expertise includes playing the Heartbeat Drum and the Jindo Drum Dance. Ms. Kim has performed at various venues in New York and New Jersey. She won the gold medal in the 2015 Asian Performing Arts Competition.
LIA HWANG, ( Two Small Standing Drums) – Ms. Lia Hwang has pursued her passion for Korean traditional dance since she was six years old. She started learning from Master Yusun Kang since 2012 and has been able to master the art of the Jindo Drum Dance. Ms. Hwang participated in the 2016 Asian Traditional Performing Arts Competition as a solo artist.