From pre-med to classical singer, new faculty member Soon Cho’s positive impact on the PLU music department
By Kate Williams '16
Soon Cho has traveled throughout the country and world as a lyric mezzo-soprano. Today, you can find her teaching to music students at PLU.
What is your background?
I began my musical training as a pianist and a violinist and never had aspirations of being a professional classical singer (I was a pre-med major in college!). In middle school while waiting to go to orchestra class, I used to make fun of singers because they would make silly sounds and make crazy faces out in the hallway. Now I am a singer and have made silly noises while making funny faces warming up in taxis, public bathrooms, random stairways and even outside in the woods when no practice rooms were available. I bet innocent passersby thought I was a crazy lady.
I am a lyric mezzo-soprano and have performed recitals, concerts and operas in Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Canada, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, South Korea and the United States. I have previously taught at Texas State University in San Marcos and Baylor University in Waco, Texas. I am also on the faculty at Cornish-American Song Institute in England, a summer three-week intensive study of art songs for singers, composers and pianists. I received my education and training from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (D.M.A. and A.D. in Opera), Shepherd School of Music at Rice University (M.M.), and University of Washington-Seattle (B.A. /B.M.).
Do you have any upcoming events or performances?
I just returned from a recital tour in Wellington, New Zealand, and Sydney, Australia. Upcoming engagements include Handel’s Messiah in Fort Worth, Texas, concert performances in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and San Antonio, Texas, and a recital tour in South Africa next year. I will be judging the Schmidt Youth Vocal Competition in San Francisco, California. In addition, I will be one of the faculty soloists performing Rossini’s “Petite Messe solennelle” with the Choral Union directed by Richard Nance on November 12th at 3pm in Lagerquist Concert Hall.
What made you choose PLU?
I chose PLU because teaching and mentoring are valued. I have had amazing teachers who changed my life for the better and I want to pay it forward. In addition, the Lute community celebrates individuality and encourages creative and critical thinking.
What has your experience been so far?
I absolutely love being a Lute. I feel like I belong here and love working with my esteemed colleagues and teaching fine students.
Any advice for those in music?
“Have courage and sing like you love to sing.” That is the best advice I received from one of my voice teachers. When she gave me this advice, I was working too hard to please others and trying to do everything “right” and forgot why I was singing in the first place. I believe this advice is universally applicable. It takes courage to be a unique individual and to live out one’s love and passions.