Born in 1986 in Seoul, Korea, Sey Ahn began playing the piano at the age of three. After immigrating to America at the age of ten, her precocious talent was developed by Elena Arseniev, an esteemed piano teacher in Maryland. Ms. Ahn consistently won accolades at numerous competitions such as the National Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, Music Teachers National Association Piano Competition, International Young Artist Piano Competition and the Ylda Novik Piano Concerto Competition, to name a few. Ms. Ahn gave solo recitals and debuted with the Georgetown Symphony Orchestra and The Frederick Symphony at the age of 16.
A graduate of Northwestern University Bienen School of Music with a degree in piano performance, her conducting talent was discovered by Maestro Victor Yampolsky, Professor and Director of Orchestras at the Bienen School. With Yampolsky’s strong urging and endorsement, Ms. Ahn moved to Los Angeles to jointly pursue a graduate degree in piano performance and conducting studies at the Thornton School of Music of the University of Southern California. She was accepted into the private conducting class of Professor Larry Livingston, Chair of the Department of Instrumental Conducting and Music Director of Thornton School Orchestras. Admission to Livingston’s studio was especially significant given the fact that he had only taken one other conducting major in his twelve year history as program director. She completed her master’s degree in conducting in 2012.
Under Livingston’s guidance and mentorship, Ms. Ahn has taken part in master classes and workshops led by renowned maestros Kurt Masur, Carl St. Clair, Jorge Mester, Helmuth Rilling, Mei-Ann Chen, Alexander Mickelthwate and Larry Rachleff. She was among a cohort of nine conductors chosen from a field of one hundred applicants to enroll in the Kurt Masur Conducting Seminar at the Manhattan School of Music. While the youngest participant in the Seminar, she was subsequently chosen by Maestro Masur to conduct in the final concert. Selected to participate in the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra International Conducting Symposium in 2010, Ms. Ahn was mentored by Maestros Alexander Michelthwate and Larry Livingston. She has also participated in the California Conducting Institute, where she worked with Don Thulean, formerly head of the American Symphony Orchestra League Conducting Program, and Maestro Jon Farrer, Music Director of the Bakersfield Symphony in Bakersfield, California.
Commencing in 2010, Ms. Ahn began serving as an assistant conductor to Maestro Larry Livingston with the Idyllwild Summer Music Festival Orchestras.. Continuing in that role in the summer of 2011, she also managed both the Idyllwild Summer Symphony and Chamberfest Orchestras. Since 2011, Ms. Ahn has served as Assistant Conductor of the Music for All Honor Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Diamond Bar High School Orchestra. In the fall of 2011, she was appointed as a co-conductor and administrator of the USC Concert Orchestra. Recent highlights include a performance and recording of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 with a professional ensemble in Los Angeles, a concert version performance of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake at Lincoln Center, and appearances at the prestigious Royce Hall in Los Angeles.
Ms. Ahn was invited as a Conducting Fellow to Aspen Summer Music Festival 2015 where she worked closely with renowned conductors from all over the world. Having led the Colorado All-State Orchestra in 2014, and Kentucky All-State in 2015 with much success, Ms. Ahn is widely in demand as a guest conductor of professional and youth orchestras. Ms. Ahn at age 29, already has future engagements conducting the All-State Orchestras of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Iowa and Tennessee.
Ms. Ahn resides in Los Angeles where she maintains a small studio of private conducting students.