Baylor’s only orchestral conducting graduate student to walk in May

Story by Micaela Freeman | Staff Writer, Video by Meredith Aldis | Broadcast Reporter

Baylor University graduate orchestral conducting student Yoona Jeong travelled across the world to pursue her goal of becoming a conductor and composer. Jeong hails from Busan, South Korea and attended Seoul National University in Seoul, South Korea where she got her Bachelor of Arts in Musicology.

Jeong is the only graduating senior conducting student in the Master’s Orchestral Conducting degree program. Jeong turned to Baylor for her second Masters degree after receiving her first at the University of Southern California in Choral Conducting.

Jeong said she sought out Baylor because of a professor who recommended it and has been happy since her transition.

“I came in Baylor fall of 2016,” Jeong said. “I was able to get along well with my friends here and I’ve had a lot of good experience with the orchestra here and I was able to grow a lot.”

Jeong will graduate in May with her second Masters in Orchestral Conducting and has applied for doctoral school.

Jeong said she became excited about her degree when she toured Baylor and felt a sense of belonging.

“When I applied here and took the audition, my mind was totally into Baylor because I saw the ensemble and they were really good,” Jeong said. “This is totally my dream school, and I’m really happy.”

Jeong’s road to the U.S. came about after hearing positive reviews of the American university experience and said she is excited to continue her conducting career in the United States.

“I wanted to experience another education in general and I heard many good things about the education in the U.S, so here I am,” Jeong said.

Jeong said she was eager to keep pursuing her goal of being a conductor and is glad she is able to incorporate her faith in her work.

“One thing I really wanted to do was be influential to the people,” Jeong said. “As a Christian, I also wanted to build up the Christian Orchestra.”

As the only conducting graduate student, Jeong works alongside many professors and has been given many opportunities to showcase her conducting skills. Jeong conducted the inaugural performance for Dr. Linda Livingstone’s inauguration in November of 2017. Earlier this semester Jeong conducted an excerpt of Beethoven’s Egmont Overture.

Her work over the past two years have impressed Baylor staff including other conductors. Conductor in Residence and Mary Franks Thompson Professor of Orchestral Activites Stephen Heyde is thrilled with Jeong’s work and company within the music school.

“Yoona aspires to be the finest orchestra conductor she can be and works diligently and with discipline to that end. She has terrific people skills, which are much needed in her chosen field, and treats everyone with respect,” Heyde said. “She is a person of absolute good will and reflects her faith daily in her work and in her relationships with others. I am very optimistic about her potential for success in the years to come!”

Overall, Jeong is happy with her conductorship in the Baylor Music School and feels prepared and content, according to Jeong.

Jeong said she is looking forward to graduation and is eagerly waiting to hear back from her doctoral applications.