Dr. Michael Pecak
Conductor and Music Director
Chicago-born pianist and conductor Michael Pecak has performed to great acclaim throughout the United States,
Canada, and Europe on both modern and historical instruments. An insatiable curiosity about art and music has
taken Michael down numerous paths in his career. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree from Northwestern
University where he studied piano performance with Alan Chow and orchestra/opera conducting with Victor
Yampolsky, Stephen Alltop, and Julian Dawson. A Fulbright Fellowship followed, enabling Michael to spend a
year at the Conservatory of Music in Warsaw, Poland, where he explored the music of 20th and 21st-century
Polish composers. Building on this experience, Michael was subsequently named an Artist-in-Residence at the
Polish Studies Center of Indiana University (Bloomington) where he also earned his Masters Degree in piano
performance, studying with the renowned American pianist André Watts.
A chance encounter with famed fortepianist Malcolm Bilson inspired a turn from the new to the early. At Bilson’s
invitation, Michael attended Cornell University as a Graduate Fellow for a concentrated year of study of
historical pianos in solo and chamber-music settings. Whether as a soloist or sidekick, the challenges of
period instruments present musicians with plentiful opportunities for imaginative, innovative, and rewarding
music-making. Michael recently completed a DMA in historical performance practices at McGill University (Montreal) with a dissertation on the music of Fryderyk Chopin. Earlier this year, Michael was a postdoctoral
researcher at the Orpheus Institute in Ghent, Belgium, where he worked as part of a team of specialists on a
project about historical instruments and the music of Beethoven.
As a fortepianist, Michael has performed in the Vancouver Early Music Festival, the Westfield Center for
Historical Keyboard Studies, and the Festival de Musique Montreal Baroque. His scholarly articles on the music
of Beethoven and Chopin have been published by Keyboard Perspectives (of Cornell University) and the National
Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw. An ardent lover of opera and art-song, Michael has long enjoyed working
with vocalists as accompanist, coach, and répétiteur. A regular collaborator with soprano Hannah De Priest,
Michael has made a special project of Polish art songs by F. Chopin and his teacher J. Elsner. The duo’s
upcoming performances in the Midwest include a program of works by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.
Based once again in his hometown of Chicago, Michael teaches piano at the Northwestern University Music Academy,
writes about opera for the online blog Schmopera, and is an active freelance conductor, pianist, and collaborator.
When not performing or contemplating music, Michael is most likely tuning his own 18th-century Viennese fortepiano.
Chung Yoon Park
Conductor and Music Director Emeritus
Chung Yoon Park retired in June, 2017 after 25 years as Conductor of the CCWSO, Program Director
and music teacher with the Chicago Park District.
Chung Yoon Park was affiliated for many years with the Korean Broadcasting System Symphony
Orchestra, the KBS Chamber Orchestra, and Conductor with the Seoul National Opera Company.
Among the maestro's credits are performances of Bach's Saint Matthew Passion, Haydn's Creation
and the Berlioz Requiem in addition to joint Northeastern University, City Wide Symphony
Orchestra and Chorus, and "do-it-yourself" Messiahs in both Chicago and Detroit.
He conducted the Commemorative Concert for the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics and has performed
orchestral programs in the Chicago area with the City Wide Symphony Orchestra and the Albany
Park Symphony. Also a specialist in Korean classical music, he made his Chicago opera debut
in 1983 in the five-act grand opera, Chun Hyang Jon, at the Civic Opera House. A former
member of the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra, the conductor/cellist is Artist-in-Residence
at KAES College and Founder & Director of the Chicago Conservatory for Youth. He studied in
Europe, the Seoul National University and at Detroit's Wayne State University where he took
a Master of Music degree. Mr. Park studied conducting in Europe and with Robert Culver
(University of Michigan) and Marvin Ravin (University of Wisconsin). Chung Park became the
conductor of the City Wide Symphony Orchestra in 1992 where he continues to bring his unique
blend of patience, mentoring, inspiration, and passion to the orchestra.
RESOLUTION CONGRATULATING CITY WIDE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA ON 68th SEASON
WHEREAS, City Wide Symphony Orchestra, under the leadership of Chung Yoon Park, celebrates its 68th season this year; and
WHEREAS, this esteemed body has been informed of this milestone by the Honorable John Arena, Alderman of the 45'" Ward; and
WHEREAS, under the leadership of Chung Yoon Park since 1992, Maestro Park has brought his musical brilliance and commitment to mentorship to City Wide Symphony Orchestra, lending his global experience with the Korean Broadcasting System Symphony, KBS Chamber Orchestra, Seoul National Opera Company, and experience studying and conducting in Europe; and
WHEREAS, not just a leader in his capacity for music, but a mentor and friend to many of all ages who participate in the orchestra, Maestro Park's enthusiasm and commitment to music performance has inspired many future musicians; and
WHEREAS, committed to making musical performance and education accessible to many, City Wide Orchestra is open to all regardless of previous training, providing a diverse and all-inclusive range of musicians contributing to this accomplished orchestra; and
WHEREAS, the City Wide Orchestra, in its 68th year, has called the Jefferson Memorial Park Field House home since 1953, and has been invited to perform across the city, sharing the gifts of these talented musicians with music lovers around Chicago; now, therefore
BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the Mayor and members of the City Council of the City of Chicago, gathered here this tenth day of December, 2014, do hereby congratulate City Wide Symphony Orchestra on its 68th season, and extend our wishes for continued success.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a suitable copy of this resolution be prepared and presented to City Wide Symphony Orchestra and Chung Yoon Park.
City of Chicago - 12/10/2014 - R2014-953