Born in Korea, Sumi Hwang was seen by a global audience of 300 million TV viewers when she gave a soaring rendition of the Olympic Anthem at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February 2018. The New York Times praised the Korean soprano as 'arguably the star of the night'.
Following undergraduate and graduate degrees at Seoul National University, Sumi Hwang attended the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich where she studied with Frieder Lang, Donald Sulzen and Céline Dutilly. She also participated in master classes with Helmut Deutsch, Siegfried Mauser, Andreas Schmidt, Dalton Baldwin and Lorraine Nubar. Her numerous competition successes include the 1st Prize and Audience Prize at the International GRANDI VOCI Competition in Salzburg in 2012, 1st Prize in the Anneliese Rothenberger Competition in Konstanz in 2013 and the 2014 Emmerich Smola Förderpreis presented by the German TV network SWR. In 2014, Sumi Hwang won the first prize (International Queen Elisabeth Grand Prize) in the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels.
Sumi joined the ensemble of the Theater Bonn for four years since 2014 following her victory that year in the Queen Elisabeth Competition. Since then, she had her role debuts of Micaëla in "Carmen", Lauretta in "Gianni Schicchi" and Susanna in "Le nozze di Figaro", reprising further the role of Liù in Puccini’s "Turandot". Additionally, Sumi built up a large and diverse repertoire of roles including Pamina ("Die Zauberflöte"), Almirena ("Rinaldo"), Leïla ("Les pêcheurs de perles"), Fiordiligi ("Così fan tutte"), Marzelline ("Fidelio"), Mimì ("La Bohéme") and Cleopatra ("Giulio Cesare in Egitto"). She has also sung a lead role in a contemporary opera - Lena in "Vom Mädchen, das nicht schlafen wollte" by Marius Felix Lange - and gave her debut at the Wiener Kammeroper as Fiordiligi in Mozart’s "Così fan tutte" under the baton of Stefan Vladar.
The young artist is also becoming increasingly known to opera audiences across Europe and beyond, giving her debut at the Grand Théâtre de Genève as Pamina, singing Norina in Donizetti’s "I pazzi per progetto" at the Munich Prinzregententheater in 2012 and the Princess in Ravel’s "L’enfant et les sortilèges" at the Korean National Opera. Engagements during the 2018/19 season included her house debut at the Hessian State Theater in Wiesbaden, where she performed Donna Anna in "Don Giovanni" before returning to Bonn with the same role; Mimì in Puccini’s "La Bohème" at Daegu Opera House and her debut with the Wiener Akademie as soprano soloist in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 at the Vienna Musikverein, as well as on tour in Korea. In 2019/2020, she will take part as Micaëla ("Carmen") in a new production at the Hessian State Theatre in Wiesbaden.
As a recitalist Sumi regularly collaborates with the renowned pianist Helmut Deutsch, with whom she has appeared in Bonn and Korea, and has also sung in Luxembourg and Washington D.C. at the Phillips Collection with French pianist Jonas Vitaud. In October 2015, she gave a Wigmore Hall Rosenblatt Recital debut alongside Helmut Deutsch. Her first solo album with Helmut Deutsch will be released in 2019.
Sumi regularly appears on the concert stage and particularly in Germany, where she has performed with the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie under Enrico Delamboye, the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR under Dan Ettinger, the Philharmonie SWF under Charles Olivieri-Munroe, the Neue Philharmonie München under Ulrich Weder, the Osnabrücker Symphonieorchester, and with the Lautten Compagney in Munich. She sang Dvořák’s Requiem at the Herkulessaal in Munich under Hayko Siemens, Brahms’ "Ein deutsches Requiem" with the Münchner Symphoniker under Benedikt Haag, Mozart concert arias accompanied by Sakari Oramo and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, appearing also as Giannetta in a concert performance of "L'elisir d'amore" in Bad Kissingen. In 2014, she sang in a Christmas Concert for the President of Germany along with soprano Diana Damrau and the Staatskapelle Dresden, conducted by Patrick Lange and broadcast by the ZDF.
Sumi has further performed Mozart's Requiem with the Netherlands Radio Orchestra conducted by Markus Stenz at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Christian Jost’s "Dichterliebe" recomposed at the Tongyeong International Music Festival as well as "Puzzles and Games" from Alice in Wonderland by Unsuk Chin under the baton of Christophe Eschenbach. Recent appearances include two concert performances of Puccini’s "La Bohème" with the Seoul-based KBS Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra under Markus Stenz, concert performances of Beethoven’s "Fidelio" with the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and Christian Jost’s "Dichterliebe" recomposed with the Staatsorchester Saarbrücken.
During the current opera season Sumi Hwang can be heard as Mimì ("La Bohème") and Micaëla ("Carmen") at Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, whereas on the concert stage she will appear as soloist in Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. Furthermore, she will give her highly-awaited debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in the frame of a world premiere commissioned to the Korean composer Kay Kyurim Rhie.