Nicky Sohn was born in Seoul, Korea in 1992. She began practicing piano and studying music from a very young age; after moving around a lot with her parents in the southern part of the country, she graduated high school early and went to Mannes School of Music in New York City at the age of 16. She initially studied piano performance but switched to composition; after graduating from Mannes in 2014, she obtained her master's degree at Julliard, completing it in 2016. Afterward, she moved to LA to study at UCLA. During this time, she took upon numerous commissions from various institutions, including the Stuttgart Ballet in Germany as well as the National Theater of Korea; she also garnered various honors in competitions and festivals across the country as well as in Europe. After living in Berlin for a short period of time, she came to Houston in 2019 to pursue her doctorate in composition at Rice's Shepherd School of Music. So far in Houston, she's taken commissions from arts institutions (such as the Contemporary Arts Museum and the Moody Center for the Arts) across the city as well as through the DaCamera Young Artist Program, through which she's also participated in various community music programs. In this interview, Sohn discusses moving a lot, her relationship with her parents and home country, her education, the prejudices she's encountered in the art music world, her working process for and learning experiences with composing, the fun of collaboration, what it means to be a "Korean" composer, her extramusical hobbies and life during quarantine, music she loves, and more.
View interview transcript PDF — Full interview materials on Rice Digital Scholarship