Clara Jumi Kang, latest darling of classical music

SOUTH KOREA - Twenty-six-year-old Clara Jumi Kang was 5 when she was admitted to the Mannheim Musikhochschule as the youngest student ever accepted to study under Valery Gradov.

Brought up in a music-filled environment ― her father is the famed Wagnerian bass singer Philp Kang and her mother is the equally noted soprano Han Min-hee ― the violinist climbed steadily to the top.

At five, she made her debut with the Hamburg Symphony and at seven she was accepted at the Juilliard School to study under Dorothy Delay with a full scholarship. She won the Seoul International Competition in 2009, Sendai International Music Competition and International Violin Competition of Indianapolis in 2012. The latter is one of the three most prestigious events in the music world. And ever since then, she has captured the ears and eyes of classical music lovers.

Kang dares to try all different types of music ― from powerful Russian works to the romantic Saint-Saens, she handles it all with caution and confidence. "Kang has everything ― she has the right technique, the right moves, understands and interprets each piece with depth … And above all, she really enjoys being on stage, which is something that you cannot teach. She is confident and knows what she is doing," said Kim Young-wook, an honorary professor at Seoul National University. Kim and a group of musical experts named Kang the Kumho Musician of the Year earlier this month.

This year, Kang will perform in Bangkok in February and Tokyo in May, all in between concerts in Korea. "Kang rules her musical world and I am sure that she will make people around the world proud," said Lee Kang-sook, former president of the Korea National University of Arts.