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Alison Chung, Associate Principal Oboe

Originally from the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Alison Chung joined the Kansas City Symphony beginning with the 2017/18 season. Previously she held positions with the Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet orchestras as well as the Grant Park Festival Orchestra. She has served as acting principal oboe of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Florida Orchestra, where she also was a featured soloist. Chung studied with Robert Morgan in Chicago and received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Eastman School of Music, studying with Richard Killmer. She continued her orchestral training as a fellow with the New World Symphony for three years and has attended numerous summer festivals including Spoleto, Sarasota, Music Academy of the West, Banff Centre for the Arts and National Repertory Orchestra. In her free time, Chung enjoys jogging in Loose Park, volunteering around the city, baking and writing a food blog.

Ten questions about me:

If you were to give advice to a young person who would want to follow your path, what would you say?

I would want them to know it took a great deal of dedication, patience, passion, sacrifice and resistance to rejection for me to get where I am today. I would advise that they record themselves often and to become good friends with their metronome and tuner. One thing I try not to forget is something my teacher had written on a poster in his studio. It said, “When in doubt, play beautifully,” because even though we strive for perfection, we can’t forget that we’re playing music.

What's your "top pick" for downtown dining, or for a post-concert drink or dessert?


Do you have a favorite composition you like to play, or listen to?

Any Brahms symphony.

Where is your favorite place to hang out?

Messenger Coffee

What is the best part about being a musician in the Kansas City Symphony?

Playing in Helzberg Hall! I came from a job playing in a pit orchestra so it's wonderful to be on stage now playing in a wonderful hall.

What is your Kansas City Barbecue "joint" of choice?


How did you choose your instrument?

I began music lessons on the piano when I was 3. When I started fifth grade, my mom wanted me to join band so I could learn an instrument that could play in an orchestra. She chose small instruments for my twin sister and me to choose from: the oboe and the clarinet. We took a lesson on each instrument and I chose the oboe since it had a unique sound.

What year did you join the Kansas City Symphony?

Fall 2017

What's on your ideal pizza?

Sausage and onions

When did you know you wanted to be a professional musician?

My two older sisters pursued music in college so it seemed natural to follow in their footsteps. I was pretty serious about music in high school and wanted to continue with my studies beyond high school since I loved it so much.