Dong-Wan Ha is a pianist from Seoul, South Korea. He began his piano studies at the age of seven and began to win several regional competitions. He continued studying piano with Mari Kwon at Sunhwa Arts High School in Seoul and achieved the school’s excellent performer awards. He received a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from Seoul National University in 2011, having studied with Hyoung-Joon Chang. He moved to the United States to pursue a Master of Music degree in piano performance and literature at Eastman School of Music, studying with Barry Snyder and working as an accompanist of the school. He continued the intensive study of two majors related to keyboard—solo piano with HaeSun Paik, and collaborative piano with Anita Pontremoli—at Cleveland Institute of Music, where he uniquely received double Artist Diploma in piano performance and collaborative piano at the same time. He studied with Alan Chow as a candidate with a full scholarship for Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Northwestern University, where he was a member of the school’s Contemporary Music Ensemble.
He has also been involved in renowned international summer music festivals such as Orford Music Academy, Ishikawa Music Academy, Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Masterclass, Music in PyeongChang, Music Academy of the West, Pianofest in Hamptons, and many others, where he was intensively taught by many distinguished artists including Đặng Thái Sơn, John Perry, Piotr Paleczny, Fumiko Eguchi, Jacques Rouvier, Pavel Gililov, Matti Raekallio, Stephen Hough, Jerome Lowenthal, Jeremy Denk, Leon Fleisher, Robert McDonald, Conor Hanick, Paul Schenly, James Giles, Andrea Bonatta, Pierre Réach, Jerome Rose, Tigran Alikhanov, Philip Jenkins, Françoise Thinat, Martino Tirimo, Joan Havill, Ronan O’Hora, Allan Schiller, Rudolf Meister, John Lill, Billy Eidi, and Sontraud Speidel.
During only one year in 2016, while he was surrounded by the scholarly atmosphere of Northwestern University, he also successfully advanced his global career as a rising concert pianist by winning plenty of international competitions, including the 1st prize from Paderewski International Piano Competition in Farmington, Connecticut, the 1st prize from Piana del Cavaliere International Piano Competition in Arsoli, Italy, the 1st prize from Kerikeri International Piano Competition in Kerikeri, New Zealand, the 1st prize from Delia Steinberg International Piano Competition in Madrid, Spain, the 1st prize from Neue Sterne International Piano Competition in Wernigerode, Germany, and the 3rd prize from International Baltic Piano Competition in Gdańsk, Poland. Following that prolific year, his has won the Orford Music Award in Orford, Canada, the Ishikawa Music Academy Award in Kanazawa, Japan, the 1st prize from Massarosa International Piano Competition in Massarosa, Italy, the 2nd prize from Ibiza International Piano Competition in Ibiza, Spain, and the 2nd prize from Nuova Coppa Pianisti International Competition in Osimo, Italy in 2017. In his early ages, he has won the 1st prize from Glasgow International Competition of Young Pianists in Glasgow, United Kingdom, and the 2nd prize (1st prizewinner not awarded) from Asia Chopin International Competition in Kawasaki, Japan.
He has appeared in several solo concerts including Kumho Young Chamber Concert at Seoul in 2009, Kumho Young Artists Concert at Seoul in 2010, the Conservatory Project at the Kennecy Center, D.C. as one of the representatives of his schools twice in 2014 and 2016, and his solo recitals at Halberstadt in Germany in 2016 and Arsoli in Italy in 2017, as well as numerous recitals at his schools. He has also performed piano concertos with Sunhwa Arts High School Orchestra, Prime Philharmonic Orchestra in Korea, Eastman School Symphony Orchestra in Rochester, New York, and with Northwestern University Chamber Orchestra in Evanston, Illinois.
Since late in the year of 2017, he has been forcefully returned to South Korea and terminated his passport due to the compulsory military service ordered by the South Korean government. Thanks to the severe hearing loss at his right ear from his early childhood, his military duty for the army has been transferred to the social service duty for one of the public offices. After his work for the public office to be finished in May, 2020, he will continue his international music career which the homeland has delayed.