Charlene Insun Chi

1974 -

Charlene Chi, an acclaimed Mezzo-Soprano, is an active performer of operatic, concert, and chamber repertoire. She was born in Toronto, Canada, on November 26, 1974, the youngest of three children of Paul Inhwan Chi, a Korean Tenor, and Corinne Sunji Cho, a Soprano who also plays piano. Although she spent her musical childhood in Toronto, her adult training and professional experience occurred primarily in the United States and Europe.    

Although known today for her accomplishments as a singer, her early musical training included piano for fourteen years and violin for eight years, both in Russian Methodology in Toronto. After her family emigrated to Portland, Oregon, she began to attend Portland Adventist Academy and studied flute formally. She was heavily involved with the Concert Band and Chorale, under the direction of Linda Neel.  With Neel\'s encouragement, she began to study voice with Dr. Harold Lickey. 

Serious vocal study continued at Pacific Union College and La Sierra University with Ted Von Pohle and Dr. William Chunestudy. Charlene graduated from La Sierra University in Riverside, California, with a B.A. in Voice in 1997.  

Following her undergraduate training, she was a student teacher at Portland Adventist Academy where she assisted Linda Neel, long time conductor of award-winning choirs and bands. Charlene was particularly successful in conducting the large choir. She then used her education and training in piano, violin, and flute to teach at the K-12 classroom level at Mile High Academy in Denver, Colorado, where she served for two years as chair of the program and conducted its choirs, orchestra, and concert band.  

During her graduate training, Charlene took lessons with Dame Ellen Faull, Dr. Timothy Mussard and Elizabeth Mosher.  She then continued her graduate study at the University of Southern California, where she completed a D.M.A. in 2009 in Vocal Performance. Her academic fields were Sacred Music, Ethnomusicology, and Art History, taken under the tutelage of Gary Glaze.  She taught voice at USC to both undergraduate and graduate students and has also performed as an alto soloist in oratorios, masses and requiems by Handel, J.S. Bach, Haydn, Mendelssohn and Duraflé.

In 2005 Charlene made her operatic debut with Opera Santa Barbara as Suor Infermiera, in Puccini\'s Suor Angelica. She has since also performed over fourteen roles including Carmen, Dorabella, Mélisande, Vanessa, Orfeo, Romeo, Siebel, and the Old Maid, in both full productions and opera scenes at both UC Santa Barbara and USC\'s Thornton School of Music. 

From 2006 to 2010, while living in the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara areas, she was active as a performer and gave solo and chamber concerts in the Pacific Northwest, Denver, Canada, Korea, Germany, and Italy.  In 2009, Charlene was a competition winner of the Beverly Hills Chamber Music Series. She was a first-prize winner of the Bohemian Opera Association of Los Angeles vocal competition and a recipient of the highly-acclaimed Léni Fé Bland Vocal Scholarship. She was a featured soloist at the Memorial Ceremony held that year in Los Angeles for the late President of South Korea, Kim Dae-Jung, where she had the honor of premiering a solo cantata composed for the occasion.  Charlene was an adjunct professor in voice at Hope International University in Fullerton, CA. 

She had previously been honored with numerous awards such as the USC Jeannette MacDonald Opera Scholarship, Marilyn Horne Scholarship for Vocal Performance, Flora L. Thornton Endowed Voice Scholarship Award, and the Arques Charitable Trust Fellowship. Charlene received a special congressional recognition from the United States House of Representatives and the County of Los Angeles for her active involvement as a performer in the cultural musical development of the Korean-American community.

In April 2010 Charlene debuted as the alto soloist for Beethoven\'s Symphony No. 9 to a full house at the legendary Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California. In 2014 she was honored to be only the second singer ever to record her debut CD in the world famous Fazioli Concert Hall in Sacile, Italy. 

In 2017 Charlene had the pleasure and honor of appearing as the mezzo soloist along with SDA soprano Angela Brown in Verdi\'s Requiem, with the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra & Oahu Choral Society, along with choruses of the University of Hawaii & BYU Hawaii. In the previous year, she had collaborated with the same ensembles, appearing as the alto soloist in the Bach Magnificat.

She recently was a guest soloist in Rome\'s Basilica de Santa Maria del Popolo, performing Pergolesi\'s Stabat Mater with three women\'s choruses, conducted by Maestro Fabrizio Fucile. She also collaborated in a concert with celebrated Vatican organist Maestro Giancarlo Libertucci, which presented the newly restored and historically significant organ and mural in Bologna. 

In 2020 Charlene was delighted to be the newest addition to the vocal department at San Diego State University\'s School of Music and Dance, before marrying and relocating to northern Italy. 

Presently, Charlene resides in Bend, Oregon, and is the newest member of the vocal faculty at Central Oregon Community College. She continues to perform actively while focusing on her young children and supporting her husband\'s dental practice. She volunteers teaching music at the SDA school in Bend. 

Charlene loves to explore the nearby mountains with her husband Paul, a LLU dentist and childhood sweetheart, and their children Natalia, Kaleia and Callan - all of whom are actively involved in music.


Sources: Information provided by Charlene Chi, June 2011, December 2022, January 2023; online references; personal knowledge.


Charlene I. Chi, DMA.