Steinway & Sons Teachers Hall of Fame Inductee
On her fourth birthday, pianist Florence Ko received her very first piano lesson from her mother and never looked back. At age five, she officially enrolled in classical piano training. Growing up in her native Taiwan, Florence performed extensively in Asia and in the United States, playing in concertos and chamber music ensembles with different orchestras including the Kaohsiung Symphony, Taipei Philharmonic Chamber Music, the Formosa Chamber Orchestra, Philadelphia university of the arts orchestra, New York City Symphonic Orchestra, CUNY Symphony, at celebrated venues such as the National Taiwan Concert Hall, the Taiwan Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Lincoln Center, CNN, Kennedy Concert Hall, and Carnegie Hall. Along the way, she garnered an array of awards from the Taiwan Concert Artist Guild, Taiwan Zhongshan International Arts Festival, Taiwan National Concert Hall Music Industry, Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association, Pennsylvania Music Association, and the Aspen Music Festival Music Scholarship.
Florence received her undergraduate degree from the National Taiwan University of the Arts and subsequently came to the US for graduate education on a scholarship from the Taiwanese government, majoring in piano performance under the tutelage of Abby Simon at the City University of New York. She later pursued doctoral studies and performed in masterclasses with Byron Janis, Ruth Slenczynska, among others.
As an active member of the Music Teachers National Association, the North Carolina Federation of Music Clubs as well as the Raleigh/Chapel Hill/Durham/Apex Music Associations, Florence has organized over a hundred community concerts and student recitals over the past 15 years. More recently, she was named a Steinway & Sons Top Music Educator and was invited to judge at the United Nations Global Talent Awards Ceremony and at the Steinway Hall Competition. As a result of her contribution to the local music scene, she became one of 43 piano teachers in the nation to be inducted into the inaugural class of the Steinway & Sons Teacher Hall of Fame.
Through the years, Florence's students have done extremely well in local, regional and national piano competitions hosted by the Music Teachers National Association, winning state and national first prizes on many occasions. As a result, her students have been invited for solo performances with the Winston Salem Symphony, the Tar River Orchestra, the Chapel Hill Orchestra, the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, and the Hampton Roads Philharmonic.
Being a strong proponent of cultural exchange, Florence was actively involved in programs such as the Asia Music/Culture Season and the Taiwan-Korea Classical Music Exchange Series. She has also helped advance music education worldwide, performing at the concert commemorating the Seventieth Anniversary of China's Victory in World War II and hosting a series of piano- instruction seminars as well as a masterclasses tour in China. Moreover, she has conducted piano seminars in Beijing, at Duke University and at the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, where she is a board member. In 2019, Florence became Co-Director, alongside luminaries such as Gary Graffman, of the USA IMAE Piano Festival & Competition