John Han was born in South Korea in 1994, where he began studying violin at the age of six. John later moved to New Zealand to study at the University of Auckland under the tutelage of Stephen Larsen, where he completed his bachelor’s degree in 2016.
John’s orchestral experience includes Principal Second Violin of the Love and Peace Orchestra and since 2014, he has been Associate Concertmaster of both the Manukau Orchestra and University of Auckland Chamber Orchestra. In 2016, John was appointed Associate Principal of the Jonathan Morton and Clio Gould Chamber Orchestra at the Pettman Academy of Music, working closely under their tutelage.
John has won numerous competitions, awards and scholarships in both Korea and New Zealand including Dong Baek International Competition, Tom and Anne Morris Violin Prize, Manukau Symphony Orchestra Scholarship Competition, Lewis Eady Scholarship, Stanley Forbes Award, University of Auckland Partnership Appeal Award and Anne Bellam Scholarship.
A keen chamber musician, John has founded many chamber ensembles including duets, piano trios, piano quartets, violin quartets, string quartets, and piano quintets. Recently, his piano quintet, Dohnani Quintet, was invited to play in Talent of Korea Gala Concert in New Zealand, and achieved highly in the University of Auckland Chamber Music Competition.
Outside performing, John enjoys teaching and playing sports. In his free time, he likes to go out and play football and basketball with his friends.
John’s place in Southbank Sinfonia is generously supported by Jenny Hodgson.
What is your favourite piece of music, and why do you love it?
Under the Pettman Academy of Music, Clio Gould and Jonathan Morton came to New Zealand for a week to coach and rehearse with Auckland University Chamber Orchestra. One of the pieces we played was Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht. In the first rehearsal, Jonathan told us about the story of the poem and he played the piece for us. I instantly loved the piece so much, even though he only played the first violin part: I could imagine the story by just listening to him play. It still gives me goosebumps when I listen to this music.
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us
I wasn’t going to play the violin for my career until the last year of high school. Because I was good at mathematics, I considered studying it in university. But because I loved music so much, I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else in the future and this is when I chose to play the violin for my future career.
What do you do with your time when you’re not playing music?
I play sports such as football and basketball. Every time I can’t focus on my practise, I play sports with my friends and it really helps to release the stress.