Born in South Korea and raised in New Zealand, Gemma holds a Master of Music with First Class Honours from the University of Auckland. She received numerous awards and scholarships during her tertiary studies, including the Anne Bellam Scholarship, the University of Auckland Arts & Cultural Blues Awards, and the coveted Pettman/ROSL International Chamber Music Scholarship in 2011. Gemma has performed extensively in venues across the United Kingdom and Europe, including at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
As a collaborative pianist, Gemma has worked with numerous international talents, including mezzo-soprano Lucy Schaufer (USA), conductor Wyn Davies (UK), oboist Gordon Hunt (UK), and director Sara Brodie (NZ). A resident of the North Shore for the past 19 years, she has built a unique connection with the local music scene and is regularly seen working with talented students from Opera Factory and Takapuna Grammar School.
In 2013, Gemma collaborated with acclaimed Scottish writer Janice Galloway for the Auckland Writers Festival to the sold-out show Young Clara, exploring the early life of Clara Schumann. In 2014, Gemma gave the Austrian premiere of Luz Ultima for triple choir and piano by New Zealand composer David Hamilton at the Goldener Saal, Musikverein with Choralation choir of Westlake Boys' and Girls' High Schools, directed by Rowan Johnston.
Gemma was the first Pettman/DARE Scholar for Music Education in 2015 which resulted in a successful internship with Opera North in Leeds, UK. For her final project, she created and led the flagship music education project Opera Half Hour in association with NZ Opera, exploring the music and story of Mozart's The Magic Flute with 40 students from Gladstone Primary School in Mt Albert.
In 2016, Gemma returned to her alma mater to coordinate a range of events and exhibitions at the Faculty of Creative Arts & Industries, and received a Professional Staff Development Award in 2017. Nowadays, she splits her time between full-time events management and part-time marketing for the Lewis Eady Charitable Trust.
Photo by Dean Carruthers, 2013.