Unsuk Chin was born in Seoul in 1961. She first studied composition at the Seoul National University with Sukhi Kang, and from 1985 to 1988 she continued her studies under György Ligeti at the Hamburg Academy of Music with a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service. Her first prize at the 1985 Gaudeamus Competition in Amsterdam marked the beginning of an international career. In the years since then, Chin’s works have been performed by ensembles and orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, Ensemble intercontemporain, Ensemble Modern, the Kronos Quartet and the Arditti Quartet. Numerous festivals and concert halls have featured her music prominently in their programming. In 2007, Chin’s opera Alice in Wonderland was given its world première at the Bavarian State Opera as the opening of the Munich Opera Festival. Unsuk Chin has been composer-in-residence with institutions including the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Suntory Hall in Tokyo; during the current season, she is composer-in-residence at Philharmonie Essen. Performers of her works have included Simon Rattle, Kent Nagano, Peter Eötvös, David Robertson, Gustavo Dudamel, Neeme Järvi, Markus Stenz, Myung-Whun Chung, George Benjamin, Susanna Mälkki and Stefan Asbury. In 2004, Unsuk Chin was awarded the renowned
Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition, in 2005 she received the Arnold Schoenberg Prize, and she was awarded the Heidelberger Künstlerinnenpreis in 2007. Since 2006, Chin has overseen the contemporary music series of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, a series which she founded herself.