Sungji Hong's music has been described as "a work of iridescent freshness" (BBC Music Magazine), "the sound is utterly luminous" (Fanfare Magazine), "a virtuoso exploration of the technical and sonorous possibilities" (Daily Telegraph), and "the harmonies and fluid dynamics were modern" (The New York Times).
In 2022 she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Also, in 2022, she was elected as an Associate by the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM) upon its 200th anniversary. This designation is made to Academy alumni who "have distinguished themselves in and made a significant contribution to their music career." Hong has received commissions from the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University (2004/2019), the National Flute Association, Texas Flute Society, the MATA Festival, iSing Silicon Valley, the Tongyeoung International Music Festival (2005/2007), Kumho Asiana Cultural Foundation, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, and commissioning funds from New Music USA, among many others. Her Missa Lumen de Lumine on the ECM New Series (ECM 1929), performed by the Grammy-winning vocal ensemble Trio Mediaeval, received critical acclaim and reached the top ten on the Billboard Classical Chart and iTunes classics.
Her compositions include works for solo instruments, orchestra, chorus, ballet, and electroacoustic media with special interest on timbre and pre-determined pitch structures. Her musical language is colorful with a wealth of imagery and exquisite delicacy. Sungji's music has been performed by leading players and ensembles in over 47 countries and 213 cities at such venues as the Carnegie Hall (New York), Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), Merkin Hall (New York), Herbst Theatre (San Francisco), Gewandhaus (Leipzig), Konzerthaus (Berlin), Flagey (Brussels), Queen Elizabeth Hall (London), Temple Church (London), Athens Concert Hall (Athens), Muziekgebouw (Amsterdam), Cantacuzino Palace (Bucharest) and National Theatre 'Opera and Ballet' (Ljubljana).
Her music has been widely broadcast in more than 17 countries (57 channels, including BBC Radio 3, SWR 2, DLF, MDR FIGARO, WNYC 2, RDP-Antena 2, HRT 3, ERT, YLE Radio 1, ABC CLASSIC FM, and others) and has been recorded and released on the Soundbrush, Elektramusic, Atoll, Dutton labels, Universal Music Korea and by ECM Records. Her music is published by Tetractys Publishing in the UK.
Sungji has received 54 distinctions for her compositions, including the Kazimierz Serocki (1st Prize), the Franz Josef Reinl-Stiftung (1st Prize), Magistralia (1st Prize), Ilshin Composition Prize (1st Prize), In Nova Musica Competition (1st Prize), Jesus Villa Rojo (1st Prize), European Competition of the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki (1st Prize), Temple Music Composition Prize (1st Prize), Crwth Competition (1st Prize), the international competition for original ballet music at the ISCM World Music Days – Slovenia (1st Prize), Montserrat International Camera Music Composition Competition (1st Prize), Theodore Front Prize (IAWM), Yoshiro Irino Memorial Prize (ACL), and Christian Fellowship of Art Music Composers Scholarship.
Sungji Hong studied composition with Kyungsun Suh at Hanyang University in Seoul. Subsequently, she completed her MMus with Robert Saxton and Paul Patterson at the Royal Academy of Music in London, respectively, and also with Michael Finnissy, and her Ph.D. in composition with Thomas Simaku, John Stringer, and Nicola LeFanu at the University of York in the UK. She has participated in various workshops and masterclasses such as Voix Nouvelles (Royaumont) and in Darmstadt, where she studied with Brian Ferneyhough, Jonathan Harvey, Tristan Murail, and Toshio Hosokawa, as well as the International Mastercourse and Workshop for Conductors and Composers with Peter Eötvös and Zsolt Nagy in Herrenhaus Edenkoben.