Guitarist Junhong Kuang became a genuine child prodigy, performing almost 100 concerts by the time he turned 15. Two years later, he became the youngest prizewinner in the history of Germany's prestigious ARD Music Competition.
Kuang was born in China in 1999. He did not take up the guitar until age nine, studying with Xu Bao in the city of Chengdu. By 2011, he had already won first prize in the Thailand International Guitar Competition. At 12, he became the dedicatee of a new work, China Sings!, by composer Gerald Garcia. Kuang concertized widely in China in his early teens, performing concertos with the Symphony Orchestra of Dance and Theatre in Beijing, the Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Sichuan Conservatory of Music Symphony Orchestra. Abroad, he gave the opening concert at the International Guitar Symposium in Iserlohn, Germany, in 2014. He made his U.S. debut at Carnegie Hall, and at 15, he was accepted into the guitar program at Johns Hopkins University's Peabody Institute, entering the studio of guitarist Manuel Barrueco. While in school, Kuang continued to perform, appearing with the Sinfonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, among others. Kuang gave solo recitals in both the U.S. and China, appearing in Baltimore, Miami, and the Shanghai Oriental Art Center. He took first prize at the Yale Gordon Concerto Competition in 2016, and at the ARD Music Competition the following year, he won the Audience Prize and the IFP Music Prize, becoming the competition's youngest prizewinner ever.
Kuang has also begun a recording career. A group of his performances at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music was issued as part of the Naxos label's "Laureate Series" in 2014, featuring music by Bach, Albéniz, Granados, and others. He returned in 2020 on Naxos with a recording of Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez and Manuel Ponce's Concierto del Sur, along with Garcia's China Sings!