Yeol Eum Son
Artistic Director – PyeongChang Music Festival & School
A double Second Prize winner at the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in 2011 and at the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2009, Yeol Eum Son’s graceful interpretations, crystalline touch and versatile, thrilling performances have caught the attention of audiences worldwide.
Praised for her widely eclectic concerti repertoire, ranging from Bach and all-Mozart to Shchedrin and Gershwin, her recent concerto highlights include appearances with the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, Konzerthausorchester Berlin and Bergen Philharmonic under the baton of Dmitrij Kitajenko, a debut Paris date with Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Mikko Franck, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra under Valery Gergiev, Seoul Philharmonic and European tour with KBS Symphony Orchestra.
In the 2017-18 season, Yeol Eum makes distinguished UK debuts in Birmingham with the CBSO and Omer Meir Wellber (Mozart Piano Concerto No 21) and London’s Cadogan Hall with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields (Mozart Piano Concerto No 8 & 21). Further significant debuts beyond 2017-18 season include appearances at Grafenegg Festival with The Tonkunstler Orchestra (Mozart Piano Concerto No.20) and Dresdner Philharmoniker (Prokofiev Piano Concerto No 2) under Dmitrij Kitajenko; Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under Susanna Mälkki (Mozart Piano Concerto No 23); Budapest Festival Orchestra under Dmitrij Kitajenko (Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.2); NHK Symphony Orchestra (Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 1) and Moscow’s House of Music with Moscow Virtuosi under Maestro Spivakov (Mozart Piano Concerto Nos 13 & 21).
A sensitive, emotional and powerful pianist, Yeol Eum gives frequent solo and chamber music performances around the world. In the current and future seasons, significant recitals include returns to the Helsingborg Piano Festival, Fribourg International Piano Series and debuts in Duisburg, Szczecin, East Neuk Festival and Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in the UK, San Francisco Chamber Music Society and The Phillips Collection in Washington DC in the States.
In the recording studio, spring 2018 will see the release (Onyx) of her recording of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.21, of which her performance at the 2011 Tchaikovsky Competition has reached nearly 10 million views on YouTube, with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and Sir Neville Marriner for whom it was the very last recording. In February 2016, Yeol Eum released a new DECCA album, Modern Times, featuring solo piano music written between 1910-1920 by Berg, Prokofiev, Stravinsky and Ravel. Her discography also includes her debut CD of complete Chopin Etudes (2004), Chopin Nocturnes for Piano and Strings (2008); prize-winning Cliburn Competition live performance (2009) and a multi-channel SACD O’ New World Music (2012).
Yeol Eum Son was a student of Arie Vardi at the Hochschule für Musik Theater und Medien Hannover in Germany, where she now lives. She holds a degree from the Korean National University of Arts. Yeol Eum is an honorary ambassador of the Seoul Arts Center and her home city of Wonju.
This week, pianist Yeol Eum Son releases her debut concerto album recorded with the Academy of St Martin in The Fields and Sir Neville Marriner. An all-Mozart concerto recording was the last Sir Neville Marriner recorded and has been selected by Classic FM as their...
Pianist Yeol Eum Son has been appointed the new Artistic Director of PyeongChang Music Festival & School, taking over from Myung-Wha Chung and Kyung-Wha Chung who have been at the helm of the Festival for the past seven years. Yeol Eum is the fourth artistic director...
Yeol Eum Son plays Beethoven in her hometown and talks to Peter Quantrill of Pianist magazine. Watching Yeol Eum Son on YouTube is one thing – and there’s a lot to see, from her winningly eager Mozart concerto at the Tchaikovsky Competition in 2011 to sundry chatshow...
“Yeol Eum Son… played with a dazzling range of dynamics, patiently giving each musical idea a semi-improvisatory spontaneity… With the first piece [Ravel’s Valses Nobles et Sentimentales] she took the listener by the collar and never let go, ranging from wispy and mysterious to a murky haze of sound in the smoky final waltz… Her showmanship came to the fore in the final work, Liszt’s “Mephisto Waltz No. 1, played with booming power and devilish ferocity in the cackling multi-trills and gossamer right-hand runs.”
“Yeol Eum Son, a model of clarity and fleetness… a winning album all round.” – Mozart Piano Concerto No. 21 (Onyx), 27th April 2018
“Shrouded by the orchestra’s romantic swooshing and whispering, [Yeol Eum Son] devotes herself to her dreaming, and Kitajenko follows her in absorbing the emotional impulses of the piano with seismographic sensitivity, to transmit the joint pulse, the joint breath to the entire orchestra . A musical experience of the deepest mutual understanding is portrayed, a truly magical moment.”
von Frederik Hanssen
“Marvellous, intense and boundlessly virtuosic…from the first crystal clear notes of Liszt’s La Leggierezza, pianist Yeol-Eum Son captured her audience. …[she] conjures joy and sophistication through her magical and expressive playing.
“Her phrasing was delicate, unhurried… She managed to emphasis the graceful playfulness of the first movement Allegro maestoso, while introducing something more profound in the Andante. Her touch was elegant and restrained, resisting the urge to dominate.”
“This evening’s concert is a sort of rehearsal with a beautiful discovery, the young pianist Yeol Eum Son, winner of the Tchaikovsky contest, in the unexpected Gershwin concerto. Jazz atmosphere and respect for the classical form for Gershwin’s Concerto in F for piano and orchestra of which the Korean pianist gives a playful and jubilant interpretation.”
“The Concerto’s Allegro reveals unbound seventh chords, becomes playful with syncopated chords and under Yeol Eum’s fingers never fails to link sincerity and lightness, sentiment and exaltation, eeriness and elegance. (…) The final Allegro gives the praise back to a virtuosic soloist, who slips melodies ‘à la Rachmaninov’ towards Lisztian soundscapes, keeping the humor in the piece. Well-deserved ovation for Yeol Eum Son, who offers Nikolai Kasputin’s Etude No. 7 Op. 40 as an encore – a piece as technical as it is languid.”