Yeol Eum Son

Piano

Artistic Director – Music in PyeongChang

Biography

Multi-award-winning South Korean pianist Yeol Eum Son is famed for her power, her poetry and her remarkably perceptive playing. Her graceful and timeless interpretations, crystalline touch and versatile, thrilling performances have caught the attention of audiences worldwide. She is highly regarded as a brilliant virtuoso whose playing has a rare balance between enormous kinetic energy and substantial gravity. Yeol Eum performs all over the world as a recitalist and soloist with orchestras. An avid chamber musician, in 2018 Yeol Eum was appointed Artistic Director of Music in PyeongChang. Festival being responsible for programming both summer and winter editions at the Olympic site in PyeongChang.

Praised for her widely eclectic and rich concerti repertoire, ranging from Bach, all-Mozart, early German and Russian Romantic to Gershwin, Szymanowski, Ligeti and Salonen, as a soloist Yeol Eum has collaborated with major ensembles worldwide such as New York Philharmonic, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Dresdner Philharmoniker, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken, Tonkunstler Orchestra at the Grafenegg Festival, Bergen Philharmonic, CBSO, Aurora Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, KBS Symphony Orchestra, Moscow Virtuosi, St. Petersburg, Belgrade, Zagreb, Sofia Philharmonic and RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra among many others.

Read more

Recent News

Yeol Eum Son Embarks on Four Cities Australian Debut Tour This Summer

Pianist Yeol Eum Son began her Australian debut tour with a recital performance for the 2022 Harris International Piano Series in Adelaide on 19 August. The programme featured an eclectic programme comprised of Guillaume’s 3 Pièces for Piano, Stravinsky’s The Firebird...

Yeol Eum Son Debuts with Sinfonieorchester Basel

Following a highly successful Basel debut with the Belcea String Quartet at Gare du Nord earlier this season, Yeol Eum Son returns to Basel for her debut with Sinfonieorchester Basel on 1 and 2 June at Stadtcasino Basel, performing Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G...

Reviews

‘Korean pianist Yeol Eum Son played Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D Minor, K.466, with light, fine-pointed energy and agile precision, the whole buoyed by an engaging musical spirit.’

Peter McCallum

Sydney Morning Herald

“They were joined by the South Korean pianist, Yeol Eum Son, for Salonen’s 2007 three-movement Concerto. Written originally for the Israeli-American pianist Yefim Bronfman, it is consequently robust, physically intense and fiercely virtuosic. Eum Son had no problems making it her own, matching its muscular demands with a gracefulness that was mostly effective in the numerous conversations the soloist engages in with single instruments.”

Ken Walton

Vox Carnyx

The best performances of Nikolai Kapustin’s through-composed jazz-influenced works come from that rare breed of pianists who possess both a transcendental classical technique and a feel for jazz time keeping. Yeol Eum Son is one of those pianists … Small wonder that Kapustin himself encouraged Son’s advocacy. A delectable and sonically superb addition to the Kapustin discography.

Jed Distler

Classics Today

…
Son was astonishingly dextrous in Ravel’s one-handed dashes up and down the keyboard, but also balanced a granitic power with a sense of melting poetry, her solo passages exquisitely shaped and delivered with calm conviction…

David Kettle

The Scotsman

…The young pianist doesn’t show her virtuosity as flamboyantly as other young musicians because she is entirely wrapped up in interpreting the composer’s ideas. She has a brilliant, crystal clear articulation, typical of which was her bringing out the nimbly pronounced sardonic idea – backed by marvellous orchestral playing, yet again helped by splendid playing from the wind section, with a burnished hue from the brass. The colourful jazz inflections from the contra-bassoon of Brjánn Ingason were shared throughout the orchestra. The march aroused a magical ambience with brilliance from both soloist and orchestra, creating the ultimate burst of colour in the closing bars. As an encore the magnificently gifted Son played Moszkowski’s Valse in E major Op.34, No.1: at last we could hear the Korean’s complete musicality in full!…

Gregor Tassie

Seen and Heard International

“Performing Chopin Piano Concerto No.2, Yeol Eum Son had power and passion, fireworks and drama aplenty, but for me the true magic was in the music’s more introverted passages. The opening of the slow movement was exquisite, with both orchestra and pianist seeming to explore the inner reaches of the soul. This movement was all about the joy of the journey, with the arrival almost an afterthought.”

Jo St Leon

Limelight Magazine

“A complete success… Yeol Eum Son gave a highly sensitive demonstration of her appreciation for contemporary repertoire, displaying incredible pianissimo on her instrument, which once again dazzled the almost full house.”

José M. Morate

Ritmo

“Next came Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major – this demanding work requires extraordinary concentration and virtuosity from the soloist. Yeol Eum Son impressively proved that she has these qualities with her spirited interpretation. With almost tender touches of the keys, Yeol Eum elicits the slightest sounds from the instrument, only to reach into the keys again in the next moment. The result was an exciting reproduction at the highest level. Therefore, it is not surprising that the pianist is a popular artist in the large concert halls.”

Marco Stücklin

The Opera Magazine

“The whizz-bangs came later. South Korean pianist Yeol Eum Son, who has previously collaborated with Wellber, has gained a reputation as a fine interpreter of Mozart, and on this performance it was easy to see why. Son mixed serenity with calm assertion, with a delicate but confident touch and an almost dream-like quality, particularly in the Andante, while also creating breathing space amongst all of Mozart’s technical intricacies.” (BBC Proms Debut)

Mark Thomas

Bachtrack

“The pianist Yeol Eum Son’s expressive pedal work, spacious cadenzas and fearlessly fast articulation drew the ears forward to Beethoven’s first and second Piano Concertos, closing the gap between the two composers.”

Anna Picard

The Times

More Reviews

“Son’s execution of the solo part was sparkling” (BBC Proms Debut)

Anna Picard, The Times

…this stunning performance of his 5th piano concerto with the orchestra led by Andrew Manze, the principal guest conductor, and Yeol Eum Son, the award-winning South Korean soloist, making her debut in Liverpool, was outstanding…Yeol Eum Son throughout demonstrated the technical excellence partnered with lyrical sensitivity that have made her one of the most sought-after concert pianists in a virtuoso performance that was much appreciated by the audience.

– Johanna Roberts, North West End

 

“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, Der Tagesspiegel

 

“There were times when the orchestra threatened to crush the delicacy of Yeol Eum Son’s playing in Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, but the Korean pianist bit back with some astonishing playing. The mighty opening cadenza roiled around in the Steinway’s depths and her articulation in the jazzier sections was crisp. Bluesy muted trombone ushered the orchestra into Ravel’s hypnotic, Boléro-like groove, Tortelier leading them with boisterous swagger. Yeol Eum Son entranced in the concerto’s more intimate moments, as she did in her beautifully poised Godowsky encore – also for left hand alone…”

– Mark Pullinger, Bachtrack

“Yeol Eum Son, a model of clarity and fleetness… a winning album all round.” – Mozart Piano Concerto No. 21 (Onyx)

The Times

…this was a performance of Ravel’s Left-Hand Concerto of great strength, phenomenal (left-hand) technique and complete grasp of the Ravel sound-world.
The rapport between herself and Tortelier was miraculous – and how fabulous were the double bassoon solos, so attractively phrased. But it was Son’s playing that took the breath away, dignified, fluent, creating the most melting of sounds from her Steinway, producing suave glissandi and wondrous pedal-free staccatos. She found, and relished, the jazz overtones of the piece, too, while the cadenza positively glowed…”

– Colin Clarke, Planet Hugill

 

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.”

Washington Post

 

…It is also a piece (Ravel for the Left Hand) that is very eloquent with the bass sonorities of the orchestra — double bassoon, bass clarinet and the string basses — as well as the lower notes of the keyboard. All of this was exquisitely clear in a wonderful performance by the soloist with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra…”

– Keith Bruce, The Herald, Scotland

X