Yeol Eum Son
Artistic Director – PyeongChang Music Festival & School
Yeol Eum Son’s graceful and timeless 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 under Mikko Franck, and Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra under Valery Gergiev amongst others.
In the 2017-18 season, Yeol Eum made distinguished UK debuts in Birmingham with the CBSO and Omer Meir Wellber (Mozart Piano Concerto No 21) and at London’s Cadogan Hall with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields (Mozart Piano Concerto No 8 & 21). London debut coincided with Onyx CD release of a highly acclaimed all-Mozart recording featuring Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.21 with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields under Sir Neville Marriner for whom it was the very last recording. According to The Times Yeol Eum Son is a model of clarity and fleetness whilst Gramophone called the recording an uncommonly fine Mozartian debut.Read more
Distinguished debut highlights of 2018-19 season feature engagements at Grafenegg Festival with The Tonkunstler Orchestra (Mozart Piano Concerto No.20) and Dresdner Philharmoniker (Prokofiev Piano Concerto No.2) under Dmitrij Kitajenko. In the current season, Yeol Eum also makes Swiss concerto debut with Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under Susanna Mälkki (Mozart Piano Concerto No. 23). Together with Orchestre de la Suisse Romande Yeol Eum will appear in Seoul Arts Centre under the baton of Jonathan Nott (Schumann Piano Concerto). Yeol Eum will also return to Gürzenich-Orchester Köln (Chopin Piano Concerto No 2) under Pablo González. Strengthening her UK presence, Yeol Eum returns twice to London for a concerto debut at King’s Place with Aurora Orchestra under Nicholas Collon (Mozart Piano Concerto No.21) and for a chamber collaboration at Wigmore Hall with the cellist Natalie Klein. Further debuts include appearances at Moscow’s House of Music with Moscow Virtuosi under Maestro Spivakov (Mozart Piano Concerto Nos 13 & 21) and at Budapest Festival Orchestra under Dmitrij Kitajenko (Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.2).
A sensitive, emotional and powerful pianist, Yeol Eum gives frequent solo and chamber music performances across the globe. Most recent recitals include debuts with San Francisco Chamber Music Society, The Phillips Collection in Washington DC and Scottish recital debut at the East Neuk Festival for which The Scotsman presides Yeol Eum for having found that vital emotional connection with the music and physically embracing its raw energy and dynamic extremes with ferocious virtuosity. Future significant recitals include the Welsh debut at the Royal Welsh College of Music, Turkish debut with Istanbul Recitals and at Moscow’s House of Music. Yeol Eum also returns to the Helsingborg Piano Festival, International Piano Series in Switzerland and to Berlin for a chamber concert with Spectrum Concerts at Berlin Philharmonie Hall.
Yeol Eum’s new releases include two DECCA albums: recital CD Modern Times- featuring solo piano music written between 1910-1920 by Berg, Prokofiev, Stravinsky and Ravel, and Schumann and Brahms CD with violinist Clara-Jumi Kang. Previous albums include 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).
In 2018, Yeol Eum was appointed Artistic Director of PyeongChang Music Festival & School in her native Korea where she is responsible for programming both summer and winter festivals at the Olympic site in PyeongChang. Yeol Eum is Honorary Ambassador of the Seoul Arts Center and her home city of Wonju. 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 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.
Pianist Yeol Eum Son makes her Swiss Concerto debut with Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under the baton of Susanna Mälkki on 20th and 21st March. She will perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major at Geneva’s Victoria Hall (20 March) and Théâtre de Beaulieu...
Conductor Pablo González and pianist Yeol Eum Son return to the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln for three concerts at the Kölner Philharmonie on January 13th, 14th and 15th. The programme will feature Schumann Overture in C minor from Genoveva, Chopin Piano Concerto No. 2...
Yeol Eum Son made her debut at the Grafenegg Festival on Friday 7th September 2018, where she performed Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 to great acclaim. "The pianist Yeol Eum Son is one of the best pianists of our time... her interpretation was subtle, virtuosic, in...
“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)
“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
“Yeol Eum Son broke through the amazing harmony of Prokofiev again and again, proving an astonishing dexterity, which allowed to let off steam in endless cadences. The pianist even maintained a touch of Chopinean elegance – a touch only, otherwise the powerful virtuoso would certainly dominate this deluge of sound.”
Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten
“She certainly impresses, as the Variations are played with style and affection…K330 is perfectly poised in tempo and phase, expressive throughout…”
“The final toccata was dazzling, a preface to a simply phenomenal performance of Stravinsky’s Three Pieces from Petrushka. Son thunders the big, roof-raising stuff but interlaces it with crisp chords and single lines that get to the heart beneath the wood of Stravinsky’s tragic puppet. Her opening Gershwin was immensely likeable, too, laid-back but not without the necessary freedom of the right hand above the ragtime left. The encore, Moszkowski’s Etincelles (Sparks), a Horowitz favourite, was a perfect butterfly to conclude.”
The Arts Desk
“…a Chopin concert at the Aachen Musikhochschule, where the South Korean pianist Yeol Eum Son excelled…. The variations [in E major] on the song “Der Schweizerbub” passed splendidly and elegantly… A challenge for the pianist, who not only proved to be a consummate virtuoso, but interpreted every piece [24 Préludes op. 28] in a highly sensitive and often oppressively intense way….”
“The last was a dazzling tour de force [Stravinsky Three Movements from Petrushka], Yeol Eum finding that vital emotional connection with the music and physically embracing its raw energy and dynamic extremes with ferocious virtuosity. The encore – Moskowski’s effervescent Etincelles – was just as captivating, just as virtuosic.”
“Yeol Eum Son plays the concerto [Mozart Piano Concerto No 21] with a lightness and freedom that is most appealing…The broad and colourful Variations in C major on a theme by Nicolas Dezede ‘Lison dormait’ K264 is performed with a sassy cuteness and her playing is at times playful, energetic, jovial, subdued, flashy, vigorous and joyful as befits the variations… Yeol Eum brings the piece [Piano Sonata No. 10 in C major, K330] to life with neatly sprung rhythms, and inflects the piece with a splendid range of keyboard touch and appropriate colour… This is one of the finest debut discs I have recently encountered.”
“This is an uncommonly fine Mozartian debut.”
“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.”