YEOL EUM SON, piano
Known for her historical achievement as a Korean pianist at the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in 2011, Pianist Yeol Eum Son’s graceful interpretations, crystalline touch, and versatile, thrilling performances have caught the attention of audiences worldwide.
A native of South Korea’s Gangwon Province, Ms. Son first drew international attention when she appeared as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Lorin Maazel on its 2004 tour of Asia. She was re-engaged to perform with the Philharmonic and Maestro Maazel in 2008. Ms. Son solidified her reputation in 2009, when she claimed both the silver medal and the Steven De Groote Memorial Award for the Best Performance of Chamber Music in the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. This was followed two years later by a second-prize win at the XIV Tchaikovsky International Music Competition in Moscow, where she also received awards for the Best Chamber Concerto Performance and Best Performance of the Commissioned Work composed by Rodion Shchedrin.
A favorite among international orchestras, Ms. Son has appeared with the Czech Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Tokyo Philharmonic, NDR Radiophilharmonie and Academy of St. Martin in the Fields as well as the NHK Symphony, St. Petersburg Academic Symphony, Svetlanov Symphony (former USSR State Symphony), Seattle Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony and the Mariinsky Theater Orchestra among others. In her home country of South Korea, she has performed with every major orchestra including the Seoul Philharmonic and the KBS Symphony. Ms. Son is also invited frequently to participate in international music festivals, including Beethoven Easter Festival, Rheingau Festival, Baltic Sea Festival, Ljubljana Festival, Portland Piano International and Bad-Kissingen Summer Music Festival where she became the winner of "Klavierolympiade 2008" to be chosen by Germany's best music critics.
Her prize-winning Cliburn Competition live performance recording released in 2009 by Harmonia Mundi joins her debut CD of the complete Chopin Etudes released in 2004 and of Chopin Nocturnes for Piano and Strings in 2008, both on the Universal Music label. In July 2012, she has released a multi-channel SACD on an independent Korean label “O’ New World Music.”
Highlights of her 2014–15 season include appearances with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra led by Valery Gergiev at the Rotterdam Gergiev Festival, and with the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern under the baton of Karel Mark Chichon at the Besancon Festival followed by Asia tour. She will also appear with the Tonkünstler-Orchesters Niederösterreich under Dmitri Kitajenko as well as the NDR Sinfonieorchester under Thomas Hengelbrock and the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra under Junichi Hirokami. In addition, she performs in Milwaukee, Chicago, New York, Tel Aviv, Bad-Kissingen and throughout Korea.
Yeol Eum Son currently studies with Arie Vardi at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover in Germany, where she now makes her home. She holds a degree from the Korean National University of Arts, under the guidance of Dae Jin Kim. She has also previously studied with Cheng-Zong Yin, one of China’s most prominent pianists. She also is an honorary ambassador both of the Seoul Arts Center and of her home city of Wonju, Korea. In addition to her busy performance schedule, she writes a monthly column for the Joong-Ang Ilbo, one of Korea’s most widely read newspaper.