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Yeol Eum Son


Yeoleum SonKorean pianist Yeol eum Son’s (Yadum Son) supple and graceful interpretations, crystalline touch, and versatile, thrilling performances have caught the attention of audiences worldwide and resulted in numerous top prizes at international competitions. Most recently, she was awarded the second prize at the XIV Tchaikovsky International Music Competition in Moscow, where she also received awards for Best Chamber Concerto Performance and Best Performance of the Commissioned Work. In 2009, Ms. Son 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.

A native of South Korea’s Kangwon Province, Ms. Son drew international attention when she appeared as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Lorin Maazel, performing Beethoven’sConcerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 19 on the Philharmonic’s historic tour to Seoul in 2008. She had previously performed Liszt’s Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major with the Philharmonic under Maestro Maazel on its 2004 tour of Asia.

A favorite among international orchestras, Ms. Son has appeared with the Israel Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, and Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestras as well as the Russian National Orchestra and Mariinsky Orchestra in Russia, NHK Symphony and Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestras in Japan, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Israel Camerata, and Sinfonietta Be’er Sheva in Israel, and the National Symphony Orchestra of the Dominican Republic. She has performed with the Seoul Philharmonic, KBS Symphony, and every other major orchestra in her home country of South Korea, and is also a regular among orchestras in the United States, performing with the Pacific Symphony, Utah Symphony, Evansville Philharmonic, Colorado Springs Philharmonic, and the orchestras of Greenville, Wichita, Syracuse, Hudson Valley, Hartford, Springfield (MO), and Columbus.

Ms. Son is invited frequently to participate in international music festivals, including Germany’s Bad-Kissingen Summer Music Festival where, in the summer of 2010, she replaced Leif Ove Andsnes in an acclaimed solo recital. She has also appeared in the Reingau Music Festival in Germany, Poland’s Beethoven Easter Festival in Krakow and Chopin Piano Festival in Duszniki-Zdrój, and the Portland, Bowdoin, Sanibel, and Ventura Music Festivals in the United States.

As a soloist and chamber musician, she has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, including performances with the Santa Fe Concert Association, Concert Association of Miami, the Barclay Theater, and the UVM Lane Series. Considered one of Korea’s most important pianists, Ms. Son was particularly honored to play at the 2007 welcoming concert for the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, at the U.N. General Assembly Hall in New York City.

Highlights of the 2011–2012 season include appearances with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Chamber Music Society with the Albers Trio, Carmel Center for the Performing Arts, and the Germantown Performing Arts Centre. Internationally, Ms. Son will perform with the St. Petersburg Academic Symphony Orchestra, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, and the Beethoven Easter Festival. She will appear with 2009 Cliburn Competition Co-Gold Medalist Nobuyuki Tsujii in reciprocal Japan-South Korea friendship concerts in support of disaster relief efforts in Fukushima, Japan. She will also perform in Zurich, Hannover, Augsborg, Tokyo, and throughout Korea.

In addition to her achievements at the Cliburn and Tchaikovsky Competitions, Ms. Son was the first place winner in Italy’s 2002 Viotti International Music Competition, as well as the winner of Germany’s Kissinger Klavierolympiade in Bad-Kissingen and the 2000 Ettlingen International Piano Competition. She also claimed third prize in the triennial Arthur Rubinstein International “Master” Piano Competition in 2005. Named Kumho Musician of the Year in 2005, Miss Son is now supported by SK Chemical.

A recording of her performance of Barber’s Sonata for Piano, Op. 26 and Debussy’s Preludes, Book 1 was released on the harmonia mundi usa label in 2009. This recording of her prize-winning Van Cliburn Competition performance joins her debut CD of the complete Chopin Etudes. Released in 2004 on the Universal Music label to critical acclaim, it was sold out within months and subsequently re-released. Her complete Cliburn Competition performances are available at Cliburn.tv, and complete Tchaikovsky Competition performances are available on paraclassics.com.

Yeol eum Son currently studies with Arie Vardi at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hannover in Germany, where she now makes her home. She holds a degree from the Korean National University of the Arts, where she studied with Dae Jin Kim. She has also previously studied with Cheng-Zong Yin, one of China’s most prominent pianists. In addition to her busy performance schedule, Ms. Son is an honorary ambassador both of the Seoul Arts Center and of her home city of Wonju, Korea. She writes regularly for the Joong-Ang Times, one of Korea’s most widely read publications.




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