Gold medallist of the Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Yekwon Sunwoo has been hailed for his “unfailingly consistent excellence” (International Piano) and celebrated as “a pianist who commands a comprehensive technical arsenal that allows him to thunder without breaking a sweat” (Chicago Tribune). A powerful and virtuosic performer, he also, in his own words, “strives to reach for the truth and pure beauty in music”.
The first Korean to win Cliburn Gold, Yekwon’s 2019–2020 season includes appearances with Fort Worth and Tuscon Symphonies and the Bucheon Philharmonic and debuts with Washington Chamber Orchestra, Royal Danish Orchestra and Danish Radio Orchestra amongst others as well as a debut appearance at the Vail Festival with Dallas Symphony. Recital highlights include Four Season Arts, San Antonio Arts and the Stadttheater Aschaffenburg. 2020–2021 will see Yekwon make his debut with Orchestra Chambre de Paris and Tugan Sokhiev and return to KBS Symphony with Jaap Van Zweden.
In previous seasons, he has performed as soloist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop, Houston Symphony, National Orchestra of Belgium, Sendai Philharmonic and Royal Scottish National Orchestra amongst others. Recital appearances include Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Elbphilharmonie, Salle Cortot and Kumho Art Hall.
An avid chamber musician, Yekwon’s collaborators include Benjamin Beilman, Linus Roth, Andrei Ioniță, Sebastian Bohren, Isang Enders, Tobias Feldmann, Gary Hoffman, Anne-Marie McDermott and the Jerusalem and Brentano Quartets. He has also toured Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama with the Kumho Asiana Cultural Foundation, performed at Chamber Music of Lincoln Center’s Inside Chamber Music Lectures and been invited to the Summit Music, Bowdoin International and Toronto Summer Music Festivals.
In addition to the Cliburn Gold Medal, Yekwon won first prizes at the 2015 International German Piano Award, the 2014 Vendome Prize held at the Verbier Festival, the 2013 Sendai International Music Competition and the 2012 William Kapell International Piano Competiton.
Born in Anyang, South Korea, Yekwon began learning the piano at the age of 8 and made his recital and orchestral debuts in Seoul at 15. His teachers include Seymour Lipkin, Robert McDonald, Richard Goode and Bernd Goetzke.
In 2017, Decca Gold released Cliburn Gold 2017 two weeks after Yekwon was awarded the Gold Medal and includes his award-winning performances of Ravel’s La Valse and Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Sonata.
A self-proclaimed foodie, Yekwon enjoys finding Pho in each city he visits and takes pride in his own homemade Korean soups.
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