London-based Sunwook Kim came to international recognition when he won the prestigious Leeds International Piano Competition in 2006, aged just 18, becoming the competition’s youngest winner for 40 years, as well as its first Asian winner. His performance of Brahms’s Concerto No.1 with the Hallé Orchestra and Sir Mark Elder in the competition’s finals attracted unanimous praise from the press.
Future highlights include recitals at the International Piano Series in London (Queen Elizabeth Hall), at the Roque d’Antheron International Piano Festival, at the Salle Pleyel’s prestigious “Piano 4 Etoiles” series in Paris, in Aix-en-Provence, and at the Seoul Arts Centre. As a concerto soloist, he returns to the Philharmonia Orchestra (Mozart K491 with Edward Gardner), the Hallé Orchestra (Chopin 2, Prokofiev 3 and Brahms 2 with Sir Mark Elder), the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (Beethoven Triple and Rachmaninov 3 with Kiril Karabits), the RTSI Orchestra in Lugano (Beethoven 3 with Vladimir Ashkenazy), the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France (Unsuk Chin piano concerto), as well as a debut project with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen on tour in Korea (Schumann with Paavo Järvi) and extensive touring in Europe and the United States with the Seoul Philharmonic and Myung-Whun Chung.
Sunwook Kim’s second recording for Deutsche Grammophon, featuring Unsuk Chin’s Piano Concerto with the Seoul Philharmonic and Myung-Whun Chung, was released in May 2014. In 13/14, Sunwook also gave the world premiere performance of the work at a festival dedicated to Unsuk Chin at the Konserthuset in Stockholm, and the German premiere with the NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg.
The past two years were packed with many other exciting developments for Sunwook, including an acclaimed debut at the BBC Proms (Beethoven 3 with Bournemouth Symphony / Kiril Karabits), return projects with the London Symphony Orchestra (Prokofiev 2 with Daniel Harding), Helsinki Radio Symphony (Beethoven 4 with Andrew Manze), Philharmonia Orchestra (Beethoven 4 with Juraj Valcuha) and the Seoul Philharmonic (Beethoven 5 with Myung-Whun Chung), as well as recitals at Salle Pleyel in Paris, to a sold-out house at Teatro Colon Buenos Aires, at the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn and on tour in Japan. He also completed a widely praised complete Beethoven sonata cycle at the LG Arts Centre in Seoul, and his debut recording, featuring Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto, was released on Deutsche Grammophon.
Sunwook Kim is a keen chamber musician: chamber music highlights in his 13/14 season included two Schubert concerts at Salle Pleyel with members of the Berliner Philharmoniker, and several concerts at Guy Braunstein’s Rolandseck Festival in Germany. Next season will feature a trio tour in Asia with Jian Wang and Mayuko Kamio, a piano quartet project with Nobuko Imai, and a duo recital tour with cellist Isang Enders.
Over the years, Sunwook Kim has appeared as a concerto soloist in the subscription series of some of the world’s most prestigious orchestras: the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Chung), London Symphony Orchestra (Gardiner), Philharmonia Orchestra (Ashkenazy), Berlin Radio Symphony (Janowski), London Philharmonic (Sinaisky), Radio-France Philharmonic (Chung), Tokyo Philharmonic (Chung), NHK Symphony (Steffens), BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Philharmonic, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, and the Aspen Festival Orchestra.
Recitals to date include the Wigmore Hall in London, regular appearances in the “Piano 4 Etoiles” series at Salle Pleyel in Paris, Kioi Hall in Tokyo, Symphony Hall Osaka, Brussels Klara Festival, Brussels Summer Festival, Beethoven-Haus and Beethovenfest in Bonn, Klavier-Festival Ruhr and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festspiele, the Dinard Festival in France, the London and Vancouver Chopin Societies, New York’s International Keyboard Institute, the New Ross International Piano Festival in Ireland, the Duszniki Zdrój International Chopin Festival in Poland as well as the Tongyeong International Music Festival and Kumho Rising Stars Series in Korea.
Born in Seoul in 1988, Sunwook Kim began the piano at the age of 3. He gave his debut recital aged just 10 at the Kumho Prodigy Series in Seoul, and this was followed by his concerto debut two years later.
Sunwook Kim graduated from the Korean National University of Arts in February 2008, and then completed an MA in conducting at the Royal Academy of Music. Besides Leeds, international awards include the first prize at the 2004 Ettlingen Competition (Germany) and the 2005 Clara Haskil Competition (Switzerland).
In 2013, Sunwook was selected by the Beethoven-Haus Bonn to become the first beneficiary of its new Mentoring Programme, a status which grants him exclusive access to the house’s unique collections and resources.