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. Since then, he has established a reputation as one of the finest pianists of his generation, appearing as a concerto soloist in the subscription series of some of the world’s leading orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra (Gardiner, Harding), Concertgebouw Orchestra (Chung), Berlin Radio Symphony (Janowski), NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, Finnish Radio Symphony (Oramo, Manze, Sokhiev), Philharmonia Orchestra (Ashkenazy, Valcuha, Gardner), London Philharmonic (Sinaisky), Radio-France Philharmonic (Chung), NHK Symphony (Steffens), Hallé Orchestra (Elder), and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for his BBC Proms debut in Summer 2014.
In 14/15 he completed a highly acclaimed residency with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Since their Leeds finals together in 2006, Sunwook Kim has also enjoyed an ongoing relationship with the Hallé Orchestra and Sir Mark Elder. At the start of this season they gave a 6-concert tour together with Rachmaninov’s Concerto No.3, and they will record Brahms’s Piano Concertos No.1 & 2, to be released on Hallé’s own label. Other concerto highlights that season include a performance of Unsuk Chin’s Piano Concerto with the Radio-France Philharmonic at the prestigious Festival d’Automne in Paris, and debut projects with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen (Schumann with Paavo Järvi), Hamburger Symphoniker (Rachmaninov 3), Opera di Roma (Beethoven 4) and Hong Kong Sinfonietta (Brahms 1). In 16/17 he looks forward to debuts with the RTSI Orchestra in Lugano (Beethoven 3 with Vladimir Ashkenazy), the Guerzenich Orchestra in Cologne (Britten with Michael Sanderling) and a return to the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (Tchaikovsky with Kirill Karabits)
Recitals highlights to date include regular appearances in the “Piano 4 Etoiles” series at Salle Pleyel in Paris, as well as debuts at the Wigmore Hall, the London International Piano Series (Queen Elizabeth Hall), Stockholm Konserthuset, Teatro Colon Buenos Aires, La Roque d’Antheron International Piano Festival in France, Kioi Hall in Tokyo, Symphony Hall Osaka, Brussels Klara Festival, Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Klavier-Festival Ruhr and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festspiele. In 12/13, he presented a complete cycle of the Beethoven Sonatas at the LG Arts Centre in Seoul. Future recital plans include returns to the “Piano 4 Etoiles” series at the Philharmonie in Paris, the Beethovenhaus in Bonn, the Wigmore Hall in London, the Seoul Arts Centre, a debut at the Kammermusiksaal at the Philharmonie Berlin, and a tour in Japan.
Sunwook Kim’s debut recital disc was released on the Accentus label in October 2015, featuring Beethoven’s Waldstein and Hammerklavier sonatas and was followed in January 2016 by a second Accentus recital release with Cesar Franck’s Prelude, choral et fugue and Brahms’s Sonata No.3. His discography to date includes two concerto recordings, both on Deutsche Grammophon and with the Seoul Philharmonic conducted by Myung-Whun Chung: a CD featuring Unsuk Chin’s Piano Concerto (2014) which attracted outstanding reviews and awards from BBC Music Magazine and International Classical Music Awards, and a CD featuring Beethoven’s Concerto No.5 (2013).
Born in Seoul in 1988, Sunwook Kim began the piano at the age of 3. He gave his debut recital aged just 10, and this was followed by his concerto debut two years later. He 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.