Sunwook Kim


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. 

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News & Features


Concerto No 3

Concerto No 1
Concerto No 2
Concerto No 3
Concerto No 4
Concerto No 5
Triple Concerto

Concerto No 1
Concerto No 2

Concerto No 1
Concerto No 2

Concerto in A minor

Concerto No 9 K.271 in E flat
Concerto No 20 K.466 in D minor
Concerto No 21 K.467 in C
Concerto No 22 K.482 in E flat
Concerto No 23 K.488 in A
Concerto No 24 K.491 in C minor
Concerto No 27 K.595 in B flat

Concerto No 1

Concerto No 2
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

Concerto in G major

Concerto No 2

Concerto in A minor

Concerto No 1

Konzertstucke in F Minor, Op.79

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Lighthouse, Poole

BEETHOVEN:  Triple concerto for piano, violin and cello 

Anyn Merchant, violin; Jesper Svedberg, cello; Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kirill Karabits

The Anvil, Basingstoke

BEETHOVEN:  Triple concerto for piano, violin and cello 

Anyn Merchant, violin; Jesper Svedberg, cello; Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kirill Karabits

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Biographie en francais

Sunwook Kim vit à Londres depuis 2008. Sa carrière internationale prit son essor en 2006, lorsqu’il remporta le premier prix du prestigieux Concours International de Leeds, âgé de tout juste 18 ans. Son interprétation du 1er Concerto de Brahms avec le Hallé Orchestra dirigé par Sir Mark Elder lui avait valu les éloges unanimes de la presse musicale.

 Les évènement marquants parmis les récitals à venir de Sunwook Kim comprennent des récitals à Paris à la Salle Pleyel (série "Piano 4 Etoiles"), à Aix-en-Provence (Théâtre du Jeu de Paume), ainsi que dans les festivals de La Roque d’Anthéron, Paunat et de Biarritz. Internationalement, il apparaitra à Londres au Queen Elisabeth Hall (International Piano Series), au Wigmore Hall et au City of London Festival, ainsi qu'en tournée au Japon et dans son pays natal, la Corée du Sud.

 En soliste, Sunwook vient de se produire pour la seconde fois avec le London Symphony (Prokofiev 2 avec Daniel Harding). La saison prochaine il sera de retour avec le Philharmonia Orchestra (Concerto No.24 de Mozart avec Edward Gardner), le Hallé Orchestra (Brahms 1 et 2 avec Marl Elder), et sera Artiste-en-résidence avec le Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Il fera également ses débuts avec l'Orchestre de la NDR à Hambourg (création allemande du Concerto pour Piano de Unsuk Chin), l'Orchestre de la Radio Suisse Italienne (Beethoven 3 avec Ashkenazy) et se joindra à Myung-Whun Chung et l'Orchestre Philharmonique de Séoul pour des tournées en Europe et aux Etats-Unis (Beethoven 5).

 Sunwook Kim vient d'enregistrer le Concerto de Unsuk Chin pour Deutsche Grammophon avec l'Orchestre Philharmonique de Séoul et Myung-Whun Chung. Ce disque sortira en été 2014. Son premier disque, avec l'"Empereur" de Beethoven, est sorti en avril 2013, également chez Deutsche Grammophon.

 2013 fut une année riche en succès pour Sunwook, y compris ses débuts aux BBC Proms (Beethoven 3 avec le Bournemouth Symphony / Kiril Karabits), avec le London Symphony (Beethoven 4 avec John Eliot Gardiner), une création mondiale du Concerto pour Piano de Unsuk Chin à Stockholm, et des récitals à la Salle Pleyel, au Teatro Colon de Buenos Aires et à la Beethoven-Haus de Bonn. Il a également achevé un cycle complet des sonates de Beethoven au LG Arts Center à Séoul.

 Sunwook Kim est également un musicien de chambre prisé: ses projets futurs comprennent deux concerts Schubert à la Salle Pleyel avec des membres de la Philharmonie de Berlin, une tournée en quatuor avec Nobuko Imai, et une tournée en trio à cordes avec Jian Wang et Mayuko Kamio.

 Au fil des années, Sunwook fut l'invité des séries d’abonnement des meilleurs phalanges du monde: Orchestre du Concertgebouw d’Amsterdam (Chung), London Symphony Orchestra (Gardiner), London Philharmonic (Sinaisky), Philharmonia Orchestra (Ashkenazy, Ang, Valcuha), Orchestre de la Radio de Berlin (Janowski), Orchestre de la Radio de Finlande (Oramo, Sokhiev, Manze), Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France (Chung), Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Orchestre Symphonique de la NHK à Tokyo (Steffens), Orchestre Philharmonique de Tokyo (Chung), Philharmonique de Séoul (Chung,  Eötvös), Bournemouth Symphony (Karabits), BBC Philharmonic (Noseda) et Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

 Les moments forts de ses apparitions en récital à ce jour comprennent la série “Paris 4 Étoiles” à la Salle Pleyel, le Wigmore Hall de Londres, la Beethoven-Haus et le Beethovenfest à Bonn, le Klavier-Festival Ruhr, le Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festspiele, le Festival Klara et le Festival d’Été à Bruxelles, le Festival de Dinard, les Sociétés Chopin à Paris, Londres et Vancouver, le Festival d’Aspen aux Etats-Unis ainsi que le Festival International de Tongyeong et la série Kumho Rising Stars en Corée.

 Né à Séoul en 1988, Sunwook Kim commença ses études de piano à l’âge de 3 ans. Il donna son premier récital public à l’âge de 10 ans, dans le cadre de la série Kumho Prodigy de Séoul, suivi de ses débuts en concerto deux en plus tard. Diplomé de la Korean National University of Arts en 2008, il  poursuivit ensuite ses études à la Royal Academy of Music pour y obtenir un Master en direction d'orchestre. En plus du 1er Prix à Leeds 2006, il remporta également le 1er Prix des concours Clara Haskil 2005 et d'Ettlingen 2004.

 En 2013, Sunwook Kim devint le premier artiste à être selectionné pour le mentoring programme de la Beethoven-Haus de Bonn, un statut qui lui donne un accès exclusif aux collections uniques de cette vénérable institution.


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Recital, 25 June 2014

City of London Festival

"The swell of suspended harmonies was perfectly controlled, the chords perfectly struck and voiced, and Kim always kept the sense of restless searching at just the right level of intensity." ( Scriabin, Sonata no. 3) The Guardian
"His real strengths were to be found in the second theme of this movement, where emotions melted, and in the ‘Aria’, a message of love to Clara, which was taken slowly but with phrasing beautifully aligned. The lead out from capricious scherzo to the determined finale was ideally wrought and the transition from darkness to light was fully affirmative." (Schumann; Sonata no. 1)

Unsuk CHIN

Piano Concerto

NDR Symphony Orchestra Hamburg

"...ein Tastenteugel sondergleichen, dem kein Hindernisrennen zu vertrackt, kein Motivpuzzle zu verzwickt und kein Partikelgestöber zu chaotisch ist. " Die Welt, 17 February 2014


Piano Concerto no. 5

Seoul Philhamonic Orchestra, Mwung Whun Chung, recording

Kim and Chung seem very much on the same wavelength, interpretatively, from the opening flourish onwards, and they surmount this work's tricky transitions with great naturalness... The finale has an infectious energy to it, Kim making the trenchant rhythms sound lithe rather than obstreperous.  Gramophone, November 2013


Piano Concerto no. 2

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Kirill Karabits

Surely destined to be known as one of the greats to have emerged from the Leeds international piano competition, Kim was more expressive in tone and phrasing – impassioned and graceful, thrusting and rhapsodically introverted in turn. The News, Portsmouth

Concert, November 2012

London Symphony Orchestra

"The interplay between Kim and an LSO on peak form took us to the heart of the matter, with an acute sense of classical style rare in any pianist. Everything flowed effortlessly and yet had the ‘gift to be simple’ whilst never sounding bland." Classical
"Kim’s strong supple fingers and super-restrained use of the sustaining pedal pulled focus on brilliant articulation and though he didn’t go in for the kind of heightened poetry that can take this piece into the realms of the other worldly his strong singing tone was as honest as it was expressive." The Arts Desk

Concert, January 2011

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

"Intuitive musicianship from pianist Sunwook Kim in Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.2 filled every bar with an extraordinary sense of lyricism. 
If the first movement spoke of earthly beauty, then the Larghetto was surely heaven-sent; angelic in phrase and feeling and conveyed with the most sensitive and sensuous fingerwork. 
Even the final Allegro’s mazurka was touched with an uncommon poetic aura and all under the sympathetic accompaniment of Kirill Karabits"

Bournmouth Echo