Piano

Sunwook Kim

© Marco Borggreve

Introduction

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. 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.

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.

Sunwook Kim’s debut recital recordings on the Accentus label include two discs of Beethoven sonatas, Franck’s Prelude, choral et fugue and Brahms’s Sonata No.3. He has also recorded two concerto discs (Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ concerto and Unsuk Chin’s piano concerto) with the Seoul Philharmonic and Myung-Whun Chung for Deutsche Grammophon.


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Video & Audio

Performance Schedule

  • 01 May 17 Brahms Piano Concerti 1 & 2
    recording
    More info  

    “Elder and the Hallé provide a dramatic orchestral introduction to commence the massive and dramatic first movement, Maestoso. It just pulsates with drama. One immediately notices how decisively Kim strikes the keys and everything is shaped with clarity and immediacy. The glorious lyrical theme with Kim’s playing alone is near spine-tingling, so introspective.”
    Musicweb International

  • 17 Apr 17 Beethoven Sonatas No.8, 14, 23
    recording
    More info  

    “Kim has an unerring sense of underlying harmonic tension and tonal design, plus the skill to apply colour and blend accordingly, which gives his playing both eloquence and architectural solidity and saves him from having to rely on gimmicky exaggeration to make his mark.”
    Gramophone May 2017

  • 25 Oct 16 Recital
    Wigmore Hall
    More info  

    “The remoteness of the opening instantly gave you an entrée into Kim’s acute sensibility, in which every inflection of weight, dynamics and sublimely poised decoration released Mozart’s elaborate web of balance and consequence. This is music where there is nowhere to hide. It’s a conundrum that musicians wrestle with, and Kim addressed it with rare communicative depth.”
    ClassicalSource.com

  • 03 Mar 16 Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3
    Hamburger Symphoniker
    More info  

    “Die ungeheure Virtuosität der wilden Kaskaden, die sich dauernd wie ausbrechende Geysire ins Geschehen schalteten, beherrschte Kim faszinierend”
    Die Welt

  • 30 Mar 16 Franck, Brahms Prelude, Chorale et Fugue, Sonata No. 3
    Recording
    More info  

    “The fluttering figurations of the Prelude speak with a delicate poignancy and the Fugue blossoms into that ecstatic exaltation so characteristic of Franck… The brief Intermezzo prepares a truly impressive finale. Kim delineates the proliferation of thematic material with aplomb, pulls off a galvanising fugato and achieves heft in the lonely cadential chords that end the piece.”
    Gramophone, April 2016

    “Sunwook Kim brings some splendid pianism and conceptual thinking to both works: a full-toned touch and resonant atmosphere connects the Prelude, Choral et Fugue strongly to Franck’s organ works.”
    BBC Music Magazine, June 2016

    “Kim rend compte du foisonnement de l’écriture avec simplicité et raffinement… (cette version) s’impose par son intériorité, son souffle et son inépuisable beauté formelle.”
    Diapason June 16

  • 29 Apr 15 Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3
    Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Lighthouse Poole.
    More info  

    “It very much felt as though Karabits and Kim had been holding everything in reserve for this movement, a thrilling, roller-coaster ride of emotion to the very end. In the contrasting episodes, there was a blend of humour, playfulness and reflection; Kim again showed the huge range of his pianistic talent in the set of four variations squeezed into the overall structure of the movement.”
    Bachtrack.com 

  • 25 Jun 14 Recital
    City of London Festival
    More info  

    “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)
    Classicalsource.com

  • 14 Feb 14 Unsuk CHIN Piano Concerto
    NDR Symphony Orchestra Hamburg
    More info  

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

  • 01 Nov 13 Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5
    Seoul Philhamonic Orchestra, Mwung Whun Chung, recording
    More info  

    “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

  • 30 Nov 12 Concert
    London Symphony Orchestra
    More info  

    “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 Source.com

    “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

Repertoire

Please note: this repertoire list is for reference only. The choice of repertoire for a particular project remains at the artist’s discretion.

BARTOK
Concerto No. 2
Concerto No. 3

BEETHOVEN
Concerto No. 1
Concerto No. 2
Concerto No. 3
Concerto No. 4
Concerto No. 5
‘Triple’ Concerto

BRAHMS
Concerto No. 1
Concerto No. 2

BRITTEN
Concerto op. 13

CHIN
Piano Concerto

CHOPIN
Concerto No. 1
Concerto No. 2

DVORAK
Concerto in G minor

GRIEG
Concerto in A minor

MOZART
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

PROKOFIEV
Concerto No. 1
Concerto No. 2
Concerto No. 3

RACHMANINOV
Concerto No. 2
Concerto No. 3
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

RAVEL
Concerto in G
Concerto for the left hand

SAINT-SAENS
Concerto No. 2

SCHUMANN
Concerto in A minor

TCHAIKOVSKY
Concerto No. 1

WEBER
Konzertstücke in F minor

 

Discography