About Yeol Eum Son

Poetic elegance, an innate feeling for expressive nuance and the power to project bold, dramatic contrasts are among the arresting attributes of Yeol Eum Son’s pianism. Her refined artistry rises from breathtaking technical control and a profound empathy for the emotional temper of the works within her strikingly wide repertoire. She is driven above all by her natural curiosity to explore a multitude of musical genres and styles and the desire to reveal what she describes as the “pure essence” of everything she performs. Yeol Eum refuses to impose limits on her artistic freedom and remains determined to explore new artistic territory. Her choice of repertoire, which spans everything from the works of Bach and Mozart to those of Shchedrin and Kapustin, is guided chiefly by the quality and depth of the music.

In high demand as recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician, Yeol Eum has won critical plaudits for the profound insights and intelligence of her interpretations. Her development as an all-round artist has gained from collaborations with conductors as diverse as Lorin Maazel, Dmitri Kitajenko, Valery Gergiev, Antonio Pappano, Andrew Manze, Jaime Martin, Jun Märkl, Roberto González-Monjas, Jonathon Heyward, Ryan Bancroft, Pablo Gonzalez, Pietari Inkinen, Eivind Aadland, Joana Carneiro, Anja Bihlmaier, Dima Slobodeniouk, Gergely Madaras, Alexander Shelley and Omer Meir Welber.

During 22/23 season Yeol Eum served as an Artist-in-Residence with the Residentie Orkest in the Hague with performances of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.25, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and I Got Rhythm, Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No.2 and Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand. Further season highlights in 2022-23 included a succession of debut performances with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2), the NDR Radiophilharmonie (Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.4 and Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2), the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No.1), the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias (Szymanowski’s Symphony No.4), Musikkollegium Winterthur (Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major), the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.27), the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.2 and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.23), the Sydney Symphony (Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.20), Melbourne Symphony (Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major) , Tasmanian Symphony (Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.2) and Auckland Philharmonia (Chopin Piano Concerto No.2). Yeol Eum closed the season with her debuts at the Edinburgh International Festival, Rosendal Chamber Music Festival and return visit at the Helsingborg Piano Festival.

Across 23/24 season, Yeol Eum collaborates ones again with the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern at home in Germany and on tour in South Korea featuring Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.3, Tasmanian Symphony with Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.3 and Auckland Philharmonia with the Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.24. Yeol Eum makes debuts with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra performing Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.2, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra performing Britten’s Piano Concerto, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.20 , NAC Orchestra performing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.2, West Australian Symphony Orchestra with Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.3 and Tenerife Symphony with the Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.3.

She also returns to the Melbourne recital centre, Adelaide International Piano Series, Mosel Music Festival and makes recital debuts at the Singapore International Piano Festival and International Piano Festival of Oeiras, Portugal.

The international reach of her work of the past seasons s clearly reflected in collaborations with, among others, the Konzerthaus Orchestra Berlin, the Gürzenich, Dresden Philharmonic and Tonkünstler Orchestras, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and the Orchestre national d’Île-de-France, Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Aurora Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic at the 2019 BBC Proms, BBC Scottish, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Budapest Festival, Helsinki, and Bergen Philharmonic, Basel Symphony, Castilla y León Symphony and Spanish Radio and Television Symphony orchestras, Singapore Symphony, San Diego and Detroit Symphony and the Mariinsky Orchestra.

Yeol Eum Son, born in Wonju, South Korea in 1986, received her first piano lessons at the age of three-and-a-half. She was among the prize winners at the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians in 1997 and won the Oberlin International Piano Competition two years later. Yeol Eum studied at Korea National University of Arts and continued her training with Professor Arie Vardi at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover.

Yeol Eum attracted international attention when she secured second prize and the Best Chamber Music Performance at the 2009 Van Cliburn Competition. She underlined her position among the most gifted artists of her generation at the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition, where she won the Silver Medal and received the coveted competition’s prizes for Best Chamber Concerto Performance and Best Performance of the Commissioned Work.

Over the past decade Yeol Eum has achieved global acclaim not least for her interpretations of Mozart’s piano concertos. In 2016 she joined the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and Sir Neville Marriner in what proved to be the conductor’s final recording, setting down a radiant interpretation of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.21 for Onyx Classics. She made her London debut at Cadogan Hall with the same work and orchestra in 2018 and enchanted the audience at the Royal Albert Hall the following year with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.15 for her debut at the BBC Proms. The YouTube video of her performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.21 at the International Tchaikovsky Competition has been viewed almost 23 million times, thought to be a record figure for any live Mozart work on the platform.

In addition to her all-Mozart album for Onyx (2018) most recently Yeol Eum released her debut on Naïve in March 2023 with a stunning boxset of Mozart’s Complete Piano Sonatas, the album earned early acclaim from the international classical press, including being named Classic FM’s Album of the Week. Yeol Eum’s discography also includes Modern Times, an album of works by Berg, Prokofiev, Stravinsky and Ravel (Decca, 2016), a recording of Schumann’s Fantasy in C, Kreisleriana and Arabesque (Onyx, 2020) and a disc devoted to Nikolai Kapustin’s Eight Concert Etudes, Piano Sonata No.2 and other representative compositions (Onyx, 2021).