The best performances of Nikolai Kapustin’s through-composed jazz-influenced works come from that rare breed of pianists who possess both a transcendental classical technique and a feel for jazz time keeping.Yeol Eum Son is one of those pianists.
She swings like mad in the Op. 40 Etudes’ first and final selections, nailing the syncopated accents and runs with a centered deftness that Oscar Peterson would have envied. By taking the opening section of the wonderful Variations Op. 41 a bit slower than in the recordings by Marc-André Hamelin and the composer himself, Son gives the music an attractive behind-the-beat lope that is similar to Erroll Garner’s signature style. At the same time, Son’s overall sensitivity and luscious tone ideally suit lyrical works such as Moon Rainbow, which is Kapustin’s final composition. Yeol Eum effortlessly sails through the Scherzo and the playful, over the top Perpetuum Mobile finale. Small wonder that Kapustin himself encouraged Son’s advocacy. A delectable and sonically superb addition to the Kapustin discography.
Jed Distler

Classics Today

“Son was astonishingly dextrous in Ravel’s one-handed dashes up and down the keyboard, but also balanced a granitic power with a sense of melting poetry, her solo passages exquisitely shaped and delivered with calm conviction.”
David Kettle

Iceland Symphony Orchestra at Usher Hall Review, The Scotsman

…It is also a piece (Ravel for the Left Hand) that is very eloquent with the bass sonorities of the orchestra — double bassoon, bass clarinet and the string basses — as well as the lower notes of the keyboard. All of this was exquisitely clear in a wonderful performance by the soloist with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra…
Keith Bruce

Iceland Symphony Orchestra/Tortelier, Usher Hall, Edinburgh, five stars, Herald Scotland

…this was a performance of Ravel’s Left-Hand Concerto of great strength, phenomenal (left-hand) technique and complete grasp of the Ravel sound-world. The rapport between herself and Tortelier was miraculous – and how fabulous were the double bassoon solos, so attractively phrased. But it was Son’s playing that took the breath away, dignified, fluent, creating the most melting of sounds from her Steinway, producing suave glissandi and wondrous pedal-free staccatos. She found, and relished, the jazz overtones of the piece, too, while the cadenza positively glowed…

Planet Hugill

“Yeol Eum Son broke through the amazing harmony of Prokofiev again and again, proving an astonishing dexterity, which allowed to let off steam in endless cadences. The pianist even maintained a touch of Chopinean elegance – a touch only, otherwise the powerful virtuoso would certainly dominate this deluge of sound.”
Mark Pullinger

Iceland Symphony Orchestra at Cadogan Hall Review, Bachtrack

…this stunning performance of his 5th piano concerto with the orchestra led by Andrew Manze, the principal guest conductor, and Yeol Eum Son, the award-winning South Korean soloist, making her debut in Liverpool, was outstanding…Yeol Eum Son throughout demonstrated the technical excellence partnered with lyrical sensitivity that have made her one of the most sought-after concert pianists in a virtuoso performance that was much appreciated by the audience.
Johanna Roberts

Beethoven and Bruckner - Liverpool Philharmonic Hall Review, North West End

“Korean pianist Yeol Eum Son made an explosion of energy with her performance”
Ismail Hakki Aksu

Sanattan Yansimalar

“The pianist Yeol Eum Son’s expressive pedal work, spacious cadenzas and fearlessly fast articulation drew the ears forward to Beethoven’s first and second Piano Concertos, closing the gap between the two composers.”

The Times

“Yeol Eum Son broke through the amazing harmony of Prokofiev again and again, proving an astonishing dexterity, which allowed to let off steam in endless cadences. The pianist even maintained a touch of Chopinean elegance – a touch only, otherwise the powerful virtuoso would certainly dominate this deluge of sound.”

Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten

“Ihre Interpretation war subtil, in perfekt abgestimmtem Dialog mit dem Orchester – und passagenweise, wo es Mozart einforderte, virtuos. Ihre Zurückhaltung brachte die düsteren Farben dieses Konzerts in allen Schattierungen zur Geltung. Der knapp 30-jährige Mozart hat hier ein Musikstück geschaffen, in dem er sehr persönliche Gefühle wiedergibt, das Verhältnis zu seiner Umwelt darstellt und, wie gesagt wird, selbst geistige Fragen und Themen abhandelt. Dieses 1785 entstandene Konzert entstand offenbar in einer heftigen emotionalen Aufwallung innerhalb weniger Tage. Erstmals komponierte Mozart ein Klavierkonzert in Moll – und nahm damit die Tonart, die Düsterkeit und Dramatik des „Don Giovanni“ vorweg.”
Charles E. Ritterband

Klassik Begeistert

Yeol Eum Son… played with a dazzling range of dynamics, patiently giving each musical idea a semi-improvisatory spontaneity… With the first piece [Ravel’s Valses Nobles et Sentimentales] she took the listener by the collar and never let go, ranging from wispy and mysterious to a murky haze of sound in the smoky final waltz… Her showmanship came to the fore in the final work, Liszt’s “Mephisto Waltz No. 1, played with booming power and devilish ferocity in the cackling multi-trills and gossamer right-hand runs.

Washington Post

“Yeol Eum Son, a model of clarity and fleetness… a winning album all round.”

Mozart Piano Concerto No. 21 (Onyx) CD review, The Times

“The final toccata was dazzling, a preface to a simply phenomenal performance of Stravinsky’s Three Pieces from Petrushka. Son thunders the big, roof-raising stuff but interlaces it with crisp chords and single lines that get to the heart beneath the wood of Stravinsky’s tragic puppet. Her opening Gershwin was immensely likeable, too, laid-back but not without the necessary freedom of the right hand above the ragtime left. The encore, Moszkowski’s Etincelles (Sparks), a Horowitz favourite, was a perfect butterfly to conclude.”

The Arts Desk

“…a Chopin concert at the Aachen Musikhochschule, where the South Korean pianist Yeol Eum Son excelled…. The variations [in E major] on the song “Der Schweizerbub” passed splendidly and elegantly… A challenge for the pianist, who not only proved to be a consummate virtuoso, but interpreted every piece [24 Préludes op. 28]  in a highly sensitive and often oppressively intense way….”

Aachener Nachrichten

“The last was a dazzling tour de force [Stravinsky Three Movements from Petrushka], Yeol Eum finding that vital emotional connection with the music and physically embracing its raw energy and dynamic extremes with ferocious virtuosity. The encore – Moskowski’s effervescent Etincelles – was just as captivating, just as virtuosic.”

The Scotsman

“Yeol Eum Son plays the concerto [Mozart Piano Concerto No 21] with a lightness and freedom that is most appealing…The broad and colourful  Variations in C major on a theme by Nicolas Dezede ‘Lison dormait’ K264 is performed with a sassy cuteness and her playing is at times playful, energetic, jovial, subdued, flashy, vigorous and joyful as befits the variations… Yeol Eum brings the piece [Piano Sonata No. 10 in C major, K330] to life with neatly sprung rhythms, and inflects the piece with a splendid range of keyboard touch and appropriate colour… This is one of the finest debut discs I have recently encountered.”

“This is an uncommonly fine Mozartian debut.”


“Marvellous, intense and boundlessly virtuosic…from the first crystal clear notes of Liszt’s La Leggierezza, pianist Yeol-Eum Son captured her audience. …[she] conjures joy and sophistication through her magical and expressive playing.”

Freiburger Nachrichten

“Her phrasing was delicate, unhurried… She managed to emphasis the graceful playfulness of the first movement Allegro maestoso, while introducing something more profound in the Andante. Her touch was elegant and restrained, resisting the urge to dominate.”


“This evening’s concert is a sort of rehearsal with a beautiful discovery, the young pianist Yeol Eum Son, winner of the Tchaikovsky contest, in the unexpected Gershwin concerto. Jazz atmosphere and respect for the classical form for Gershwin’s Concerto in F for piano and orchestra of which the Korean pianist gives a playful and jubilant interpretation.”


“The Concerto’s Allegro reveals unbound seventh chords, becomes playful with syncopated chords and under Yeol Eum’s fingers never fails to link sincerity and lightness, sentiment and exaltation, eeriness and elegance. (…) The final Allegro gives the praise back to a virtuosic soloist, who slips melodies ‘à la Rachmaninov’ towards Lisztian soundscapes, keeping the humor in the piece. Well-deserved ovation for Yeol Eum Son, who offers Nikolai Kasputin’s Etude No. 7 Op. 40 as an encore – a piece as technical as it is languid.”