Reviews

“Yeol Eum Son was all unruffled coolness, yet how beautifully she detoured her pearl-like passage work into darker terrain, or, using Andras Schiff’s first movement cadenza, modified it to sharpen its dramatic focus.

Her encore, the first movement of Mozart’s most famous piano sonata, was imbued with all the musical virtues we had already enjoyed, along with some telling and immaculately articulated ornamentation.”

William Dart

Concert with Auckland Philharmonia, NZ Herald

“On few occasions in the still short life of this auditorium has it been possible to see and hear such a display of technique, strength, temperament, and piano virtuosity. An extraordinary performance was delivered to the audience by the talented Korean concert pianist, Yeol Eum Son.”

Pepa Lledó

Review of the concert with London Symphony Orchestra & Sir Anthony Pappano in, El Español

Son lists all the Mozart concertos in her repertoire, and it’s easy to see why. She delivered a captivating performance of the wonderful K. 466 in a felicitous matchup of soloist, conductor, and orchestra.

Her patrician elegance and clean, sharply chiselled performance were exemplary. Here was Mozart for a modern instrument orchestra and a modern piano, but very much in the spirit of Mozart’s era.”

David Gordon Duke

Vancouver Sun

“The second work on the program marked the discovery of the young Korean pianist, Yeol Eum Son, gifted with outstanding maturity. Her interpretation of Totentanz (Dance Macabre), S. 126 by Franz Liszt filled the audience with amazement at her clean sound in the dynamic levels, which she resolved with ample mechanical agility.”

José Antonio Cantón

Concert with London Symphony Orchestra & Sir Anthony Pappano, Ritmo.es

“Korean pianist Yeol Eum Son did what she had to do: ‘just’ play the notes to do justice to the sublimated simplicity of Mozart’s Sonata KV 576. Her tempi were natural and her touch crystal clear as a mountain stream.”

Wilem Boone

Tivoli Vredenburg recital, 8 October 2023, De Nieuwe Muze

Self-effacingly, Yeol Eum Son placed herself largely at the service and disposition of the musicians she was partnering. Two Brahms readings impressed. A pristine, curvaceously shaped E flat major Clarinet Sonata with Sharon Kam. And a fiery Scherzo from the FAE Sonata with the Bulgarian violinist Svetlin Roussev – young Brahms in tempestuous C minor overdrive, catching one by the throat – hammering motif; noble song; Lutheran chorale. Düsseldorf, Joachim, 1853. Frei aber einsam, ‘Free but lonely’.”
Ateş Orga

International Piano Magazine

“Yeol Eum Son is obviously a highly gifted technical player but, just as important for me, she is also an expressive and emotional player and without the last two gifts being there, music can become simply a technical exercise. Music should always evoke an emotional response within you and today Yeol Eum Son took us from sorrow to joy and everything in between with her performances.”

Tom King

Arts Reviews Edinburgh (5 stars)

“Alkan’s Variations on a Theme of Steibelt characteristic virtuoso demands breached the near impossible. Never a problem, though, for this engaging pianist.”

Ken Walton

Vox Carnyx

The Hammerklavier Largo introduction was flawless, while the sudden launch into the Allegro was as dramatic as I’ve heard. The fugue was infused with all the nervous energy of the Grosse Fuge Op.133, but still thoroughly marvellous.”
Donal Hurley

Edinburgh Music Review

“Throughout that first half Son showed an ability to conceive each set of variations as a whole rather than merely by episodes, and that sense of a piece’s overall conception served her well when she came to the Hammerklavier Sonata.”

Simon Thompson

The Arts Desk

“Son signed off with exuberant flair in the Sonata No 2 by Ukrainian composer Nikolay Kapustin. It is unadulterated jazz, frenzied improvisation writ large, played here with breathtaking virtuosity and physical abandon. It had its tender moments – a bluesy Largo with super-heated harmonies – but the emphasis was on showmanship, which Son applied full on. She leapt from her stool in the final flurry of madcap glissandi; we all but jumped from our own seats in instant response.”

Ken Walton

Vox Carnyx

Yeol Eum Son played this music with a markedly different approach, which was especially audible in her touch. This was lush in character, applying the same clarity that also characterised her Prokofiev… All in all, an extraordinarily original programme by a pianist who made one curious for ‘more’. That is actually the best compliment you can pay a musician: that what he or she does makes you long for other, diverse repertoire!”
Willem Boone

De Nieuwe Muze

“Yeol Eum Son plays magnificently.. showing it in all places where the piano is heard. She breathes nicely in the second part, weaving and wrapping themes. What power and passion from Yeol Eum Son’s playing!”

Annmari Salmela

Helsingin Sanomat

This is a sheer delight, which won’t surprise those who caught South Korean pianist Yeol Eum Son’s recent concerto performances in Scotland, either with the BBC SSO or SCO. With the latter, she demonstrated a masterful command of Mozart – exquisite clarity, stylistically nuanced sensitivity and nimble precision – and it is with Mozart again, the complete sonatas, that she launches her new record deal with the French-based naïve label. Spread over six chronologically-arranged discs, the full spectrum of Mozart’s life is explored with unfolding fascination, from the probing, refreshing simplicity of the initial 1774 sonatas by an already masterful 18-year-old, to the more reflective twists of his final utterances of the late 1780s, and much in between. Yet the strongest message from Eum Son’s performances is Mozart’s natural, compulsive joie-de-vivre. She captures that natural genius with bewitching consistency and dizzying charm.”
Ken Walton

The Scotsman

“The pianist Yeol Eum Son demonstrated her virtuosity with a powerful sound in the left hand, electrifying in the arpeggios and glissandi. Ravel’s work pleased the audience, as did Yoel Eum Son’s interpretation.”

Michael Thallium

Scherzo

“At first, one feared that her delicacy might prove inadequate to the more barnstorming music that would follow. Those fears were groundless; she was harbouring her strength. In the climax before the cadenza (given here in the extended version that even Rachmaninov feared to play) she rose to the challenge presented by the orchestral tutti. She sprang up from her seat to descend on the keyboard with the full force of her body. From this moment onward, the performance simply rose from one beautifully charged climax to another.”

Paul Corfield Godfrey

Seen and Heard International

The concerto is widely regarded as being one of the most technically challenging in the standard classical piano repertoire. Yeol Eum Son tackled it head on with a blend of tenacity and panache. The concerto presents many opportunities for virtuosic display. While Yeol Eum Son grabbed these opportunities with alacrity, this was no ostentatious display of pianist prowess. Rather, her playing was measured and contemplative, not least in the first movement cadenza where she controlled and shaped the shifting moods and nuances to mesmerising effect.”
Peter Collins

Nation.Cymru

“Son is an extraordinary soloist and an immensely expressive performer, drawing the audience in with every movement, from the intense, juddering chords to the glimmering crescendos. There is a real power to her performance that meant that the audience was feeling every note and emotion of the piece right along with her.”
Barbara Hughes-Moore

Get The Chance

Korean pianist Yeol Eum Son played Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D Minor, K.466, with light, fine-pointed energy and agile precision, the whole buoyed by an engaging musical spirit.
Peter McCallum

Sydney Morning Herald (September 2022)

“Performing Chopin Piano Concerto No.2, Yeol Eum Son had power and passion, fireworks and drama aplenty, but for me the true magic was in the music’s more introverted passages. The opening of the slow movement was exquisite, with both orchestra and pianist seeming to explore the inner reaches of the soul. This movement was all about the joy of the journey, with the arrival almost an afterthought.”
Jo St Leon

Limelight Magazine

A complete success… Yeol Eum Son gave a highly sensitive demonstration of her appreciation for contemporary repertoire, displaying incredible pianissimo on her instrument, which once again dazzled the almost full house.”

Ritmo.es

Next came Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major – this demanding work requires extraordinary concentration and virtuosity from the soloist. Yeol Eum Son impressively proved that she has these qualities with her spirited interpretation. With almost tender touches of the keys, Yeol Eum elicits the slightest sounds from the instrument, only to reach into the keys again in the next moment. The result was an exciting reproduction at the highest level. Therefore, it is not surprising that the pianist is a popular artist in the large concert halls.
Marco Stücklin

Das Opernmagazin

“They were joined by the South Korean pianist, Yeol Eum Son, for Salonen’s 2007 three-movement Concerto. Written originally for the Israeli-American pianist Yefim Bronfman, it is consequently robust, physically intense and fiercely virtuosic. Eum Son had no problems making it her own, matching its muscular demands with a gracefulness that was mostly effective in the numerous conversations the soloist engages in with single instruments.”
Ken Walton

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra & Joana Carneiro, VoxCarnyx

“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

“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

“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.”

Bachtrack

“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.”

Remusica

“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.”

Bachtrack

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