Gold medallist of the Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Yekwon Sunwoo has been hailed for his “unfailingly consistent excellence” (International Piano) and celebrated as “a pianist who commands a comprehensive technical arsenal that allows him to thunder without breaking a sweat” (Chicago Tribune). A powerful and virtuosic performer, he also, in his own words, “strives to reach for the truth and pure beauty in music”.
The first Korean to win Cliburn Gold, Yekwon’s 21/22 season includes appearances with the Kaliningrad Philharmonic, Seoul Philharmonic, Colorado Springs Philharmonic, as well as recitals in Great Barrington, Key West, Dallas, Prescott, and his debut at Beethovenfest Bonn.
In previous seasons, he has performed as soloist with the Munich Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev, Royal Danish Orchestra with Thomas Søndergård, Fort Worth and Tucson Symphonies, Washington Chamber Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, National Orchestra of Belgium, Sendai Philharmonic and Royal Scottish National Orchestra amongst others. Recital appearances include Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Elbphilharmonie, Salle Cortot, Hong Kong Arts Festival and a tour of Japan.
An avid chamber musician, Yekwon’s collaborators include Benjamin Beilman, Linus Roth, Andrei Ioniță, Sebastian Bohren, Isang Enders, Tobias Feldmann, Gary Hoffman, Anne-Marie McDermott and the Jerusalem and Brentano Quartets. He has also toured Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama with the Kumho Asiana Cultural Foundation and performed at Chamber Music of Lincoln Center’s Inside Chamber Music Lectures.
In addition to the Cliburn Gold Medal, Yekwon won first prizes at the 2015 International German Piano Award, the 2014 Vendome Prize held at the Verbier Festival, the 2013 Sendai International Music Competition and the 2012 William Kapell International Piano Competition.
Born in Anyang, South Korea, Yekwon began learning the piano at the age of 8 and made his recital and orchestral debuts in Seoul at 15. His teachers include Seymour Lipkin, Robert McDonald, Richard Goode and Bernd Goetzke.
In 2017, Decca Gold released Cliburn Gold 2017 two weeks after Yekwon was awarded the Gold Medal and includes his award-winning performances of Ravel’s La Valse and Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Sonata. In 2020 Yekwon went on to release his first studio album for Decca Universal Music Korea featuring an all-Mozart programme.