Kumho classical stars dominate competitions

By 줄리 잭슨 (Julie Jackson)
  • Published : Dec 16, 2015 - 17:17
  • Updated : Dec 16, 2015 - 17:17

Following this year’s Kumho Art Hall Rising Star series participant Christel Lee’s victory at the International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition earlier this month, the series’ musicians are continuing to snag international accolades.

Supported by the Kumho Asiana Cultural Foundation, the “Kumho musicians” dominated this year’s 9th International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians in Novosibirsk, Russia, Tuesday, taking home first place for both violin and piano. 

Violinist Kim Dong-hyun, 16, shared first prize for the competition’s violin category with Russia’s Maria Andreeva, while pianist Ye Su-ah, 15, took home the top prize for piano. 

Violinist Kim Dong-hyun, 16, first-place winner for violin at the 9th International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians in Novosibirsk, Russia. (Kumho Art Hall)

Pianist Ye Su-ah, 15, first-place winner for piano at the 9th International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians. (Kumho Art Hall)
Other wins of the night included Kumho violinists Park Ji-eon, 11, and Hong Hyeon-ah, 16, who took second and third, respectively.

Pianist Lee Hyuk, 15, won third place while cellists Yang Sang-a, 16, and Han Dan-ah, 10, won second and third place, respectively.

Held Dec. 12 to 15, the competition is a junior league section of the prestigious International Tchaikovsky Competition. It is recognized as a significant stepping stone for pianists, violinists and cellist who are under 18 and on the rise. The winners are given the honor of advancing to the foundation’s adult competition.

Looking to add to the growing legacy of Kumho artists is 26-year-old pianist Yekwon Sunwoo, who was named as the Kumho Art Hall’s new Artist in Residence for 2016 on Tuesday. 

Pianist Yekwon Sunwoo performs at a press showcase at the Kumho Art Hall in Seoul on Tuesday. Sunwoo is the Kumho Art Hall’s Artist in Residence for 2016. (Kumho Art Hall)
Kumho’s annual Artist in Residence program provides opportunities for musicians and artists to further develop their craft. As the next resident artist, the Juilliard School graduate student will hold five concert performances at the Kumho Art Hall in Seoul throughout next year.

“I believe that there is always room for improvement. I am very thankful to have been named as the Kumho Art Hall’s Artist in Residence for next year because a pianist needs to be able to perform,” said Sunwoo, during a press conference at the Kumho Art Hall on Tuesday.

A winner of the Florida International Piano Competition, the pianist made his big-break Carnegie Hall debut in New York City in 2009. Since then Sunwoo has tacked on a slew of international competition wins under his belt, including first prize at the Piano Campus International Concours in France and the William Kapell International Piano Competition in 2012.

Last year, Sunwoo became the first Korean to win the Vendome Prize at the Verbier Festival, as well as winning this year’s prestigious International German Piano Award.

Ranging from Mozart, Ravel and Stravinsky to Prokofiev, the up-and-coming pianist promised to showcase pieces that are “rarely performed in Korea” at his solo concerts scheduled in January, May, June, September and December.

Sunwoo’s first performance will be the Kumho Art Hall New Year’s concert on Jan. 7 which will followed by his “All Schubert” concert performance on June 9. All ticket prices are listed at 40,000 won ($34). For more information, visit www.kumhoarthall.com.

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)