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Sunwook Kim

Pianist Sunwook Kim began a world-class career while still in his teens, winning major competitions that gave him worldwide visibility. He also earned a graduate degree as a conductor and has begun performing in that capacity. Sunwook Kim was born in Seoul on April 22, 1988, and took up the piano at age three. By age ten, he was giving solo recitals, and he was a concerto soloist at 12. Kim studied with Daejin Kim at the Korean National University of Arts. He won several major competitions, including the Ettlingen Competition, the Concours Clara Haskil, and, most impressively, the Leeds International Piano Competition in 2006, when he was 18. He was the youngest winner in more than 40 years and the first Asian pianist to win. The prize generated booking opportunities for Kim around Britain and continental Europe. Kim is one of the few Asian pianists who has not studied extensively in the West, but he did go on for a conducting degree at the Royal Academy of Music in London in 2013. He has continued to make London his home. The year 2013 was also important for Kim in several other respects. He made his recording debut on the Deutsche Grammophon label, performing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 ("Emperor"), with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor Myung-Whun Chung, and he was selected for the mentoring program of the Beethoven Haus in Bonn. The following year, Kim and Chung issued an album of three concertos by composer Unsuk Chin on Deutsche Grammophon. Kim has appeared with major orchestras worldwide, including the London Symphony, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, and the Tokyo Philharmonic. He has performed widely as a recitalist, including at Wigmore Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, and as a chamber music player, with such partners as violinist Augustin Hadelich and cellists Jian Wang and Alisa Weilerstein. Kim moved to the Accentus label in 2015 for an album of Beethoven sonatas, and he has continued to record there, issuing a recording of Beethoven's last three sonatas and teaming with Clara-Jumi Kang for an album of Beethoven violin sonatas in 2021. That year, he was slated to make his conducting debut with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; he has already appeared as a conductor with the KBS Symphony Orchestra in Korea.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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