Sunwook Kim came to international recognition when he won the prestigious Leeds International Piano Competition in 2006, aged just 18, becoming the competition’s youngest winner for 40 years, as well as its first Asian winner. Since then, he has established a reputation as one of the finest pianists of his generation, appearing as a concerto soloist in the subscription series of some of the world’s leading orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Staatskappele Dresden, Chicago Symphony, Berlin Radio Symphony, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Finnish Radio Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Orchestra of Wales, Radio-France Philharmonic, NHK Symphony, Hallé Orchestra and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for his BBC Proms debut in Summer 2014. Conductor collaborations include with Karina Canellakis, Nathalie Stutzmann, Thomas Sondergard, Tugan Sokhiev, Daniel Harding, Paavo Jarvi, David Afhkam, Edward Gardner, John Elliot Gardiner, Myung-Whun Chung, Osmo Vänskä, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Kirill Karabits, Marek Janowski, Sakari Oramo, Andrew Manze, Vassily Sinaisky, Paavo Järvi, Michael Sanderling, Yuri Bashmet and Sir Mark Elder.
Recital highlights to date include regular appearances at the Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall (London International Piano Series), in the ‘Piano 4 Etoiles’ series at the Philharmonie de Paris and Théâtre des Champs- Élysées, Piano aux Jacobin Festival, AIX Festival, La Roque d’Antheron International Piano Festival (France) as well as at the Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Klavier-Festival Ruhr, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festspiele, Teatro Colon Buenos Aires, Kioi Hall in Tokyo, Symphony Hall Osaka and Seoul Arts Centre. Sunwook is also a keen chamber musician and has collaborated with singers such as Robert Holl and Kwang-Chul Youn.
In 2021/22, Sunwook will make his European conducting debut with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra having previously made his international debut with the KBS Symphony Orchestra (Korea) last season. Sunwook will perform with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (Stutzman) and Minnesota Orchestras (New), with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (Ollikainen), BBC Philharmonic Orchestra (Sinaisky), BBC Symphony Orchestra (Korea Tour), Lahti Symphony (Cox) as well as his debut with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (Bringuier).
Sunwook Kim’s debut recital disc was released on the Accentus label in October 2015, featuring Beethoven’s Waldstein and Hammerklavier sonatas, this was followed by a recording of Franck’s Prelude, choral et fugue paired with Brahms Sonata No.3. He has released further recordings of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, Sonata No. 8; Pathetique, Sonata No. 14; Moonlight and Sonata No. 23; Appassionata and his most recent disc, DVD & Blu-Ray featuring sonatas No. 30-32 recorded at the Kunstkraftwerk Leipzig. His discography also includes multiple concerto recordings; on Accentus Music with the Staatskapelle Dresden conducted by Myung-Whun Chung featuring Brahms’ Piano Concerto no. 1 (2019) and Six Piano Pieces (2020) in addition to recordings on Deutsche Grammophon with the Seoul Philharmonic conducted by Myung-Whun Chung, a CD featuring Unsuk
Chin’s Piano Concerto (2014) which attracted outstanding reviews and awards from BBC Music Magazine and International Classical Music Awards, and a CD featuring Beethoven Concerto No.5 (2013).
Born in Seoul in 1988, Sunwook completed an MA in conducting at the Royal Academy of Music and was subsequently made a fellow (FRAM) of the Royal Academy of Music in 2019. Besides Leeds, international awards include the first prize at the 2004 Ettlingen Competition (Germany) and the 2005 Clara Haskil Competition (Switzerland). In 2013, Sunwook was selected by the Beethoven-Haus Bonn to become the first beneficiary of its new Mentoring.
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The swell of suspended harmonies was perfectly controlled, the chords perfectly struck and voiced, and Kim always kept the sense of restless searching at just the right level of intensityDUNDEE COURIER