On June 10 of this year, Yekwon Sunwoo became the 2017 gold medalist at the Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. A new album featuring Sunwoo’s performances from the competition is Classical IPR’s New Release of the Week.
The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition is held once every four years. It began in 1962 as a way to promote the careers of young artists (ages 18 to 30). Past winners include Olga Kern, Jon Nakamatsu, Radu Lupu and Cristina Ortiz.
Yekwon Sunwoo is 28 years old. He grew up in Seoul, South Korea and moved to the United States to study at the Curtis Institute of Music, the Juilliard School, and the Mannes School of Music. He has performed with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
The music Sunwoo performed in the competition is very diverse stylistically. The album features piano sonatas by Franz Joseph Haydn and Sergei Rachmaninoff. A recent piece by Canadian composer Marc-Andre Hamelin, the Toccata on L’homme armé, and Percy Grainger’s arrangement of Ramble on the Last Love Duet from Richard Strauss’s opera “Der Rosenkavalier” are also included. Music of Maurice Ravel and Franz Liszt round out the album.
Sunwoo began an international tour in July with this year’s Cliburn Silver and Bronze medalists, Kenneth Broberg and Daniel Hsu.