The Korea Herald : A young pianist with an old, romantic soul
Sunwoo Yekwon talks about his music, liking for solitude
By Kim Hoo-ran
Surely, artists should be allowed to be particular, sensitive; after all, we shouldn’t expect them to create extraordinary art while being ordinary. But Sunwoo is no diva. “I know the efforts of the staff that go into creating an optimal condition. So, while I am sensitive about my own performance, I am more relaxed about the situation surrounding the performance,” Sunwoo said.
Sunwoo began learning the piano at 8 years old, tagging along with his sisters to a neighborhood piano hagwon, or private piano school, where a teacher spotted his talent and encouraged him to pursue music.
He attended the Yewon School, an arts middle school, and left Korea to attend the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, the US, during his first year at Seoul Arts School, to study with Seymour Lipkin, with whom he would continue to study with for six years and from whom he learned to think about the composers’ intentions. Since then, he has earned his master’s at The Julliard School and artist diploma at the Mannes School of Music. Currently, he studies in Hannover, Germany.
Timid and shy as a youngster, Sunwoo was anxious about the language problem but otherwise embraced the opportunity to study in a different country, just as he enjoys his nomadic life today, performing in concert halls around the world.
He had more than 100 engagements last season, but the travels don’t tire him, he said. On the day of a performance, Sunwoo runs through the recital program, and if it is an evening concert, takes a 20-30 minute nap in the afternoon. “Right before going on stage, I apply hand cream, leaving out the finger tips, because my hands are very dry,” he said.