Vita

with exuberance, full of feelings, spoken up to every detail, formulated concisely, sovereign and hesitant at the same time and without any attitude of a perfectionist… reminding us of the young Clara Haskil

<Frankfurter Rundschau>

 

lovely rich tone with some beautiful shading

<The Washington Post>

 

possessed a temper of fire

<La Liberte de L’Est>

One of the most sought-after pianists of her generation, South Korean pianist HieYon Choi first appeared on the international piano music scene when she won prizes at high-profile competitions such as Kapell, Epinal, Busoni and Viotti. HieYon Choi has been since performing with prestigious orchestras of Europe, US and Korea such as das Rundfunkorchester Berlin, the National Symphony Orchestra (Washington DC), the Northern Sinfonia, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and the Korean Broadcast Symphony Orchestra and appears as a soloist in festivals and concert series.

 

A milestone of HieYon’s performing career was the four-year long cycle of all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas at the Kumho Art Hall in Seoul. For this series she received the Arts Award of the year 2005 by the Korean Arts & Cultural Association. Ten years later she completed another Beethoven cycle with all piano trios, violin sonatas and works for cello and piano. Her second cycle of all Beethoven piano sonatas took place in various venues in Korea, Germany and the US until 2018. HieYon‘s Other series of performances include ones that explored Brahms and his associates and that of French school. She has been collaborating with renowned musicians such as Truls Mørk, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Peter Stumph, Mark Kosower, Romain Guyot, Stephan Dohr, Ulf Wallin, Mikyung Lee, Soovin Kim.

 

Alongside the canon of the classical piano literature such as Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms and Debussy, Music of 20th & 21st century forms another important part of HieYon’s career. A strong advocate of the new music, she was the inaugural Artist-in-Residence of Tong-Yeong International Music festival. She performed works of Olivier Messiaen, György Kurtag, Sofia Gubaidulina, York Höller, Unsuk Chin, Suhki Kang a. o. with the Seoul Philharmonic.

 

HieYon has also been leading series of contemporary music projects at SNU such as <Orient Express>, <Sound of Universe>, <Liberation> and <TripleX>, the latest a triple international exchange production to overcome current pandemic.

In 1999 HieYon joined the piano faculty at the Seoul National University. Since then, she has been giving numerous master classes abroad; the Guildhall School in London, Ecole normale in Paris, the Hochschule Freiburg, Karlsruhe, Düsseldorf in Germany, Music School of Manhattan, Cincinnati, Michigan in the US, Performing Arts Hong-Kong, China. In summer HieYon regularly gives piano courses in Europe. HieYon also serves as a jury member at international competitions such as Ishikawa, Epinal, Orléans, Pozzoli and Maj Lind (2022).

 

HieYon’s first Beethoven album was released in 2018 by Decca Korea and was acclaimed by Piano News, a german magazine “Choi is more than just at home with the linguistic ductus of this music…She can subtly untangle Beethoven’s linear work, the deliberate confusion in elaboration of theme for the listener, fill them with life, let them become comprehensible”  The release of her Debussy Douze Etudes and her second Beethoven album “The Great Sonatas” were followed in 2020 and in 2021.

 

Her other recordings include <F. Liszt Six Grand Etudes on Paganini>, <Isang Yun 5 Stücke>, <Chopin Etudes Op. 10 & Op. 25> and recordings for TV & radio channels in US, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany and in Korea. HieYon has been a frequent guest at KBS classic radio especially for series of live lecture concerts.

 

Born in Inchon, South Korea, HieYon gave her debut concert at the age of 6 with the Inchon Philharmonic Orchestra. She won all four most coveted competitions in Korea (Dong-A, Choong-Ang, Korea Times, Ehwa-KyungHyang) under the early tutelage of Prof. Joong-Won Koh and moved to Germany at the age of 18 to study with Prof. Klaus Hellwig. The late Prof. Hans Leygraf at Hochschule der Künste Berlin and the late Prof. György Sebök at Indiana University were further source of inspiration to her.

 

Fall 2023, HieYon joins the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University piano faculty.