Classical Session: Yeol Eum Son

Classical Session: Yeol Eum Son

Yeol Eum Son is one of the most versatile pianists performing today. Her work encompasses not only classical music—including the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic periods—but also jazz and even traditional Korean music (gugak). Son first came to wider attention when she won the second prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 2011. Unlike so many others who fade into obscurity after competition success, Son has continued to develop her skills and her career, seeking new challenges and winning new fans. For her Classical Session, Son goes back to her early days as a piano student when, like many other children, she first learned to play in a small local class. “I started out learning piano with Hanon and Czerny etudes, with aspirations of playing Chopin one day,” she says. “I hope these pieces will bring a joyful reminiscence to you all.” While Hanon and Czerny are standard fare for piano learners, the pieces performed by Son here are special because they are rarely recorded. The standout track is the Chopinata, Belgian pianist Clément Doucet’s homage to Chopin, which combines various works by the Polish composer in a jazz style, evoking the image of a fledgling pianist eager to learn more. Son brings it to life with playing of sheer dynamism.

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