Painting With Music: The Visual Pianist | Inbebo Skip to main content

Painting With Music: The Visual Pianist

Painting With Music: The Visual Pianist

Pianist Kim Su Yeon, the first Asian winner of the Concours Musical International de Montréal, told reporters Tuesday she hopes to broaden her repertoire as Kumho Art Hall’s artist-in-residence for 2023 and meet Korean audiences.

Kumho Asiana Cultural Foundation, the operator of the venue, selects a classical musician under the age of 30 in the early stages of their career as its artist-in-residence, providing the musician with a regular performance stage. From 2013 to 2022, 10 up-and-coming artists including Van Cliburn Piano Competition-winning Sunwoo Yekwon in 2016 and Paganini Competition and Sibelius Competition winner violinist Yang In-mo took part in the residency program.

The Salzburg-based pianist will meet local audiences through a five-concert series that she designed under the theme of “Melodies: Paintings and Music.”

“I wanted to present music that listeners could visualize upon hearing it,” the pianist said as she explained the theme and programs.

Kim’s first concert will take place on Jan. 5 at the venue’s New Year’s concert “Sketch.” She will return with “Blending” on April 27 and "Light and Shade” on Aug. 31 with tenor Kim Seil, “Philia: Mozart” on Sept. 7 and “Collage Party” on Dec. 7.

The pianist shared her experience of participating in two major competitions last year. She became the first Asian winner of the Concours Musical International de Montréal when she won the top prize last year and was also the only female as well as only Korean semi-finalist in the 2021 Queen Elizabeth Competition.

“Due to the pandemic, I was able to participate in both competitions even though they were happening at almost the same time. I was initially hesitant about participating in both, but my teacher Pavel Gililov strongly encouraged me to do so by saying that performing different pieces at the same time would become my daily life as a concert pianist and that I was good enough to do so," Kim said, adding she is now done with competitions.

"The purpose of taking part in competitions is to create opportunities for the future and if I am receiving that opportunity now, I don't think I would need to participate in another competition," she said. "Granted, I grew up a lot through so many competitions, but now that I'm done with them, I have felt a lot of freedom and musical abundance. I am grateful for that," Kim added.

One of the opportunities she was given was to produce her debut album, which will be released via Steinway & Sons next year as part of the perks as winner of the Concours Musical International de Montréal.

The all-Mozart album will include Mozart: 10 Variations in G Major on Gluck's "Unser Dummer Pobel Meint" K.455, which she will perform during the September concert.

“I was given the full liberty to pick from various genres, not only the more well-known Mozart,” she said. "Mozart’s pieces are difficult for pianists. As I grew older, Mozart grew on me, and I'm happy to include what I have experienced so far as a student and a pianist into this album" she noted.

Born in 1994, Kim took her first piano lessons at age 5 and pursued studies at the Korean Institute for the Gifted in Arts. She made her debut in 2005 through Kumho’s Prodigies series. After moving to Austria at the age of 19, she studied at the University Mozarteum Salzburg from which she received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. 

Source: Park Ga-young, The Korea Herald

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