Sunwook Kim came to international recognition when he won the prestigious Leeds International Piano Competition in 2006, aged just 18, becoming the competition’s youngest winner for 40 years, as well as its first Asian winner. His performance of Brahms’s Concerto No.1 with the Hallé Orchestra and Sir Mark Elder in the competition’s finals attracted unanimous praise from the press. Since then, he has established a reputation as one of the finest pianists of his generation, appearing as a concerto soloist in the subscription series of some of the world’s leading orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, Finnish Radio Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Radio-France Philharmonic, NHK Symphony, Hallé Orchestra, and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for his BBC Proms debut in Summer 2014.
Recital highlights to date include regular appearances at the Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall (London International Piano Series), Leeds Piano Festival, in the ‘Piano 4 Etoiles’ series at Salle Pleyel in Paris, Piano aux Jacobin Festival, La Roque d’Antheron International Piano Festival (France) as well as at the Brussels Klara Festival, Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Klavier-Festival Ruhr, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festspiele, Stockholm Konserthuset, Teatro Colon Buenos Aires, Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival, Kioi Hall in Tokyo, Symphony Hall Osaka and LG Arts Centre in Seoul. Highlights among recent concerto engagements include appearances with the Halle, Philharmonia, BBC Concert, Bournemouth, Dresden Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National and Seoul Philharmonic Orchestras. Other highlights include duo recitals with Jian Wang in Korea and Guy Braunstein in Berlin as well as a tour of the United States with the Staatskapelle Weimar with Kirill Karabits.
In 18/19, performances will include an American orchestra debut with the Milwaukee Symphony orchestra and a debut with the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra. Sunwook will also return to the BBC Philharmonic and Bournemouth Symphony orchestras as well as a major tour Korea, Italy, Switzerland and France with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. Recital and chamber music highlights include a tour of Hong Kong with Istvan Vardai and appearances at the London Chopin Society, Wigmore Hall and AIX Festival.
Sunwook Kim’s debut recital disc was released on the Accentus label in October 2015, featuring Beethoven’s Waldstein and Hammerklavier sonatas. This was followed by a recording of Franck’s Prelude, choral et fugue paired with Brahms Sonata No.3 and a further disc of Beethoven; Sonata No. 8; Pathetique, Sonata No. 14; Moonlight and Sonata No. 23; Appassionata. His discography also includes two concerto recordings, both on Deutsche Grammophon and with the Seoul Philharmonic conducted by Myung-Whun Chung: a CD featuring Unsuk Chin’s Piano Concerto (2014) which attracted outstanding reviews and awards from BBC Music Magazine and International Classical Music Awards, and a CD featuring Beethoven Concerto No.5 (2013).
Born in Seoul in 1988, he graduated from the Korean National University of Arts in February 2008, and then completed an MA in conducting at the Royal Academy of Music. Besides Leeds, international awards include the first prize at the 2004 Ettlingen Competition (Germany) and the 2005 Clara Haskil Competition (Switzerland). In 2013, Sunwook was selected by the Beethoven-Haus Bonn to become the first beneficiary of its new Mentoring.