Pianists, young and old, mesmerize Seoul fans

By Im Eun-byel
  • Published : Jun 2, 2019 - 16:02
  • Updated : Jun 2, 2019 - 16:02

Two piano virtuosos, one young and the other more mature, struck a chord with Seoul audiences over the weekend.

Yuhki Kuramoto and Sunwoo Yekwon wrapped up their nationwide tour of Korea, presenting the last edition of their tours in Seoul on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

On Saturday at the Seoul Arts Center, Sunwoo, 30, stirred the audience with five encores: Robert Schumann’s “Traumerei” (Dreaming), Johannes Brahms’ Intermezzo in A Major, Schumann’s “Widmung” (Dedication) and Brahms’ Waltz, Nos. 15 and 13, in order. 

Sunwoo Yekwon performs during a rehearsal for Saturday’s recital, the last of his “My Clara” nationwide tour, at the Seoul Arts Center. (Moc Production)

The audience passionately applauded and cried out in amazement each time Sunwoo returned to the piano for an encore. The recital ended around 20 minutes later than slated.

The performance was a closure of his Korean tour “My Clara,” a program with Clara Schumann’s Notturno in F Major, Robert Schumann’s Fantasie in C Major and Johannes Brahms’ Piano Sonata No. 3 in F Minor.

As always, his passionate, emotionally charged yet somewhat moderated performance that sticks to the original intent of composers, received a standing ovation from the audience.

The day before, another pianist rocked Seoul with quite a different style at Lotte Concert Hall.

Yuhki, 67, a New Age pianist, celebrated 20 years of performing in Korea. The Japanese musician is one of the most beloved pianists in Korea, perhaps even more famous here than in his home country. He has performed in Korea every year for the past 20 years.

To show his gratitude for Korean fans, the pianist hosted his own recital in Korean, greeting the audience and explaining the songs in the program. 

Pianist Yuhki Kuramoto (Ha Ji-young/Ha Photo Studio)

“I am not fluent in Korean. But do not worry,” he said on the stage, reading from a prewritten script in his hands. The audience actively responded, applauding in encouragement.

The first part of the performance consisted of solo piano pieces. Those well known to the public, featured in screen productions -- “Cordiality,” “Romance,” “Lake Louise” and “Meditation” -- were performed.

In the second part, other instruments joined in, featuring performers from the Korea Coop Orchestra. Accompanied by the violin, cello, flute and clarinet, Yuhki’s piano performance created a whole other spectrum of sounds and ambiance.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)