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Kim Sun-wook to debut at Berlin Philharmonic with Chin Un-suk’s concerto

Pianist Kim Sun-wook (Vincero)
Pianist Kim Sun-wook (Vincero)

Pianist Kim Sun-wook will have his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic, performing composer Chin Un-suk’s piano concerto.

On Saturday Kim, the winner of the 2006 Leeds International Piano Competition, will perform Chin’s piano concerto with the prestigious German orchestra at the Berlin Philharmonic concert hall, under the baton of Sakari Oramo, the chief conductor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Berlin Philharmonic explained Chin’s work as a “brilliant and rhythmically challenging” piece. 

Composer Chin Un-suk (Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra)
Composer Chin Un-suk (Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra)

Unveiled in 1997, the 20-minute contemporary work with four movements is the first concerto written by Chin. She later wrote more concertos for the violin, cello, clarinet, saenghwang -- a type of reed instrument -- and more.

It was Chin who recommended Kim to the Berlin Philharmonic for the upcoming concert. Kim has performed the piece onstage on many occasions and also recorded the work with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of maestro Chung Myung-whun in 2014.

After Kim’s performance, the Berlin Philharmonic will perform Jean Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 43.

Conductor Alan Gilbert, the music director of the Royal Swedish Opera, was to take the baton but had to cancel because he contracted COVID-19 in April. Sakari Oramo stepped in for him.

Chin will not be attending the performance as she will be in Copenhagen, Denmark, to accept the Leonie Sonnings Music Prize. Previous recipients include Igor Stravinsky (1959), Leonard Bernstein (1965) and Dmitri Shostakovich (1973).

On the same day as Kim’s concert in Berlin, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra will play Chin’s piano concerto to celebrate her award, joined by pianist Francesco Piemontesi from Switzerland.

Kim’s performance will be livestreamed through the Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital Concert Hall platform.

By Im Eun-byel (
Korea Herald daum