Hie-Yon CHOI

Member of the jury 2019

Photo © Bon-Sook Koo

Nation : South Korea


One of the most sought-after pianists of her generation, South Korean pianist Hie-Yon Choi first appeared on the international piano music scene when she won prizes at high-profile competitions such as Kapell, Epinal, Busoni and Viotti. Hie-Yon Choi has been since performing with prestigious orchestras of Europe, US and Korea such as das Rundfunkorchester Berlin, the National Symphony Orchestra (Washington DC), the Northern Sinfonia, the Korean Broadcast Symphony Orchestra and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.

A milestone of Hie-Yon’s performing career was the four-year long cycle of all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas at the Kumho Art Hall in Seoul. For this series she received the Arts Award of the year 2005 by the Korean Arts & Cultural Association. Ten years later she completed another Beethoven cycle with all piano trios, violin sonatas and works for cello and piano. Her second cycle of all Beethoven piano sonatas is taking place in various venues in Korea, Germany and the US until 2018. Hie-Yon‘s other chamber music projects include one that explored Brahms and his associates. She collaborates with renowned musicians such as Truls Mørk, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Peter Stumph, Ulf Wallin, Mikyung Lee, Soovin Kim, Romain Guyot and Stefan Dohr.

Alongside the canon of the classical piano literature such as Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms and Debussy, Music of 20th & 21st century forms another important part of Hie-Yon Choi’s career. A strong advocate of the new music, she was the inaugural Artist-in-Residence of Tong-Yeong International Music festival. She performed works of Olivier Messiaen, György Kurtag, Sofia Gubaidulina, York Höller, Unsuk Chin, Suhki Kang a. o. with the Seoul Philharmonic and the Korean Chamber Orchestra. Choi is a founding member of the „Ensemble 2021“ of the Seoul National University and has been on the comittee of the „Studio 2021“ since 2010.

In 1999 Hie-Yon joined the piano faculty at the Seoul National University as the youngest professor in its history. She has been giving numerous master classes abroad; at the Guildhall School in London, the Hochschule Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, Vienna Music Seminar, White Nights in St. Petersburg, Amalfi Coast, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music summer program in Prague, in Karlsruhe, Düsseldorf, Cicinnati and Michigan. She also serves as a jury member at international competitions such as Orléans and Epinal.

Hie-Yon was awarded with the Nanpa Music Prize and the Arts Award which enabled her to record 5 Beethoven Sonatas, the last Schubert Sonata (D960) and Debussy’s 12 Etudes in 2015/16. Most recently UMG (Decca) released her Beethoven recording in Korea. Her other recordings include „F. Liszt Six Grand Etudes on Paganini“, „Isang Yun- 5 Stücke für Klavier“ and „F. Chopin Etudes Op. 10 & Op. 25“.

Born in Inchon, South Korea, Hie-Yon Choi gave her debut concert at the age of 6 with the Inchon Philharmonic Orchestra. She won all four most coveted competitions in Korea (Dong-A, Choong-Ang, Korea Times, Ehwa-KyungHyang) and moved to Germany at the age of 18 to study with Prof. Klaus Hellwig. The late Prof. Hans Leygraf at Hochschule der Künste Berlin and the late Prof. György Sebök at Indiana University were further source of inspiration to her.