Korean pianist Seong-Jin Cho (1994) won the Warsaw International Chopin Piano Competition in 2015, and since that time his career has developed on an international scale.
A year later, he signed a contract with one of the world’s biggest record companies, Deutsche Grammophon, but he also released his first album. In it, he performs Chopin’s music both solo and in collaboration with the London Symphony Orchestra and conductor Gianandrea Noseda. Noseda describes Cho thus: “His way of playing is very natural, and yet there is some sophistication in finding new ideas without being eccentric. Just to find a way of expression while being natural; that is something I really respect in this very young artist.”
Cho’s manner of playing is simultaneously deliberate and poetic, certain and soft, virtuoso and nuanced, rich and clear. And this entire spectrum of feeling and expression is woven through with a natural feeling of balance.
Cho was born in Seoul, South Korea, first studying at the Seoul Arts High School, then at the Conservatoire de Paris under Michel Béroff. Before his victory in Warsaw, he won 3rd place at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow (2011) and the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv (2014). In his homeland, Cho has gained the status of superstar, and fans and admirers from his homeland flock to his concerts around the world. Straight after his victory at the Chopin Competition, when Deutsche Grammophon rushed to release recordings of Cho’s performance, he topped the Korean pop charts almost instantly. In his homeland, the album reached triple platinum status within a week. Since that time, he has gained platinum status nine times in Korea. In Poland, the album also gained gold status.
Conductor Gianandrea Noseda has stated that, even in performances of symphonic works, Cho performs with a desire to communicate with the audience that is characteristic of chamber music. Cho has given solo concerts at the world’s moar famous concert halls and festivals – Carnegie Hall and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Berliner Philharmonie, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Tonhalle in Zürich, the Stockholm Concert Hall, Munich’s Prinzregententheater, Verbier, the Menuhin Festival Gstaad, the Rheingau Musik Festival and others.
He has been invited to collaborate with conductors Simon Rattle, Antonio Pappano, Manfred Honeck, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Marek Janowski, Leonard Slatkin, Mikhail Pletnev and others. He has played together with Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Philharmonic Orchestras of Munich, Liverpool, Seoul, Paris and the Czech Republic, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, and the Radio Symphony Orchestras of Berlin and Hessen, among others.
His discography was expanded in 2017 with an album of music by Debussy, and a year later, a recording of Mozart’s sonatas and Piano Concerto in D Minor, recorded with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin.