On September 6, guests at Crystal Bridges’ Great Hall will enjoy a concert by Yekwon Sunwoo (South Korea, 28), the Gold Medalist of the 15th Annual Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The Chicago Tribune heralds the competitors in this prestigious event as the “World’s Greatest Pianists!”
Born in Anyang, South Korea, Mr. Sunwoo is the first Korean to win gold at the Cliburn competition. He began learning piano at age 8, and gave both his recital and orchestra debuts in 2004 in Seoul before moving to the United States in 2005 to study with Seymour Lipkin at the Curtis Institute of Music. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the Curtis Institute of Music and his master’s at The Juilliard School, and also studied with Richard Goode at the Mannes School of Music.
Sunwoo won first prizes at the 2015 International German Piano Award in Frankfurt, the 2014 Vendome Prize held at the Verbier Festival, the 2013 Sendai International Music Competition, and the 2012 William Kapell International Piano Competition. He performs at venues all over the world.
As the gold medal winner of the Van Cliburn competition, Sunwoo received a cash award of $50,000, as well as three years of individualized career management, including US and international concert tours; a live recording and recording partnership with Universal Music Group’s Decca Gold label; a promotional package; and performance attire provided by Neiman Marcus.
Click here for tickets.
About the Van Cliburn Series at Crystal Bridges
In 2016, Crystal Bridges received a gift of a Steinway Concert Grand piano that belonged to the internationally-acclaimed pianist Van Cliburn. The piano was donated to the museum by Thomas Smith, Cliburn’s long-time partner.
Cliburn was an American hero. He has been hailed as one of the most persuasive ambassadors of American culture, as well as one of the greatest pianists in the history of music. Cliburn performed for every President of the United States since Harry Truman as well as for royalty and heads of state in Europe, Asia, and South America. During his celebrated career, he received Kennedy Center Honors, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and he received Russia’s Order of Friendship, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the US National Medal of Arts.
In Cliburn’s honor, and in collaboration with the Cliburn Competition, Crystal Bridges inaugurated a Van Cliburn Concert Series last year, which brings internationally renowned musicians to the museum to perform in Crystal Bridges’ beautiful Great Hall. The first concert featured Olga Kern, one of her generation’s great pianists, who herself won gold at the Van Cliburn Competition in 2001.
The series will continue on December 1 with jazz prodigy Joey Alexander and master musician Ellis Marsalis.
2017 Van Cliburn Series sponsored by Thomas Lon Smith, Steinway & Sons, Chip and Susan Chambers, William M. Fuller Foundation.