Head, heart and hands in harmonious accord
"Virtuosic poet", "a pianist in a class of her own". Such are the glowing terms used again and again to describe Sarah Soyeon Kim. She is esteemed by the music world as a mature artist of seemingly unlimited capacity, who lives up to the most exacting of standards.
Sarah Soyeon Kim was born in Seoul in 1982. Her extraordinary talent was discovered at an early age and subsequently fostered. She began her education at the Yewon School of Arts, where she entered with highest distinction, before moving to England at the age of 13. Numerous first prizes at national level paved her path to success in those early years, including the Ehwa-Kyunghyang, Hankook Ilbo, Segye Ilbo and Eumyoun competitions.
The move to Europe
London, Paris and Hanover were her next major ports of call. In 1998, after several years at the Yehudi Menuhin School, Sarah Soyeon Kim began her studies at the Royal Academy of Music with Prof. Christopher Elton. There she was awarded both a Bachelor's degree and the LRAM Teaching Diploma. This was followed by a Postgraduate Performance Diploma and a Master of Music degree from the University of London, in which she gained the highest mark of her year. The next stages of her education were the Postgraduate Chamber Music Programme at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and the Diplôme Supérieur de Concertiste at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris, awarded with the highest distinction. Arthur Schnabel's student, Maria Curcio Diamond in London, and Germaine Mounier in Paris were both teachers of particular significance to Sarah. She concluded her conservatoire studies in Soloklasse at Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media with Prof. Bernd Goetzke, whose teaching assistant she has been teaching piano major students since 2013.
Sarah Soyeon Kim received numerous awards for her achievements whilst still a student in England, France and Germany. These included development grants and scholarships from Audi UK, ARJIL & Associés in Paris and the Karl-Drechsel-Förderpreis. She has won a large number of prizes in international competitions, of which the following is a selection: second prize in the 21st Epinal Piano Competition in France, second prize and the Yamaha Premium Prize for the best interpretation of a contemporary work at the 16th José Iturbi Piano Competition in Valencia, second prize at the 14th Pinerolo Piano Competition in Italy, first prize in the 3rd Rhodes Piano Competition in Greece, the Grand Prix at the 14th Tunbridge Wells International Young Concert Artists Competition, winner of the Birmingham International Piano Competition, third prize at the 10th Grand Prix Animato in Paris, and third prize at the 7th Ettlingen International Piano Competition for Young Pianists. She is also a prizewinner of the 14th International Beethoven Competiton in Vienna.
Concerts, projects and further musical activities
Sarah Soyeon Kim has appeared regularly as a soloist in Korea and in many other European countries. She has given solo recitals and concerts with orchestras in UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark, Greece, Poland and South Korea. She has been heard in such prestigious halls as the Berlin Philharmonie, the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in Seoul, London's Southbank Centre and National Portrait Gallery, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Eton College, the Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall in London, Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Meistersingerhalle Nuremberg, Salle Cortot in Paris, Palau de la Musica in Valencia, Vienna Musikverein, and in festivals including the Bayreuth Piano Festival, the Bebersee Festival and the Menuhin Festival. Her playing has been recorded and broadcast by various radio stations in Germany (NDR Kultur), France (Radio France), Spain and the Netherlands. Recent concerts particularly worthy of note include two highly-acclaimed performances in the Berlin Philharmonie: a piano recital of Romantic virtuoso music, and a special concert with Mozart piano concertos and solo works of Beethoven; also Tchaikovsky's first piano concerto with the Incheon Philharmonic Orchestra under Nanse Gum, and a series of piano recitals devoted to Schumann's three Sonatas and all of Brahms's piano works in variation form as well as J. S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations. In 2016, Sarah’s recording projects are: Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto with Göttingen Symphony Orchestra and CD recording from a live recital for TV broadcast for Arte TV Korea. In addition to her performing career, Sarah Soyeon Kim is committed to her role as teaching assistant to Prof. Bernd Goetzke at Hanover University of Music Drama and Media. Sarah has also taught as an assistant to Prof. Goetzke in Bückeburg IMAS and will give a masterclass in Seoul this year. She is grateful for the generous support she receives from Arte TV Korea.