Pianist Son Yeol-eum drops ‘Modern Times,’ first album in 8 years

By KH디지털2
  • Published : Feb 17, 2016 - 16:30
  • Updated : Feb 17, 2016 - 17:46

Classical pianist Son Yeol-eum has returned to the limelight with her first album in eight years, “Modern Times.” It  features a wide range of music from jazzy razzmatazz swing tunes to sounds that remind listeners of a dark and desolate night.

“This musical theme is something I have always wanted to pursue because I think this style of music represents such important and influential times in our history,” said Son, during a press conference held at the Stradeum concert hall in Seoul on Wednesday. 

Pianist Son Yeol-eum speaks at a press conference for her new album, “Modern Times,” at the Stradeum concert hall in Seoul on Wednesday.(Credia)

“All of the music selected from the album are from the early 20th century, an era in which I think saw a big shift in both world history and music culture,” she added.

Son’s new four-track album features Alban Berg’s “Piano Sonata op. 1,” Sergei Prokofiev’s “Toccata in D minor, op. 11,” Igor Stravinsky’s “Trois Mouvement de Petrouchka” and Maurice Ravel’s “Le Tombeau de Couperin La Valse.”

The album is a far cry from other recent releases by her local pianist peers such as Cho Seong-jin, Lim Dong-hyek and Dasol Kim, which have all tended to err on the side of traditional classical pieces from Chopin to Schumann. 

“We are now living in the 21st Century, and it has been 100 years since these pieces were written,” Son explained.

“During this era I think the world has really opened up and there has been some drastic changes in the sounds of classical music … in the process of making this album, I found myself thinking about how much change happened in both the East and the West during the World Wars,” she said, adding that the seismic shift in the world’s cultural and historical climate allowed for the birth of a new generation of classical music repertories. 

Son, who is from Wonju in Gangwon Province, first drew international attention when she appeared as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in 2004 under the baton of conductor Lorin Maazel. 

Pianist Son Yeol-eum performs at a press conference for her new album, “Modern Times,” at the Stradeum concert hall in Seoul on Wednesday.(Credia)

Awards that she has received include the Silver Medal at the International Tchaikovsky Competition 2011, in which she also received awards for the Best Chamber Concerto Performances and the Best Performance for Commissioned Work.

Son will soon be performing her modern-day tunes across the country from Feb. 27 to March 7. The pianist will kick off her tour with a solo recital performance at Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall – her first recital in three years – on Feb. 27. Tickets prices range from 30,000 to 80,000 won.

Following her Seoul performance, Son will also hold concerts in Gangdong, Daejeon, Changwon, Gunpo, Daegu, Ulsan, Yeosu, Busan and Seongnam.

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)