Sunwook Kim makes a welcome return to Manchester next week where he joins the long standing partnership of the Hallé Orchestra and their principal conductor, Sir Mark Elder. Sunwook has enjoyed a very successful collaboration with the orchestra and Sir Mark over the past 10 years, since he first played with them in the finals of the Leeds Piano Competition in 2006; a performance that won him first prize. In an interview in 2015, Sunwook commented on that first meeting and how their partnership has flourished over the years:
“There was an extraordinary relationship between me as soloist and the orchestra and conductor, right from the start – we were like a family. As a soloist you often feel anxious and nervous about how to fit your ideas into the orchestra who already have their own ideas from all their experience of playing these works, but even the first time, it felt very intuitive with them. I have played a lot of repertoire with them over the years and they know my musical tastes and they know how I construct the music I make. When you understand each other it makes it so much easier and you can make a great musical ‘shape’ together. There are very few orchestras I have that relationship with. It means I can go to the absolute maximum limits of my expression. I don’t have to worry about anything. I can express and show what I want with the strong belief that they will support me.”
This concert is a particularly special occasion for both Sunwook and The Hallé, as they repeat the same repertoire from that triumphant performance in Leeds; Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2. They are also looking forward to the release of their first recording together; a disc on the Hallé’s own label, featuring both Brahms Piano Concertos. The disc will be released on 5 May, and is available to pre-order now via Amazon and iTunes.
In this video interview, Sunwook gives a tantalising glimpse of his performance, and talks about the genius of Brahms’ work:
Sunwook performs with The Hallé on Thursday 20 April; more information here. He will also be on BBC In Tune on Monday 17 April at around 4.30pm; listen here.