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234th Season

Kun Woo Paik


Kun Woo Paik is considered one of the most important pianists of his generation.

“True, authentic virtuoso! The beast of the piano as well as the perfect musician “
(Le Figaro).
“He can draw enough thunder to raise the phantom of legends”
(New York Times).
“Is Paik a ‘new Busoni’?“
“Paik was simply phenomenal”
(Frankfurt Allgemeine).

Born in Seoul, Kun Woo Paik’s first concert was at the age of 10 performing the Grieg Piano Concerto with the Korean National Orchestra. In the following years he has made his name performing several premieres such as Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an exhibition.

At the age of 15, Kun Woo Paik moved to New York to study with Rosina Lhevinne at the Julliard School and with Ilona Kabos in London. He also studied in Italy with Guido Agosti and Willhelm Kempff. Mr. Paik is the winner of the Naumburg and Gold Medallist at the Busoni International Piano Competitions, and his international career took off following his first New York appearance, in which he performed complete piano works by Maurice Ravel at the Lincoln Centre, and his orchestral debut at the Carnegie Hall.

In 1974 Paik made his European debuts with 3 consecutive recitals at the Wigmore Hall in London, following in 1975 by a recital at the Berlin Philharmonic. Since then he has closely collaborated with conductors such as Lorin Maazel, Mariss Jansons, Sir Neville Marriner, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Jiri Belohlavek, Mikhail Pletnev, Dmitri Kitaenko, James Conlon, John Nelson and Eliahu Inbal and performed with orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, London Symphony, BBC Symphony (Last Night of the Proms 1987), Orchestre de Paris, Berlin Symphony, Hungarian National, Oslo Philharmonic, Rotterdam, Rai Italia, Warsaw Philharmonic and English Chamber Orchestra. He is also a regular guest artist of Music festivals such as Berlin Festwochen, Aix-en-Provence, La Roque d’Antheron, Ravinia, Mostly Mozart, Colmar, Montreux, Dubrovnik, Aldeburgh and Moscow Easter Festival.

He was the first Korean artist to be officially invited by the Chinese government in October 2000. The year 2003 was marked by the fiftieth anniversary of Prokofiev’s death. Paik has performed his concerti in Berlin and Milano, Budapest, Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, Nice and Seville. Next season he has been invited to perform the complete Rachmaninov Concerto with the China Philharmonic in November 2004. Other forthcoming performances include an invitation from Mr. Penderecki to perform his new piano concerto under Penderecki’s baton.

His repertoire is extensive from Bach to Stockhausen, from Busoni to Scriabin, from Liszt to Messiaen. He created an important musical event with a series of 6 recitals in London and Paris dedicated to works for solo by Franz Liszt: “to play Liszt is for Kun Woo Paik is a mystical journey, a way of bringing his audience to the very heart of this work, to feel its fundamental pulse...” (Brigitte Massin in Le Matin). In the year 2000, he gave the Asian Premier of Busoni piano concerto in Seoul.

Kun Woo Paik’s numerous recordings include Scriabin, Liszt, complete works for solo piano by Mussorgsky, complete Rachmaninov’s Piano Concertos and “Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini” (under Vladimir Fedoseeyev for BMG.) His complete Prokofiev Piano Concerto recording received both the “Diapason d’or” of the year in 1993 and “Nouvelle Academie du disque” Award in France.

As an exclusive Decca artist, to celebrate J.S Bach’s year in 2000, he recorded Busoni’s Transcriptions of Bach’s organ works followed by an album of Faure’s Piano works, which won all the major prizes in France. He recently released the complete works for piano and orchestra by Chopin with Antoni Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic.

In 2005, Kun Woo Paik started new project to record all 32 Sonatas by Beethoven for Decca. First volume (Sonatas Nr.16~26) was released in August 2005.

“Paik’s sense of drama, his wit, mastery of nuance, thoughtfully weighted chords and fleet-fingered virtuosity, all are remarkable.”( The independent) – Rob Cowan

In 2007, Kun Woo Paik gave 8 consecutive recitals performing all Beethoven’s 32 sonatas in China and in Korea with great popular success, to celebrate the completion of his recording of Beethoven’s masterpiece.

Kun Woo Paik lives in Paris and is the Artistic Director of the Emerald Coast Music Festival in Dinard (France) and was made the “Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres” by the French Government in 2000.

Mariinsky Theatre:
1 Theatre Square
St. Petersburg
Mariinsky-2 (New Theatre):
34 Dekabristov Street
St. Petersburg
Mariinsky Concert Hall:
20 Pisareva street
St. Petersburg

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