Sunwook Kim

It is our pleasure to talk to the South Korean star pianist, Sunwook Kim as we continue our focus on Piano4etoiles and their wonderful cycles in Berlin...Photo credit: Chung Hee-cho/The Korea Herald

We all know HELLO STAGE’s favorite color! What’s yours?

I used to like black very much but now I am trying to accept white, green, yellow and grey. I prefer gloomy colours rather than shiny/bright colours.

What was the best advice a teacher ever gave you?

You never improve without taking risks.

How has your practice changed with time?

I have always practiced for 2 hours in the morning and 2-3 hours in the afternoon. It is a daily routine and I love it. Practicing piano is not additional work. It’s just part of my everyday life. But a disadvantage of this is that it is very difficult to plan any holidays. I have never spent longer than 4 days without practicing. I guess it comes from a mental as well as physical anxiety. It’s kind of a withdrawal symptom.

What do you think is the most important trait of a successful artist in today’s modern world?

Of course, artists should understand, and digest music in depth through learning its history and the composers’ background and convey it to the audience with the most 'alive' sound. Then, a good physiognomy and an ability to communicate with the public are also necessary and important but these shouldn’t have to be a priority. There are some artists who tend to concentrate on other traits rather than on their musicianship. In my opinion, there is a difference between a successful artist and a great artist in the modern world.

How much time do you spend every day on Facebook, twitter, and which other ways do you use to promote yourself?

I have started working with a PR Company based in Europe since release of my recordings and they have control over my Facebook, which is also automatically linked to Twitter. Of course I share resources and ideas with them! I spend quite a large amount of time using my mobile to read blogs about music, wine, fashion and artisan craftsmanship that I really adore.

As well as being an internationally acclaimed solo pianist, you are a keen chamber musician; what makes the Brahms cycle in Berlin special?

Brahms’ music is very serious. His music doesn’t have any exaggeration or unnecessary notes. Every note has a high value and musicians have to really take care of it, as a gem. Therefore, it is a great privilege to play with the most Brahmsian violinist, Guy Braunstein and the most respected musicians from the Berliner Philharmoniker. They fully understand the way of playing Brahms. How could it be better than this?

Being a millennial artist yourself has surely influenced your life as a musician in many ways. How do you see the influence of technology affecting the development of classical music, if at all? Which developments do you find most interesting?

It is truly fascinating to see the classical music industry changing so quickly in such a short period of time.

In the 1990s and even in the beginning of the 21st century, it was unimaginable to listen to concerts from Europe, America and Asia with the world’s greatest orchestras / conductors / instrumentalists / singers at home or on our mobile via Youtube and live streaming services from many venues.

Moreover, the cost is reasonable and it works with any device. It has brought a huge change to all the people who love classical music. But as a musician myself, the only thing I am against this technology advancement is the quality of sounds. It is not possible to convey the true sounds we make, this is not possible through any of these audio systems or headphones/earphones.

Author: Nina Lucas HELLO STAGE
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