1. One of the first prizes you won was the European Piano Teacher’s Association. How did this feel like at the time?
Winning EPTA was a great experience for me and might also be considered as a monumental point in my music life as a child. Previous to this, I had only competed at my local music festival and had not ventured outside of that comfort zone. It was my first “big” competition and I remember it feeling like a huge achievement.
2. Is your family musical?
No, no one in my family is musical. However my parents both love music and have always supported me pursuing music.
3. In 2011, you won ‘Chandos Young Musician of the Year’ and consequently performed Schumann’s Piano Concerto with Chandos Symphony Orchestra. How were your feelings at the time of this special performance?
Chandos Young Musician of the Year 2011 was during my first year at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, when I more focused on getting used to the new music environment; I had come from an academic school and not a specialist music school, so I was not accustomed to the intense music atmosphere than is typical of a conservatoire. Due to this I really had not been expecting to win the competition; I was just happy for the chance to perform my new repertoire that I had worked on with my (at the time) new teacher, Martin Roscoe. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself in the finals and really thrilled when I heard the results that I had won. To be asked to perform with the orchestra a year later was really the icing on the cake. Both Michael Lloyd, the conductor, and Chandos Symphony Orchestra were lovely to work with; I really enjoyed the collaboration.
4. You are currently an artist for Making Music’s Philip and Dorothy Award for Young Concert Artists scheme for 2015-2017 season. Can you explain this scheme please?
This scheme helps musicians gain performing opportunities with Making Music’s 3000+ members/organisations. With the current economic climate, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find engagements particularly regarding the arts, and this award has been a huge help in finding me a number of concerts for the next season; I am looking forward to performing at them all.
5. Amongst your past performances is Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 at Birmingham Festival Orchestra’s inaugural concert under the baton of the assistant conductor of the Hallé Orchestra, Jamie Phillips. How was the atmosphere and your feelings at this performance?
I remember that the atmosphere was really buzzing with excitement, both from the players and the audience. I was already friends with a lot of the members in the orchestra, including Jamie, as a lot of musicians were based in Birmingham (my hometown). I was delighted to be able to perform with everyone, especially at the inaugural concert- there is always something very special about playing with your friends. The enthusiasm and support that I received from everyone was amazing; the whole concert was a memorable event.
6. Can you introduce to us members of your piano quartet please?
In my piano quartet, called the Hill quartet, we have:
Lucia Veintimilla- Violin
Henrietta Hill- Viola
Ben Petrover-Shiboleth – Cello
This chamber group was formed in 2014 and we are all currently studying at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. It is a truly international quartet as Lucia is Spanish, Henrietta is British, Ben is Israeli and I am of Korean ancestry. Recently, we were invited to perform at the Orpheus and Bacchus Music Festival which took place, near Bordeaux. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and it has helped us grow as a quartet.
7. Can you share with us an abiding memory in connection with one of your performances or competitions?
It is not exactly an abiding memory as such but I have a “set” of performances for which I have always been grateful. Since 2010, I have attended Kent International Piano Course (http://www.kipc.co.uk) and this course has provided me with many opportunities to perform. I feel that I owe a lot of my development as a pianist to KIPC. Every performance is a learning experience and this course has offered both solo recitals and concertos; it has helped me grow as a musician. I am really thankful to the faculty here, and especially to Mary Methuen, the director of KIPC.
8. How often do you practice?
I practise every day.
9. Would you consider teaching music in the future?
Yes, I believe that pedagogy is a very important part of being a musician, particularly as you advance further; in order to improve you have to effectively teach yourself. I find that teaching is a rewarding experience too, to be able to pass on your experiences and knowledge to help others.
10. Who is your favourite musician and why?
I do not have a specific favourite musician, as I find that my answer differs depending on what they are playing, whether it is a recording that I am listening to or a live performance that I am attending etc. Sometimes I find that although the same artist has made two recordings of the same piece, I much prefer one over the other. Often it just depends on my mood and what my tastes are that day! In any case, I believe it is important to listen to as many different artists as possible and to always keep an open mind to their interpretations; in the end, music is an art form with no right answer.