classical music

William Youn Reaches New Heights with Schubert’s Piano Sonatas

William Youn release new Schubert Piano Sonata album.Credit Irène-Zandel. Music Press Asia

Korean classical music pianist William Youn releases his third Schubert album today via Sony Classical. These wonderous piano sonatas are some of Youn’s finest works on the piano. Comprising three CDs, this third release completes William Youn’s acclaimed Schubert cycle and features a total of ten sonatas.

In this brief video interview with William Youn, we are invited through an open window into the life we know of William Youn today in his relentless devotion to Schubert. Apart from the piano, his love for porcelain made us feel an instant attraction to a hobby we all have a little in us.

Watch the video of William Youn here.

“A pianist with a marvelous devotion to Schubert. William Youn’s interpretation of Schubert’s piano sonatas felt just like a sweet bedtime story. In all its clarity, he expresses the gentleness and deepest longings of Schubert’s and ultimately all of ours too,” said Monica Tong, editor-in-chief of Music Press Asia.

Critics have called him “a true poet of the piano” whose “brilliant touch” allows him to explore the “spiritual depths” of the music he plays: William Youn is one of the finest pianists of our day and has established an international reputation, particularly for his Schubert recordings. His playing is characterized by subtlety, emotional insight, and sensitive analysis.

William Youn gained his first decisive point of entry to Schubert’s world following his move to Europe and, more especially, to Germany. Born in Korea, he studied in Boston before travelling to Hanover, where he completed his training as a pianist with the legendary Karl-Heinz Kämmerling.

He recalls his initial time in a foreign country where he did not yet speak the language: “At some point during these early weeks I heard Winterreise and was struck by one world in particular since it perfectly described his own feelings in this situation: ‘Loneliness’. I believe that my journey with Schubert began that day.”

For pianist William Youn, Franz Schubert’s piano sonatas are not just a part of his instrument’s core repertory but he himself has long been fascinated by this unique and often unusually melancholic music. “Schubert’s music is for lonely souls,” says Youn. “It moves and consoles its listeners, building them up again in their darkest moments and inviting them to dance and dream, to go for long walks and to hope.”

From Berlin to Seoul to New York, Youn has performed throughout the world with renowned orchestras such as the Cleveland Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, the Belgian National Orchestra, the Mariinsky Orchestra, and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra in many of the world’s finest concert halls, including Wigmore Hall in London, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, the Pierre Boulez Saal and the Konzerthaus in Berlin, the Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall, the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, deSingel in Antwerp, Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles, and the Seoul Arts Center.

William Youn will be touring Korea with Thomas Hampson in December 2022:

Tongyeong, December 17, 2022
Tongyeong Concert Hall KR
Schubert Winterreise with Thomas Hampson

Seoul, December 19, 2022
Lotte Concert Hall KR
Schubert Winterreise with Thomas Hampson

Seoul, December 22, 2022
Lotte Concert Hall KR
Songs with Sumi Jo and Thomas Hampson

For more information about William Youn, visit his official website here.

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