Deutsche Grammophon releases live recording of highlights from 21-year-old Korean pianist’s prize-winning performances

© Wojciech Grzedzinski NIFC

Warsaw, 21 October 2015. Deutsche Grammophon (DG) is proud to present the debut solo album from Seong-Jin Cho, winner of the 17th International Chopin Piano Competition. Cho took the coveted first prize, among the most prestigious titles in the world of classical music. He was named winner on Tuesday 20 October 2015, following three weeks and three stages of competition in Warsaw. The recording, set for international release on 6 November, contains highlights from the 21-year-old South Korean pianist’s recital rounds. This live album marks the start of a long-term collaboration between DG and the Fryderyk Chopin Institute, created to promote the work of outstanding interpreters of Chopin’s music to the widest possible audience.

The International Chopin Piano Competition was founded in Warsaw in 1927 and has been held every five years since 1955. It stands today as the world’s premiere competition for classical pianists, thanks not least to its commitment to artistic excellence and distinguished track record in discovering exceptional musical talent. The rollcall of Chopin Competition winners is second to none in its concentration of piano legends, including DG artists Maurizio Pollini, Martha Argerich, Krystian Zimerman, Yundi Li and Rafał Blechacz. The equally remarkable list of runners-up includes Vladimir Ashkenazy and Mitsuko Uchida, both signed to DG’s sister label Decca.

Seong-Jin Cho was born in Seoul, South Korea, on 28 May 1994. He won the International Fryderyk Chopin Competition for Young Pianists in 2008 and took third prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 2011. Cho, who lives in Paris, has already performed with leading orchestras and conductors, including the Mariinsky Orchestra and Valery Gergiev, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Myung-Whun Chung, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and Yuri Temirkanov, and the Russian National Orchestra with Mikhail Pletnev.

“It has been a wonderful experience for me to be part of this great Competition and a dream come true to be named as winner of its first prize,” observed Seong-Jin Cho. “Chopin’s music tells us so much about the human condition and speaks directly to the heart. I hope that this Deutsche Grammophon recording will move all those who hear it.”

Over 450 performers born from 1985 to 1999, from 45 countries, applied to participate in this year’s International Chopin Piano Competition. The Chopin Institute’s Admission Committee invited 160 of these to perform in the Competition’s Preliminary Round in Warsaw in April, 77 of whom were chosen by the jury to contest the three final stages from 3 to 16 October. Seong-Jin Cho emerged victorious from the 10 pianists selected for the Grand Finale. In addition to a cash prize of €30,000, he also received the Fryderyk Chopin Society Prize for the best performance of a polonaise.

“Deutsche Grammophon is delighted to launch its new strategic partnership with the Fryderyk Chopin Institute with an album that captures the passion and beauty of Seong-Jin Cho’s Chopin,” comments Costa Pilavachi, Universal Music Group International’s Senior Vice President of Classical A&R. “After three weeks of intense competition and extraordinary music-making, we were captivated by his wonderful winning performances and believe that he is destined to become one of the finest artists of his generation. The International Chopin Piano Competition sets the benchmark by which all other music competitions are judged. It is the king of such events and, as such, attracts worldwide attention to the very best in classical music. We are thrilled to be connecting the Chopin Competition with a large new audience, through our social media campaign and live streams from the finals, and now with the release of Seong-Jin Cho’s DG debut album.”

Dr. Artur Szklener, Director of the Chopin Institute, hailed Seong-Jin Cho as a true rising star. “Chopin’s music, which lies at the heart of the piano repertoire, tests everything from the quality of a performer’s technique to the depth of their artistic insight and imagination,” he said. “This year’s International Chopin Piano Competition attracted a record number of entrants from around the world. It brought out the best from many of those who contested the final rounds and deeply moved its audiences. Seong-Jin Cho emerged as the clear winner with his transcendent performances. Thanks to our major new partnership with Deutsche Grammophon, people around the world will now be able to experience the emotional power, expressive nuance and mature vision of his Chopin interpretations.”