The Korean pianist, Yeol Eum Son (Korean: 손열음), Son took her first piano lesson at the age of 3 and a half. She made a recital debut on Kumho Prodigy Concert Series in July 1998. She studied with Cheng-Zong Yin, one of China’s most prominent pianists. At the age of 12, she started studying with pianist Dae Jin Kim. At age 16, she entered the Korea National University of Arts to continue her piano studies. She holds a degree from the Korean National University of Arts, under the guidance of Dae Jin Kim. Since 2006, She has been studying with Arie Vardi at the Hochschule für Musik und Theatre, Hannover, Germany. Her Other awards include: 2nd Prize, International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians; 1st Prize, Oberlin International Piano Competition (1999); 1st Prize, The 7th Ettlingen Piano Competition (2001); 1st Prize, 53rd Viotti International Music Competition (2002); 3rd Prize, Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition (2005). She is a double Second Prize winner at the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in 2011 (also Best Chamber Concerto Performances, Best Performance of the Commissioned Work) and at the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2009.
Yeol Eum Son's graceful interpretations, crystalline touch and versatile, thrilling performances have caught the attention of audiences worldwide. She first drew international attention when she appeared as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Lorin Maazel in 2004. Favourite among international orchestras and distinguished conductors (including Yuri Bashmet, Karel Mark Chichon, Myung-Whun Chung, James Conlon, Lawrence Foster, Valery Gergiev, Lorin Maazel, Ludovic Morlot), she enjoys close and successful collaboration with Maestro Valery Gergiev and Maestro Dmitri Kitaenko with whom she appeared on multiple occasions with the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Tonkünstler-Orchesters Niederösterreich and Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra. She has also performed with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, NHK Symphony, Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony, KBS Symphony Orchestra, Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, St. Petersburg Academic Symphony, NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg and Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern.
Sensitive, emotional and powerful pianist, Yeol Eum Son gives frequent solo and chamber music performances around the world. Recent recital highlights include the Mariinsky Concert Hall, Bad-Kissingen Summer Music Festival, Besancon Festival, Rotterdam Gergiev Festival, Helsingborg Piano Festival as well as many chamber concerts and with violinists Clara-Jumi Kang, Svetlin Roussev and Kumho-Asiana Soloists group. Future recitals include debut dates at the Fribourg International Piano Series in Switzerland, with San Francisco Chamber Music Society and at the Philipps Collection in Washington DC. She will also return to the PyeongChang Music Festival and Mariinsky Theatre.
Concerto highlights of her current and upcoming seasons include appearances with the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Bergen Philharmonic and Dresdner Philharmonie under the baton of Dmitri Kitaenko; Paris debut date with Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Mikko Franck; a European tour with KBS Symphony Orchestra under Yoel Levi; Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and the closing concert of the I International Mariinsky Far East Festival in Vladivostok under Valery Gergiev.
At the age of 18, Yeol Eum Son recorded the complete Frédéric Chopin's Etudes (Op. 10 and Op. 25) for a CD on the Universal Music Label (2004). In February 2016, she released a new album under Universal Music Korea entitled "Modern Times", featuring the music of early 20th century composers: Alban Berg, Prokofiev, Igor Stravinsky and Ravel. Her discography also includes F. Chopin's Nocturnes for Piano and Strings released in 2008, under the Universal Music label, her prize-winning Cliburn Competition live performance recording released in 2009 by Harmonia Mundi and a multi-channel SACD O’ New World Music released in 2012 under an independent Korean label.
Yeol Eum Son currently lives in Hannover, Germany. She is an honorary ambassador of the Seoul Arts Center and her home city of Wonju.