INSPIRED BY GOYA
FRIDAY 4 NOVEMBER 2022
VICTORIA CONCERT HALL
"... a master colorist. One seldom hears the piano played with such obvious love and respect for its timbral possibilities. Mr. Paik coaxes a bejewelled, singing tone from his instrument." (The New York Times)
Born in Seoul and long-time resident in Paris, the legendary pianist Kun-Woo Paik follows up on his last concert in Singapore in 2020, an all-Schumann solo recital, with another monumental musical undertaking: the complete Goyescas, Op. 11 by Spanish composer Enrique Granados.
Inspired by the art and times of Spanish painter Francisco de Goya, Goyescas comprises six movements spread across two books, described by the composer as “great flights of imagination and difficulty”. Not only is the work Granados’ crowning achievement, it is also of great significance in Spanish music history for, unlike many of the nationalist creations of his contemporaries, it affirmed the enduring distinctiveness not of Andalusia but rather of the city and region in which Goya spent most of his life: Madrid and Castile, particularly the bohemian characters of the majo and maja that had captivated Goya.
Brought to colourful life by a master pianist, this concert promises a unique, deeply satisfying journey in exceedingly rare and engrossingly spellbinding terrain.
As an appetiser to the main course, Paik performs Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin, a tip of the hat to the years Granados spent in Paris and its influence on his work.
Not to be missed.
RAVEL – Le Tombeau de Couperin
GRANADOS – Goyescas, Op. 11 (complete)
KUN-WOO PAIK, piano
“Kun Woo Paik has a deep feeling for long‚ singing line‚ his control of rubato is masterly and the sheer sound that he draws from a Steinway is ravishing.” (Gramophone)
Born in Seoul, the legendary Kun-Woo Paik’s first concert was at the age of 10 performing the Grieg Piano Concerto, followed by several Korean premieres such as Mussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition. At the age of 15, Paik moved to New York to study with Rosina Lhevinne at the Julliard School and with Ilona Kabos in London. He also studied in Italy with Guido Agosti and Wilhelm Kempff. Mr. Paik is the winner of the Naumburg and Gold Medalist at the Busoni International Piano Competitions, and his international career took off following his first New York appearance, in which he performed complete piano works by Maurice Ravel at Lincoln Centre, and his orchestral debut at Carnegie Hall.
In 1974 Paik made his European debuts with three consecutive recitals at Wigmore Hall in London, followed in 1975 by a recital at the Berlin Philharmonie. Since then, he has closely collaborated with conductors such as Lorin Maazel, Mariss Jansons, Yu Long, Sir Neville Marriner, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Jiri Belohlavek, Mikhail Pletnev, Dmitri Kitaenko, James Conlon, John Nelson and Eliahu Inbal and performed with orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, London Symphony, BBC Symphony (Last Night of the Proms 1987), Orchestre de Paris, Berlin Symphony, Hungarian National, Oslo Philharmonic, Rotterdam, RAI Italia, Warsaw Philharmonic, and English Chamber Orchestra.
Paik’s numerous recordings include Scriabin, Liszt, complete works for solo piano by Mussorgsky, and complete works for piano and orchestra by Rachmaninov (under Vladimir Fedoseyev for BMG). His complete Prokofiev Piano Concertos recording received both the “Diapason d’or” of the Year in 1993 and “Nouvelle Academie du disque” Award in France.
As an exclusive Decca artist, to celebrate J. S. Bach’s year in 2000, he recorded Busoni’s transcriptions of Bach’s organ works followed by an album of Faure’s piano works, which won all the major prizes in France. In 2005, Paik started a new project to record all 32 sonatas by Beethoven for Decca. In 2007 and 2017, Kun-Woo Paik gave eight consecutive recitals performing all Beethoven’s 32 sonatas in China and in Korea with great popular success, to celebrate the completion of his recording of Beethoven’s masterpieces.
Paik lives in Paris and is the Artistic Director of the Emerald Coast Music Festival in Dinard (France) and was made the “Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres” by the French Government in 2000. In 2019, his recording of Complete Chopin Nocturnes was released by Deutsche Grammophon, followed in 2020 by a two-disc all-Schumann offering.