"... 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, 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 8 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.
Music by Robert Schumann
- "Abegg" Variations, Op.1
- Bunte Blätter (Colourful Leaves), Op.99 (excerpts)
- Toccata in C, Op.7
- Waldszenen (Forest Scenes), Op.82
- Drei Fantasiestücke (Three Fantasy Pieces), Op. 111
- Arabeske in C, Op. 18
- Papillons (Butterflies), Op. 2
- Gesänge der Frühe (Songs of Dawn), Op. 133