South Korean pianist Seong-Jin Cho is “a master” (Wall Street Journal) who combines “remarkable dexterity” with “sensitivity and an offbeat interpretive personality” (San Francisco Chronicle).
On Sunday May 1 at 7 p.m., Cho will perform works by Maurice Ravel and Frédéric Chopin as part of the Great Artists Series at Washington University in St. Louis. Sponsored by the Department of Music Arts and Sciences, the series hosts intimate recitals with some of the brightest stars in contemporary classical music. Cho’s performance also serves as the department’s annual Carlin event.
The program will begin with “Pavane pour une Infante morte” by Ravel. Inspired by Renaissance ceremonial dance, the piece was written in 1889, when Ravel was a student at the Paris Conservatory, and became one of his first popular successes. Then comes “Gaspard de la Nuit” by Ravel (1908), a famous work based on three poems from the collection of Aloysius Bertrand.
The rest of the program will consist of Chopin’s four Scherzos for solo piano. Italian for “joke”, scherzos were usually light and playful sections within large sonatas or symphonies. But Chopin, like Beethoven, radically rethought the form. Composed between 1831 and 1843, Chopin’s scherzos are inventive, changing and technically demanding, filled with drama, melancholy and sudden emotional contrasts.
The show will take place at WashU’s E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall, 560 Music Center, 560 Trinity Ave., at the intersection of Delmar Boulevard.
Seong Jin Cho
Born in 1994 in Seoul, Cho began learning the piano at the age of 6, and in 2009 became the youngest winner of the International Hamamatsu Piano Competition in Japan. After winning the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw in 2015, he recorded Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the London Symphony Orchestra for Deutsche Grammophon. This was soon followed by collections of Debussy and Mozart. His latest album, released in 2020, features Schubert’s “Wanderer” Fantasy, Piano Sonata Op. 1 and Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B minor. Highlights of the 2021-22 season include performances with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchester, New York Philharmonic and Orchester National de France. Read more here.