Hyung-ki Joo

Hyung-ki Joo has devoted his creative energy to making classical music accessible for audiences of all ages and backgrounds and has explored ways to present concerts in fresh and relevant ways for this 21st Century.

On stage, Joo enraptures audiences with his jovial and contagious stage presence as well as his high-energy, virtuosic performances. He takes on various musical roles and develops special projects that present him as pianist, orchestra leader, communicator, arranger and composer. As a soloist, he has performed with renowned orchestras such as the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna Symphony, Sinfonia Varsovia and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. An invitation from the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia under Lionel Bringuier was a highlight of the current season. As a curator, he was invited to conceive the opening of the Vienna Festival 2023.

Joo’s compositions have been performed by orchestras, ensembles, and soloists such as the New York Philharmonic, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Komische Oper Berlin Ensemble, META4, Emanuel Ax, Tine Thing Helseth, Daniel Hope, Natasha Paremski and Yuja Wang, and have been recorded by artists such as Shani Diluka, Sun Hee You and the Ahn Trio. His music is published by Universal Edition and Modern Works.

Joo’s love for chamber music has shaped his musical career, leading to collaborations with artists including Renaud Capuçon, Martin Fröst, Janine Jansen, Mischa Maisky, Julian Rachlin, Belcea Quartet as well as members of the Alban Berg Quartet and Quatuor Ébène. In 2021, a new trio project was formed with members of the Quatuor Ébène, Pierre Colombet and Raphaël Merlin. His fondness for lieder and vocal repertoire has led to collaborations with singers such as Felicity Lott, Valentina Nafornița and Julien Prégardien, and future projects include collaborations with Mojca Erdmann, Asmik Grigorian and Nadine Sierra.

Besides performing as a pianist and chamber musician with the world’s top orchestras and musicians, Joo has also collaborated with many artists outside of the conventional classical music world. Billy Joel is one such artist who engaged Joo to arrange and record Joel’s final album of solo piano pieces, Fantasies & Delusions. He has also appeared in several films, including Pianomania, Noseland and Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Classical Music.

A passionate communicator, Joo works to inspire the next generation of musicians. In his “Beyond the Practice Room” workshops, he places the focus on the joy of making music and encourages participants to explore other directions beyond “classical” performance. He loves to work regularly with youth orchestras and ensembles. Following a recent collaboration with the Norwegian National Youth Orchestra, he coached and performed with the Orchestre National des Jeunes du Luxembourg this season. He is the recipient of an honorary doctorate degree from Manhattan School of Music, serves on the faculty of the Paderewski Academy, and is a mentor for graduates and students in their last year at the Yehudi Menuhin School.

Joo’s duo IGUDESMAN & JOO ignited the internet with their inventive and hilarious videos combining classical music, comedy and pop culture, and have brought laughter into concert halls all over the world. Major orchestras have commissioned the duo to create new works, and illustrious musical guests such as Joshua Bell, Gidon Kremer, Viktoria Mullova and Yuja Wang have all asked the duo to create shows for them. They have worked with actors such as John Malkovich and Roger Moore in several projects for UNICEF, and are authors of the book Rette die Welt (Save the World), published by edition a.

Joo’s personal claim for his highest achievement is that he is the fastest tooth-brusher in the world. Or so he foolishly thinks.

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©Julia Wesely