Seong-Jin Cho won the International Chopin Piano Competition in 2015, and since then, his career has been on an upward trajectory. The CD release that followed the win was ranked number 1 on the Korean Pop charts, and just last November, he substituted for Lang Lang in concerts with Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic. He’s playing this Sunday afternoon at Herbst Theatre through Chamber Music San Francisco.
There’s more information about the concert at the Chamber Music San Francisco website.
“Honestly I can say that I hate competitions,” he says, “because I was so nervous during the competition, and I don’t enjoy to compete with somebody else. So it was a very stressful moment, but it gave me a lot of opportunities to build up my career in Europe, and in States, and of course in Asia.” And that’s reflected in his stepped-up performance schedule. “Before the Chopin competition, I played like 20 concerts or 30 concerts a year, but since I won the Chopin, I started to play one hundred concerts a year.” He’s also got a new CD out, with repertoire by Debussy. “Of course Debussy and Chopin are totally different, but they are somehow connected, because Debussy really loved Chopin’s music, and their music are both poetic and colorful, and also romantic.” Sunday’s concert will include those two composers, as well as Beethoven. “Beethoven’s music is rather more symphonic, and Chopin’s music is sometimes very operatic or pianistic. Debussy also… of course there’s some kind of imagination of orchestra instrument, but it’s rather poetic and colorful, it’s like a painting.” And about that pop chart ranking? “I really appreciate the support from my fans in Korea, but honestly, I don’t consider me as a pop-star, and honestly I don’t care.”