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Sonny YooArtist Affiliate: Collaborative Piano

Pianist Sonny Yoo is rapidly gaining recognition for the uncommon versatility of his musical projects as well as the depth and excellence he brings to each area of his work. Winner of the University of Georgia Concerto Competition, he recently performed Brahms's monumental Second Concerto with the UGA Symphony Orchestra. Other recent solo highlights include a showcase at Steinway Hall in New York City performing 20th-century piano etudes ranging from Debussy to Lowell Liebermann, a double appearance as the soloist for Rachmaninoff’s Second Concerto with the Stow Symphony Orchestra and a performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 14, K. 449 with string quartet which also featured his own cadenza.

His work as a pianist is also informed by his early composition studies. He has frequently performed his own piano compositions and duo sonatas, and often writes his own cadenzas for Mozart concerti. His solo repertoire features numerous contemporary works. He was invited to the 2018 edition of American Liszt Society festival to participate in the performance of complete piano etudes by Maurice Ohana and has recently won the First Place in Best Interpretation of the Winning Ohio Call Composition at the Ohio Liszt International Piano Competition with his performance of Sound Echoes by Dolores White.

He was invited to participate at the Brevard Music Festival, and SongFest in Los Angeles, where he received coaching and masterclasses by some of the most distinguished musicians of the time such as James Conlon, Susan Graham, Graham Johnson, and also composers Jake Heggie, Libby Larsen, and John Musto. An avid chamber musician, Sonny has participated in Chamber Music Athens in both of its iterations, and performed in many chamber and collaborative projects, including an appearance as a Piano Quintet with the members of North Georgia Chamber Symphony. Other notable collaborative appearances include a performance at the Lied Center at Lincoln, Nebraska featuring a series of art songs by living women composers, and performances as the keyboardist for the professional Cleveland Chamber Choir.

Seung Hyun (“Sonny”) Yoo was born in Gumi, South Korea. He started the piano at the age of 5, and soon wrote his first composition at 7, an interest that would grow to be a lifetime passion. He received trainings in music theory and composition before entering school at Kent State University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music composition and two master’s degrees in composition and piano from the school where he studied piano with Dr. Donna Lee and composition with Dr. Frank Wiley. He is on his track to receive his doctorate in piano, with two minors, in collaborative piano and music theory respectively, from University of Georgia, studying under Dr. Liza Stepanova. He currently works as a Piano Artist Affiliate at Emory University where he teaches piano and performs with the students on a regular basis.