5 Questions for Seong-Jin Cho

5 Questions for Seong-Jin Cho

Five burning questions for the award-winning pianist. 

5 Questions for Seong-Jin Cho

Five burning questions for the award-winning pianist. 

If you could give your younger self any advice about practising and performing, what would you say?

I'd tell myself to take more risks. I'd be a little more adventurous with my musical ideas, and maybe try to be a bit more spontaneous and unpredictable.

You've just recorded your first Deutsche Grammophon album, with works you describe as your "dream repertoire": Chopin's Four Ballades and his first Piano Concerto in E minor. In 2015 you won the International Chopin Piano Competition. Would you say Chopin is your favourite composer to play? What is it about these works, and Chopin generally, that you find so compelling?

Chopin is definitely one of my favourite composers, if not my absolute favourite. Chopin's music is very special - it speaks in a language that is very easy for the human soul to comprehend, and that's why I like it so much. It's always heart-warming to listen and to play his music.

When did you decide that you wanted to pursue a career as a concert pianist, and what inspired you to stick with it?

I've wanted to become a concert pianist since when I was a child - I've loved playing the piano ever since I was young. It was my source of joy and relief, and I've always loved the sound of the piano, so that's why I chose to stick with it.

You travel a lot to perform, and seem to have to learn a lot of repertoire in a small amount of time! How do you keep up a good balance of work and life pursuit, especially when being a pianist means working alone a lot of the time? What are you favourite non-musical activities?

I have to try to not think about how stressful it can be sometimes, but it's definitely an enjoyable process. I just kind of go with the flow - do what I need to do in the moment, and see what happens. I love to swim. It's a very relaxing activity, and it's probably one of the few sports that a pianist can do. I also love visiting museums, going to concerts as they're often a great source of artistic inspiration.

A lot of piano students read Rehearsal Magazine, many who are studying for recital examinations. Do you have any go-to practise tips for young musicians?

Practice with a "just never give up" mindset. There are always going to be obstacles, but as long as you continue to believe in yourself and work hard for it, things will eventually come your way.

Seong-Jin Cho's debut album is out now on the Deutsche Grammophon label. For more information, or to purchase it online, click here. 

Seong-Jin Cho's debut album is out now on the Deutsche Grammophon label. For more information, or to purchase it online, click here