Critics have called him “a true poet of the piano” whose “brilliant touch” allows him to explore the “spiritual depths” of the music he plays: William Youn is one of the finest pianists of our day and has established an international reputation, particularly for his Schubert recordings. His playing is characterized by subtlety, emotional insight, and sensitive analysis.
From Berlin to Seoul to New York, Youn has performed throughout the world with renowned orchestras such as the Cleveland Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, the Belgian National Orchestra, the Mariinsky Orchestra, and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra in many of the world’s finest concert halls, including Wigmore Hall in London, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, the Pierre Boulez Saal and the Konzerthaus in Berlin, the Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall, the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, deSingel in Antwerp, Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles, and the Seoul Arts Center.
William Youn is also a frequent guest at international festivals such as the Menuhin Festival in Gstaad, the Schubertiade in Hohenems/Schwarzenberg, the MITO SettembreMusica, the Grafenegg Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, the Rheingau Musik Festival, the Heidelberger Frühling, the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the Mozartfest in Würzburg, the Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele, and the Davos Festival.
In addition to the classic grand piano, William Youn also performs on the fortepiano. Not only enjoying playing solo, he is an enthusiastic chamber musician and accompanist, working with artists such as the violist Nils Mönkemeyer, the clarinetist Sabine Meyer, the cellist Julian Steckel, the violinists Carolin Widmann and Veronika Eberle, the Aris String Quartet, and the baritone Thomas Hampson.
Numerous award-winning CD recordings document William Youn’s work. Following several recordings with Nils Mönkemeyer, a cycle of five albums for Oehms Classics with the complete Mozart piano sonatas, and the solo album “Schumann-Liszt-Schubert”, in November 2022 Sony Classical will release the third and final part of Youn’s complete recording of the Schubert piano sonatas. Critics have praised the first two parts of this trilogy for their “flawless, perfectly realized naturalness” (Fono Forum) and for Youn’s depiction of “Schubert’s sense of existential despair.” (Münchner Merkur).
In the 2022/23 season, Youn will celebrate the completion of his Schubert CD cycle with recitals at the Schubertiade in Hohenems/Schwarzenberg as well as in Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie and the Konzerthaus in Berlin. Other highlights of the season include the premiere of a piano concerto by South Korean composer Younghi Pagh-Paan with the Münchener Kammerorchester and a collaboration with choreographer Heinz Spoerli and the Vienna State Ballet for the production “Goldberg Variations”.
Born in Seoul, William Youn first discovered the piano in a Korean kindergarten. At the age of 13 he moved to the USA to study at the New England Conservatory in Boston. Five years later he went to Germany, where he studied with the legendary pianist Karl-Heinz Kämmerling. While a scholarship student at the Piano Academy Lake Como, Youn received further musical inspiration from artists such as Dmitri Bashkirov, Andreas Staier, William Grant Naboré, and Menahem Pressler. William Youn teaches regularly at the Wilhelm Kempff Foundation in Positano, where he is also a member of the Board of Trustees.