Deutsche Grammophon

Deutsche Grammophon signs Chopin Competition winner Seong-Jin Cho following record-breaking success of his debut album on the yellow label

Seong-Jin Cho, winner of the 2015 International Chopin Piano Competition, has joined Deutsche Grammophon’s roster of artists. The 21-year-old pianist’s signing will be formally announced in Seoul, South Korea on 1 February 2016 on the eve of the Chopin Competition Prize-Winners’ Gala Concert at the Seoul Arts Center. Cho, who will give two concerts the following day with his fellow competition laureates, expressed his delight and his thanks for the overwhelming support he has received from music-lovers in Europe and in his native South Korea.

“It is a genuine honour for me to record for this great label, the champion of the highest values in classical music,” he said. “I am so happy that we will launch this new relationship with a recording of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor and his Four Ballades, works that are so close to my heart.” Cho is set to record the First Piano Concerto in partnership with the Staatskapelle Dresden and his fellow countryman Myung-Whun Chung in Dresden in April will travel to Berlin later this year to survey the composer’s Ballades, works that pose a considerable technical and even greater artistic challenge to the performer.

“We are delighted to add such a remarkable young pianist and already highly accomplished musician to the yellow label,” said Clemens Trautmann about his first signing since becoming President of Deutsche Grammophon last December. “Seong-Jin Cho is clearly one of the most supremely gifted artists of his generation. Whoever followed the Chopin Competition or heard him perform a recital, is aware of his creative and playful, yet serious and deeply knowledgeable approach to the centrepieces of the piano repertoire. The ecstatic response of young audiences to his beautiful music-making confirms that he has the extraordinary power to move and inspire.”

Cho secured first prize at the prestigious Warsaw competition last October with an exquisite interpretation of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.1, described as “unequivocally brilliant” by the Telegraph (London). Deutsche Grammophon launched its new strategic partnership with the Fryderyk Chopin Institute with a rush-released recording of live highlights drawn from Cho’s competition performances.

The album propelled the pianist to pop-star status in South Korea, achieving triple platinum sales within a week of its release on 9 November and triggering a sales frenzy at stores across the country. It reached No. 1 in the nation’s pop album chart on the strength of pre-orders alone and has now sold well over 100,000 copies.

Seong-Jin Cho, born in Seoul in May 1994, began playing piano at the age of six and gave his first public recital five years later. He became the youngest ever winner of Japan’s Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in November 2009 and received third prize at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in July 2011. Cho was awarded the Chopin Competition’s coveted Gold Medal following three weeks of competition in October 2015; he also received the Fryderyk Chopin Society Prize for the best performance of a polonaise.

Since 2012 Cho has lived in Paris and studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Michel Béroff. He has appeared as concerto soloist with, among others, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra and Mariinsky Orchestra, and has worked with such leading conductors as as Myung-Whun Chung, Lorin Maazel, Marek Janowski, Mikhail Pletnev, Valery Gergiev and Vladimir Ashkenazy.