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Violinist Esther Yoo is into brain science to develop musical inspiration

Violinist Esther Yoo is into brain science to develop musical inspiration

Posted June. 15, 2018 09:27,   

Updated June. 15, 2018 09:27


“Recently, I have been reading books related to brain science. I want to know the circuit of people’s emotions, psychology and cognition,” said Esther Yoo, the first Korean selected as a new generation artist designated by BBC. She is also known as a musician who is more mature than her age. “I am more mature than my age because I was raised by my grandmother,” the 24-year-old violinist told this reporter over the phone. “I feel a sense of responsibility when she hears that she is mature.

Esther Yoo was born and raised in New Jersey, the United States, and moved to Belgium at the age of six. She first encountered the violin at four. At that time, she finished the 4-year course of Suzuki Academy New York in just eight months and came to be known as a genius. She was also the youngest to received awards at the Sibelius Violin Competition (3rd place) and the Queen Elizabeth Violin Competition (4th place). From 2014 to 2016, she was the first Korean to be selected as the new generation artist designated by BBC.

“My grandmother was a pianist and both my parents learned the violin and the piano and the flute as a hobby, respectively,” said Esther. “I was exposed to classical music from a fetus.”

The young violinist enjoys reading books or hiking rather than going to clubs, which gave her the nickname “young grandma” but she enjoys challenges when it comes to music. She released an album by organizing the “Zen Trio” with a colleague she met at the “BBC Prom,” which is a music festival in the United Kingdom and also went up to a stage at a club in Seoul a couple of years ago.

Recently Yoo recorded an OST of the movie “On Chesil Beach.” She also shares her daily life with fans on SNS actively. “The period where enjoying classical music in concert hall or stages is over,” she said. “I enjoy meeting fans on stage and outside.”

She studied at the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich in Germany after graduating an international school. She said that the knowledge she acquired and the people she came to know during the period was the most precious musical asset. She also cannot go without mentioning her collaboration with several legendary masters. “Lorin Maazel taught me how to lead the life as a musician, which is full of difficulties and troubles, while Vladimir Ashkenazy taught her commitment and overflowing energy for music,” said the violinist.

Esther Yoo will be collaborating with the Russian National Orchestra led by Russian pianist and conductor Mikhail Pletnev in Busan on June 27 and in Seoul on June 28. She will be playing Sibelius violin concertos. “This is a song I played at the final stage of the Sibelius Competition,” said Yoo. “I am very excited to perform with the Russian orchestra, led by the great conductor in my home country.”

Seol Lee snow@donga.com