Photo of pianist HieYon Choi

HieYon Choi



Faculty, Peabody Institute

One of the most sought-after pianists of her generation, South Korean pianist HieYon Choi first appeared on the international piano music scene when she won prizes at high-profile competitions such as Kapell, Epinal, Busoni, and Viotti. HieYon Choi has since performed with prestigious orchestras of Europe, US, and Korea such as Rundfunkorchester Berlin, the National Symphony Orchestra (Washington DC), the Northern Sinfonia, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Korean Broadcast Symphony Orchestra, and also appears as a soloist in festivals and concert series.

Alongside the canon of the classical piano literature such as Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms and Debussy, Music of 20th and 21st century forms another important part of HieYon’s career. A strong advocate of the new music, she was the inaugural Artist-in-Residence of Tong-Yeong International Music festival. She performed works of Olivier Messiaen, György Kurtag, Sofia Gubaidulina, York Höller, Unsuk Chin, Suhki Kang a. o. with the Seoul Philharmonic.

HieYon has been recording since 2015 with the producer Martin Sauer at Teldex Berlin (Germany) and will complete recording of the entire Beethoven piano sonatas this coming spring. HieYon’s first and second Beethoven albums were released in 2018 and in 2021 by Decca Korea and UMG respectively, to high acclaim by German and Korean media. The entire set of Beethoven piano sonatas are to be released prospectively in spring 2024. Her other releases include Debussy Douze Etudes, F. Liszt Six Grand Etudes on Paganini, Isang Yun 5 Stücke, Chopin Etudes Op. 10 & Op. 25. HieYon appeared and performed frequently in TV & radio channels in Korea, US, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, and in Germany.

In 2023/24 HieYon joined the piano faculty at Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland (US). She previously served as a tenured piano professor at Seoul National University for the past 24 years. HieYon has been giving numerous master classes worldwide — at the Guildhall School in London, Ecole normale in Paris, Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, the Hochschule Freiburg, Karlsruhe, Düsseldorf in Germany, Manhattan School of Music, Cincinnati, Michigan in the US, Performing Arts Hong-Kong in China, and at summer festivals in Italy, France, US, Korea. HieYon also serves as a jury member at international competitions such as Ishikawa, Epinal, Orléans, Pozzoli, and Maj Lind.

Born in Inchon, South Korea, HieYon gave her debut concert at the age of 6 with the Incheon Philharmonic Orchestra. She won all four most coveted competitions in Korea (Dong-A, Choong-Ang, Korea Times, Ehwa-KyungHyang) before she moved to Germany at the age of 18 to study with Prof. Klaus Hellwig. The late Prof. Hans Leygraf at Hochschule der Künste Berlin and the late Prof. György Sebök at Indiana University were further sources of inspiration to her.