Joo Yeon Sir - Violinist

Described by Strad Magazine as “exuberant… seductive… with bravura and oodles of personality” Korean-born British violinist Joo Yeon Sir is winner of the prestigious Arts Club Karl Jenkins Classical Music Award, in association with Classic FM, and the Royal College of Music’s President’s Award. She has performed at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Sir Karl Jenkins, the Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall, Manchester Bridgewater Hall, Fairfield Halls and at St. James’s Palace for HRH The Prince of Wales.  She has regularly appeared live on BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM.

Her repertoire is striking and diverse.  This season she has played concertos by Mozart, Mendelssohn, Barber, Dvorak, Sibelius, Walton, Bruch and Brahms; other concerto repertoire includes Haydn, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, and a particular interest in 20th century works – Prokofiev, Khachaturian, Korngold, Britten, Schnittke, Shostakovich and Nielsen.  In recital, she is equally at home in solo violin repertoire (Bach, Ysaÿe, Kreisler and Paganini) as she is in close collaboration with piano or guitar (the latter as one half of the Snowden-Sir Duo).   Her collaboration with Sir Karl Jenkins has already resulted in two works especially written for her unique sound and personality – Lament for the Valley (which became part of his choral work Cantata Memoria) and Chatterbox! (originally for violin/piano, but now also orchestrated for violin/string orchestra).

Aged sixteen, Joo Yeon was overall Grand Prix Laureate at the Nedyalka Simeonova International Violin Competition in Bulgaria, where her gala performance was broadcast on Bulgarian National Radio. In 2015-6, she was selected for the St. John’s Smith Square Young Artist Residency, and has been a recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society Emily Anderson Award, the Making Music Philip & Dorothy Green Award for Young Concert Artists and selected for the Tillett Trust Young Concert Artist Platform.  Following studies with Dr. Felix Andrievsky at the Purcell School of Music and the Royal College of Music, where she twice won the Concerto Competition, Joo Yeon was also Constant & Kit Lambert Junior Fellow 2014-2015 (awarded by The Worshipful Company of Musicians) and presented a sold-out concert series of the complete Beethoven Sonatas for Violin and Piano (with 10 different pianists) as part of her Fellowship.

Also a composer, Joo Yeon won the coveted title of BBC/Guardian Young Composer of the Year in 2005 and her works have been premiered and performed at the Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Cheltenham Town Hall and on BBC Radio 3.  At present, she is working on transcriptions and compositions with her violin-guitar duo partner Laura Snowden for the Snowden-Sir Duo, supported by the International Guitar Foundation Young Artists Platform, and her latest work written for the duo (Scherzo) was premiered on BBC Radio 3 to celebrate International Women’s Day 2017.

This season’s highlights include the Deutsche Grammophon CD release and world premiere of Sir Karl Jenkins’ Cantata Memoria – For the Children, recorded at Wales Millennium Centre with Sinfonia Cymru, her solo CD Suites & Fantasies (due for release in May on Rubicon) with her duo partner Irina Andrievsky, a return to the Royal Festival Hall with London Concert Orchestra and her debut with the London Mozart Players.

Joo Yeon plays on a Matteo Goffriller violin provided by Georg von Opel.

“Ysaÿe’s Poème élégiaque received a glowing performance, with Sir beautifully shaping its long sinuous lines and producing fine G-string playing in the funeral march. She was exuberant in Darius Milhaud’s ‘cinema-fantasie’ Le boeuf sur le toit, feline and seductive, rattling off the fiendish cadenza (by Honegger, I think) with bravura and oodles of personality. It’s a technical roast, often in several keys at once, brilliantly delivered.

– Wigmore Hall 11 November 2013, Tim Homfray, The Strad

Reviews of Joo Yeon Sir to follow.