Piano & Staff Accompanist
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Seung Hyun “Sonny” Yoo was born in Gumi, South Korea. He started the piano at the age of 5, and soon wrote his first composition at 7. He studied music theory and composition before enrolling at Kent State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in music composition and two master’s degrees in composition and piano. While at Kent State, he studied piano with Dr. Donna Lee and composition with Dr. Frank Wiley. He is working on his doctorate in piano at the University of Georgia, studying under Dr. Liza Stepanova.
He is the winner of the University of Georgia Concerto Competition, he recently performed Brahms’s Second Concerto with the UGA Symphony Orchestra. Other recent solo highlights include a showcase at Steinway Hall in New York City, a double appearance as the soloist for Rachmaninoff’s Second Concerto with the Stow Symphony Orchestra and a performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 14, K. 449 with string quartet which also featured his own cadenza.
Sonny’s work as a pianist is also informed by his early composition studies. He has frequently performed his own piano compositions and duo sonatas, and often writes his own cadenzas for Mozart concerti. He was invited to the 2018 American Liszt Society Festival. He recently won First Place for Best Interpretation of the Winning Ohio Call Composition at the Ohio Liszt International Piano Competition.
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He was invited to participate at the Brevard Music Festival, and SongFest in Los Angeles, where he was taught by distinguished musicians such as James Conlon, Susan Graham, Graham Johnson, and composers Jake Heggie, Libby Larsen, and John Musto. Sonny has participated in Chamber Music Athens, and performed in many chamber and collaborative projects, including a Piano Quintet with the members of North Georgia Chamber Symphony. Other notable collaborative appearances include a performance at the Lied Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, and performances as the keyboardist for the Cleveland Chamber Choir.