The Guildhall School is delighted to announce pianist Joon Yoon as the winner of this year’s Gold Medal, the School’s most prestigious prize for outstanding soloists. The prize is awarded to singers and instrumentalists in alternate years and this year was the turn of the instrumentalists.
Joon Yoon’s winning performance was Brahms’ Piano Concerto No.1 in D minor, Op. 15, accompanied by the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra, conducted by James Judd.
The other Gold Medal finalists, Ljubica Stojanovic and Dan-Iulian Druţac also performed concertos of their choice before a Barbican Hall audience.
Joon Yoon commented: “I am over the moon to have won the Gold Medal, the journey here has been amazing and I’m so happy. It was great playing with this orchestra with many of my friends in it and James Judd was such a welcoming conductor. I’d like to thank all those who supported me, particularly my tutor Ronan O’Hora who definitely brought the best out in me.”
The Final took place before a distinguished panel of judges including Donagh Collins, Chief Executive at Askonas Holt; Kathryn Enticott, Director at Enticott Music Management; Paul Hughes, General Manager at BBC Symphony Orchestra; Jonathan Vaughan, Vice-Principal and Director of Music at the Guildhall School; and the evening’s conductor James Judd.
The Gold Medal award was founded and endowed by Sir H. Dixon Kimber in 1915. Since 1950 it has been open to singers and instrumentalists in alternate years. Previous winners include William Primrose (1922), Jacqueline du Pré (1960), Patricia Rozario (1979), Tasmin Little (1986) and Bryn Terfel (1989).
Joon Yoon made his solo recital debut in Korea at the age of 12 and his concerto debut in the U.S. a year later. He is an avid solo and chamber musician and performs a wide range of repertoire from Bach to Brahms to Carter.
Yoon gained his Bachelor and Master of Music at the Juilliard School and the Yale School of Music with full tuition scholarships. His teachers there included Yong Hi Moon, Robert McDonald, Melvin Chen and Hung-Kuan Chen, and are his greatest musical influences. He is currently studying with Ronan O’Hora on the Artist Diploma course at the Guildhall School, where he is supported by the Eduard and Marianna Loeser Award.
He has won top prizes at competitions such as the Piano Texas Concerto Competition, the Liszt-Garrison Piano Competition and the Fite Family Young Artist Piano Competition, as well as winning awards at the Peabody Preparatory in Baltimore and the Campillos International Piano Competition in Spain. He was the 2017 winner of the Glass Sellers’ Beethoven Piano Prize at the Guildhall School.
Yoon has performed in prestigious venues across Japan, Korea, Spain and the U.S., including Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, Petit Palau of Palau de la Música, Seoul Arts Center, and Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. He has made concerto appearances with the Peabody Sinfonietta, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra. He has been a fellow of prestigious music festivals such as the Music Academy of the West, the Bowdoin International Music Festival’s Kaplan Fellowship program, where he collaborated with Amir Eldan, Kurt Muroki, Ayano Ninoyama, the members of the Ying Quartet, and New York Philharmonic concertmaster Frank Huang. As a chamber musician, he has worked with Peter Wiley of the Guarneri Quartet, Joel Smirnoff of the Juilliard Quartet. Yoon has also worked with Richard Goode, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Jerome Lowenthal, John O’Conor, Matti Raekallio, and Arie Vardi in masterclasses and festivals.
Recent winners include two winners in 2015: soprano Jennifer Witton who performed the role of Juno in Shakespeare’s The Tempest with the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Barbican in summer 2017; whilst mezzo-soprano Marta Fontanals-Simmons performed in Vivaldi’s Gloria at the Basilica de Sant Francesc in April 2017. Oliver Wass, winner in 2016 presented an evening of French chamber music for harp on 21 May last year with his ensemble, the Pellėas Ensemble, at St John’s Smith Square where they are part of the St John’s Smith Square Artists scheme. Last year’s winner, baritone Josep-Ramon Olivé performed with Clonter Opera as The Count in Le nozze di Figaro,toured with Le Jardin de Voix, directed by William Christie and is to perform as an ECHO Rising Star at the Barbican in 2019.