Seong-Jin Cho

Seong-Jin Cho


• Born 1994

Editor's Choice

A student of Michel Béroff at the Conservatoire de Paris, Seoul-born pianist Seong-Jin Cho was just 21 when, in October 2015, he won the 17th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw (whose jury members numbered Martha Argerich, Philippe Entremont and Garrick Ohlsson). Not surprisingly, then, Cho's 2016 recording for Deutsche Grammophon of the Polish master's four Ballades and First Piano Concerto (with the LSO under Gianandrea Noseda) is a classy affair – but equally it would be a mistake to overlook his memorably articulate and insightful Debussy anthology from the following year, comprising the two sets of Images, Children's Corner, L'isle joyeuse and early Suite bergamasque (in which 'Clair de lune' is all the more captivating for being totally unaffected).


It seems appropriate that pianist Seong-Jin Cho's official debut recording would feature the music of Frédéric Chopin, given that he won the Sixth Moscow International Frederick Chopin Competition for Young Pianists in 2008, when he was 14 years old. Other high-profile competition finishes after that led to appearances with internationally known orchestras and conductors.

Cho was born in Seoul on May 28, 1994. He began playing the piano at six and was only 11 when he gave his first recital. Following his Young Pianists win in 2008, Cho became the youngest ever to win Japan's Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in 2009 and captured third prize in the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow in 2011. He moved from his native Seoul to Paris in 2012 to study with Michel Béroff.

When Cho participated in the 2015 International Chopin Piano Competition, Deutsche Grammophon recorded his concerto performance and rush-released it. It became a best-seller in Korea and Poland, even topping the Korean pop chart. The label then signed Cho and issued his official debut album in 2016. The 2016-2017 season had Cho traveling in Asia with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra and in Europe with Mikhail Pletnev and the Russian National Orchestra, and making his recital debuts in Carnegie Hall and the Royal Concertgebouw, among other places. 2017 also saw the release of a Debussy recital. The following year, he released an album of music by Mozart, with Yannick-Nézet-Seguin and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. In 2020, Cho issued a recording of music by Schubert, Liszt, and Berg titled The Wanderer.