Joo Yeon Sir

Described by The Strad as “exuberant… seductive… with bravura and oodles of personality”, prize-winning violinist and composer Joo Yeon Sir has appeared as a soloist with the Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia, and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestras, at venues including the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Wales Millennium Centre, and Liverpool Symphony Hall. 

Born in Korea, Joo Yeon moved to London at the age of 9, to begin her formative training at the Purcell School of Music, where she now teaches, as well as at the Royal College of Music’s Junior Department. Her time at Purcell was followed by degree studies at the Royal College of Music, under the tutelage of long-time mentor, Dr. Felix Andrievsky. During this period, Joo Yeon won the prestigious BBC/Guardian Young Composer of the Year Award, the Royal College of Music’s President’s Award, and has since received numerous prizes of note, including the Royal Philharmonic Society’s ‘Emily Anderson Award’.

She has performed recitals at Wigmore Hall and Bridgewater Hall, with pianist Irina Andrievsky, and is regularly featured on the BBC, Classic FM, Scala, RTE, and France Musique Radios. Music from her latest album, Solitude, has recently been heard all the way in Arizona, US.

In addition to the two works Sir Karl Jenkins composed especially for her – Lament for the Valley and Chatterbox! – Joo Yeon performed on the 2016 Deutsche Gramophone recording of Jenkins’s ‘Cantata Memoria: For the Children’ – a musical commemoration of the Aberfan Disaster, 1966.

Joo Yeon’s extensive repertoire incorporates a substantial span of works, from Bach to the modern day. Her own compositions can be heard in concert, as well as being broadcast on the BBC, and Scala Radio. Notable compositional collaborations include her work with guitarist Laura Snowden, with whom Joo Yeon gives regular composition and education workshops.

Solitude, released in May 2022, was borne from Joo Yeon’s personal experience of the global pandemic and subsequent lockdowns in 2020/2021. For Joo Yeon, this was a period of self-reflection, discovery, and growth. She turned to solo violin repertoire, new works, and revisited her favourite classics, finding both freedom and companionship. These pieces now form the basis of this recording, spanning a wide range of times and styles, from Biber, Paganini, Kreisler and Ysaÿe, to contemporary works by Roxanna Panufnik, Fazıl Say, and Laura Snowden. Joo Yeon’s latest commission – ‘My Dear Bessie’ – was inspired by a book of the same name, which featured love letters of the Second World War. This piece can now be heard on Solitude. The album has received rave reviews, including a double-five-star rating from BBC Music Magazine.

Joo Yeon’s critically acclaimed recital CDs – Suites & Fantasies and Chaconnes, Divertimento and Rhapsodies – are available on the Rubicon Classics label, and have been described by The Observer, Gramophone, and BBC Music Magazine, as “dazzling” and “artfully conceived”, impressing critics with her “sensitivity and restraint”.

Future plans combine Joo Yeon’s most passionate artistic endeavours – concerto performances, cross-arts projects, educational work, and recitals with her long-standing collaborator, Irina Andrievsky. 

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

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