Composer Unsuk Chin was born in Seoul, South Korea, and taught herself piano from an early age. Introduced to western classical music at school by a teacher who encouraged her to write her own pieces, she went on to study composition first at Seoul National University with Sukhi Kang, and then at the University for Music and Theatre in Hamburg with György Ligeti – who encouraged her to find her own distinct musical voice. She now lives in Berlin and has won many awards for her works, including the 2004 Grawemeyer Prize for her First Violin Concerto. Her Second Violin Concerto “Shards of Silence“ was premiered by Leonidas Kavakos with the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle in 2022.

She is interested in all kinds of music, recognising no boundaries between different traditions or types of instrument – an approach she attributes to growing up in Seoul in the 1960s and 70s. This has given her great freedom to decide exactly how to express herself as a composer, as she explores the ‘magic box’ of sound colours that instruments, voices and electronics can create.


Unsuk Chin in the 2024 Aldeburgh Festival:

Pianist Joseph Havlat begins Aldeburgh Festival’s two-part presentation of Unsuk Chin’s Etudes, which is later completed by Rolf Hind.

Tenebrae gives the first UK performance of Unsuk Chin’s new work for 40 voices as a prelude to Tallis’ Spem in alium.

Unsuk Chin’s Cello Concerto was composed especially for Alban Gerhardt, who performs it with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and conductor Ryan Wigglesworth.

The Royal Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra and conductor Roderick Cox perform the UK premiere of Chin’s Alaraph ‘Ritus des Herzschlags’ ['Ritual of the heartbeat'].


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