The phenomenal young cellist Andrei Ioniță was awarded the Gold Medal at the 2015 XV International Tchaikovsky Competition. The Times of London recently raved that Andrei is “…one of the most exciting cellists to have emerged for a decade.” A versatile musician focused on giving gripping, deeply felt performances, Andrei has been recognized for his passionate musicianship and technical finesse. The 2015-16 season features major debuts with the Mariinsky Orchestra and Valery Gergiev at Cadogan Hall in London, as well as performances with the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Filarmonica di Bologna, and the Filarmonica “George Enescu” in Bucharest. Andrei will also perform recitals in Berlin, New York, Munich, St. Petersburg, and throughout Italy, before undertaking a chamber music tour of Korea together with the violinist Clara-Jumi Kang and pianist Lucas Debargue. In June 2014, he collaborated with Gidon Kremer and Christian Tetzlaff at the Kronberg Academy’s Festival, “Chamber Music Connects the World.” In the past few years, Andrei has been heard in such venues as the Kammermusiksaal of the Philharmonie in Berlin, Herkulessaal in Munich, Stadtcasino in Basel and Atheneum in Bucharest. Before winning the Tchaikovsky Competition, Andrei won First Prize at the Aram Khachaturian International Competition in June 2013; in September 2014, he won Second Prize and the Special Prize for the interpretation of a commissioned composition at the International ARD Music Competition in Munich. In 2014, he received Second Prize at the Grand Prix Emanuel Feuermann in Berlin.
Andrei was born in 1994 in Bucharest and began taking piano lessons at the age of five before received his first cello lesson three years later. He studied under Ani-Marie Paladi at the Music School “Iosif Sava“ in Bucharest and under Jens Peter Maintz at the Universität der Künste Berlin. Andrei Ioniţă draws his musical inspiration from the greatest cellists of our time, among them David Geringas, Steven Isserlis, Heinrich Schiff, Wolfgang Boettcher, Gary Hoffman and Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt. Andrei Ioniţă is a scholarship recipient of the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben and performs on a violoncello made by Giovanni Battista Rogeri from Brescia in 1671, generously on loan from the foundation.
Praised by his examiner for “the soft caressing touches in quiet passages and his total command over the instrument and the expressiveness,” pianist Yekwon Sunwoo won 1st prize at the 2015 International German Piano Award Competition in Frankfurt and 1st prize at the 2014 Vendôme Competition held at the prestigious Verbier Festival. In addition, he won 1st prize at the 2013 Sendai International Music Competition, 1st prize and Audience Award at the 2012 Piano Campus International Concours in France, 1st prize at the 2012 William Kapell International Piano Competition (including Audience and Chamber Awards), prize-winner at the 2010 Queen Elisabeth Competition and 1st prize at the 2009 Interlaken Classics Competition in Switzerland. Sunwoo has performed extensively as a soloist with numerous orchestras including the Juilliard Orchestra under Itzhak Perlman at Avery Fisher Hall, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop, the Orchestre National de Belgique at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, the Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique du Maroc, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie. In the past, Sunwoo’s recital appearances include performances at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Hamarikyu Asahi Hall in Tokyo, Wigmore Hall in London, Radio France and the Salle Cortot in Paris and the Kumho Art Hall in Seoul. He has been featured on WQXR’s McGraw-Hill Young ArtistsShowcase and given numerous recitals throughout Germany, Switzerland, Prague and Morocco. Sunwoo’s wide chamber music experience includes an invitation from the Kumho Asiana Cultural Foundation to tour to Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama. He has performed for the Chamber Music Society of the Lincoln Center’s Inside Chamber Music Lectures and has collaborated with Ida Kavafian and Peter Wiley on Curtis on Tour and with Roberto Diaz on the Bay Chamber Concerts. He has also performed with the Jerusalem Quartet, Gary Hoffman, Anne-Marie McDermott and Michael Tree. He has been invited to perform at various chamber music festivals such as the Summit Music Festival, the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Toronto Summer Music Academy and Festival, Music from Angel Fire and Chamber Music Northwest.
Born in 1989 in Anyang, South Korea, Sunwoo previously studied under Min-ja Shin and Sun-wha Kim in Korea. From 2005, he studied under Seymour Lipkin at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he received the Rachmaninoff Prize in Piano. He later studied under Robert McDonald and earned his Master’s degree at the Juilliard School, where he won the Munz Scholarship Competition and received the Arthur Rubinstein Prize.