The South Korean conductor Shiyeon Sung has a natural authority and consistently finds a balance between her passion and dynamism and a sense of level-headedness.
When James Levine appointed her as his Assistant Conductor at the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2007, she already had a reputation as one of the most exciting emerging talents on the international music circuit: shortly before, Shiyeon Sung had won the International Conductors‘ Competition Sir Georg Solti and the Gustav Mahler Conductors‘ Competition in Bamberg. During her three-year tenure in Boston, she began a close collaboration with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted their season opening concert in 2007. In 2009, the orchestra established an Associate Conductor’s position especially for her, which she held until 2013.
The list of orchestras that Shiyeon Sung has worked with since then is remarkable. This includes renowned European orchestras such as the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Konzerthaus Orchestra Berlin and the Bamberg Symphony, as well as the National Symphony Orchestra Washington, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra or the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which she led in a spectacular debut concert with Martha Argerich at the Tongyeong International Music Festival. Furthermore, she appeared as guest conductor at the Teatro Colón and the Stockholm Opera.
She was chief conductor of the Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra from 2014 until the end of 2017, during which time she led the orchestra to international success. Following a performance in 2015 at the Philharmonie Berlin, Shiyeon Sung and her orchestra were the first Asian orchestra to be invited for a guest appearance at the Musikfest Berlin, the renowned international orchestra festival, in 2017. Their recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 for Decca documents Shiyeon Sung’s outstanding work with the group of predominantly young orchestral musicians, for which she was awarded the Musical Performance Prize 2017 from the Daewon Cultural Foundation. After her departure from Gyeonggi, Shiyeon Sung has relocated to Berlin, but remains a popular guest in her home country and will not only make her debut at the Korea National Opera in La Bohème, but also appear twice with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.
This season she will also make her debuts with the Seattle Symphony and the Orchestre national d’île de France, conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra in three subscription concerts with works by the Mendelssohn siblings and Dvořák, and conduct the Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna again, which immediately re-invited her following the successful debut concert in the spring of 2018.
Born in Pusan, South Korea, Shiyeon Sung won various prizes as a pianist in youth competitions. From 2001 to 2006, she studied orchestral conducting with Rolf Reuter at the Hanns Eisler School of Music in Berlin and continued her education with advanced conducting studies with Jorma Panula at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm.
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