Multiple award-winning pianist Sun Hee You is one of the most exciting talents of her generation. Sun Hee You's world has revolved around classical music from a very young age, yet she’s often compared to a jazz performer for her malleable and bold style. The longtime resident of Italy is equally at home wowing audiences of the Rome Symphony, numerous jazz festivals or even on tour with Italian singer-songwriter Max Gazzè. As Sun Hee You awaits the possibility to tour again, she’s keeping the hope alive and raising money for Imaginarium through a featured performance of “Chandeliers” on MusicTraveler.TV.
How do you describe your style?
I think I am a new generation modern musician in that I come from the traditional classical world but am intrigued by the current musical world. I am always looking for an interesting new repertoire that can express not only my traditional background but also the modernity that I live, in today's life. In this sense, the most significant work I’ve performed thus far has been the record dedicated entirely to the music of Nikolai Kapustin. Kapustin is a Ukrainian composer whose music is structurally classical but whose language and style belongs to jazz; a true fusion of the two different worlds that come out harmoniously.
In addition to my more traditional classical concert activity, I’ve made several collaborations with musicians who come from pop and jazz but also electronics, creating a harmonious synergy from different musical genres.
Tell us a bit about the Chandeliers project
Chandeliers is a project conceived immediately following the start of the pandemic. I had this beautiful music in mind when I discovered an ancient abandoned piano in the countryside of earthquake-ravaged Abruzzo. I imagined myself there playing Chandeliers, music written immediately after September 11, a catastrophe personally experienced by the composer Hyung-ki Joo in New York.
Living in Rome, with this pandemic, I have lived and am experiencing a disaster and every day I want to get out of this darkness until I find the light. With the video clip that I wrote and directed I want to give a message of hope despite the sadness and despair that surrounds us!
Can you tell us a little about the charitable causes you are engaged with?
I'm working on Imaginarium, an environmental project that can raise awareness of the relationship between humans and our planet Earth. It is a project for piano with videomapping, using the music of Chopin, Debussy, Scriabin, Hyung-ki Joo and Liszt, a dreamlike and poetic journey full of legendary anecdotes and references to science, to discover the incredible connections between the 4 elements (fire, water, air and earth) and us humans. To give an artistic reflection on the fundamental theme of the loss of environmental consciousness, of how we humans are behaving in a bullying way with respect to nature.
In these times when performances are not taking place, where do you dream most of returning to play when that's possible again?
In any place, in the theater, in an open space, in festivals, in museums, wherever I can meet a live audience and share the emotions of music with people.
One of our missions at Music Traveler is connecting artists. Any dream collaboration you'd love to see happen?
There are certainly many artists I would like to collaborate with; Enrico Dindo, Julian Rachlin and Sara McElravy to name a few, but I would be very happy to be able to try to do something totally new for me... collaborating with Aleksey Igudesman and Hyung-ki Joo! That would be incredibly fun!
How has streaming changed your approach to music?
Streaming, for now, is perhaps the only chance to share music with the audience who are at home or anywhere else. Although this cannot replace live-performances, in today's need to engage the public, it takes a high-quality musical performance and some "theatrical" support in the concert to attract the attention of those viewing as if they were living that moment together with the artists and performers, as if it were an Opera or a film.