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Pianist Cho Seong-jin hopes to expand repertoire beyond Chopin

All Headlines 14:26 February 21, 2018

NEW YORK, Feb. 21 (Yonhap) -- Chopin has been a fixture in the playlist of pianist Cho Seong-jin since he won a prominent Chopin competition in 2015 and shot to international fame.

The 23-year-old South Korean prodigy now wants to wean himself off the great composer, and his upcoming recital at Carnegie Hall scheduled for early 2019 will be the first in years at which Cho does not play his music.

"Since I won the Chopin competition, many people seem to want me to play Chopin. I like Chopin very much, but that doesn't mean I want to play Chopin all the time," he told reporters at a press conference Monday.

Cho won the International Fryderyk Chopin Competition for Young Pianists in 2008 and the International Chopin Piano Competition in 2015.

"I am taking a step away from the burden of winning the Chopin Piano Competition in 2015," he said.

The recital at the Isaac Stern Auditorium slated for January next year will be his second after his sold-out Carnegie Hall debut in February 2017.

Pianist Cho Seong-jin addresses a press conference in New York on Feb. 20, 2018. (Yonhap)

The news conference was held ahead of his Feb. 21-March 6 North American tour. He released his second album, "Debussy," in November and plans to record works by Mozart around July.

Winning the competition in 2015 helped him relieve the stress of wanting to succeed, he said.

"Before winning, I worried if I could ever hold a solo concert. I worried a lot about my future ... After winning, I feel at ease. I feel freer in doing my music."

But the prestigious award has come with an intense schedule.

"Since winning, I've played around 100 times a year. I want to reduce it to around 90. It will make a big difference. I want to travel more, practice more and have more time for myself. I also wish to play in a city where I haven't played before."

Cho said exposing children to an environment where they can listen to classical music is helpful for fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of it.

"My parents weren't musicians. But we did listen to classical music a lot at home ... Classical music is like wine. The more you listen to it, the more you develop a taste for it."

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