A nice cuppa sets up pianist Sunwook for concert date!

Sunwook Kim
Sunwook Kim
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Award-winning pianist Sunwook Kim says Sheffield is just his cup of tea.

On his first visit to the city, the Korean star bought a packet of tea from a stall on Fargate and it got him hooked on the nation’s favourite drink.

“I had just changed from drinking coffee and that tea really set me up for the concert,” recalls the 26-year-old, who won the Leeds International Piano Competition in 2006.

“It was a warm audience and a grand venue, so it’s a great honour to play again.”

He won in Leeds aged 18, playing alongside the Halle Orchestra, and returns with them to play Prokofiev’s 3rd piano concerto on Sunday at the City Hall.

Sunwook said: “It is a most demanding piece, different in style to most other concertos, but it makes me feel free and is fun.

“I often play Prokofiev’s 2nd concerto, but this is my first time with the 3rd, it has all the essence of Prokofiev, it is so dramatic and has so much character.”

The conductor will be Jamie Phillips, the youngest-ever assistant conductor at the Halle, aged 23.

Sunwook already respects Phillips after he was described as ‘one of the greatest young conductors’ by Halle legend Sir Mark Elder.

“I’m looking forward to playing alongside him, to put together a performance which is passionate and authentic.

“The advantage of playing with someone of my generation is neither of us is in awe of a great maestro.

“We could be working together for the next 40 years, which is an attractive idea because we can learn together.

“We can explore and discover pieces, whereas if you are with a maestro you are always asking for advice.

“With Jamie I can feel free to ask for what I want too!”

The programme also features Kodaly’s Dances of Galata and Dvorak’s always popular 9th symphony.

The performance starts at 7pm.

Tickets are on sale and available at sheffieldcityhall.co.uk or via the box office on 2789789.