Toad Lane Concerts: Seungyoun Han piano

Date published: 18 June 2022

Seungyoun Han gave a memorable and emotionally inspiring solo piano recital at this week's Toad Lane concert on Wednesday 15 June.

The Challen grand piano at St Mary in the Baum came from the old art gallery when the lunchtime concerts were taken over from the council. Like some of us older types, it has survived a few knocks over the years. What it lacks in shine, it makes up for in character and wisdom.

What is interesting are the different tones and ‘voices’ that players coax from it. This is possibly what one audience member meant by saying that today’s virtuoso ‘made the piano sing’.

Seungyoun was born in Gwangju, South Korea and started learning the piano and violin at the age of 6. He was a chorister at Westminster Abbey, won a composition competition at the age of 12, studied at Lancing College and was first violinist in the National Children's Chamber Orchestra.

Now concentrating on piano, Seungyoun has recently won prizes, performs often, and studies at the Royal Northern College of Music with Frank Wibaut.

In his brief introduction Seungyoun at once proved himself as cool, calm and confident, yet charming. This was clear in the opening phrases of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata Opus 2 no 3. Performing completely from memory, he explored its vast range of colours.

Similarly with Rachmaninov’s Sonata no 2, with added romantic and enthusiastic depth of feeling.

Both works present tremendous technical challenges and Seungyoun took them in his stride. With outstanding strength and stamina, he managed to draw a rarely heard richness of tone from the old Challen piano when needed. Dazzling virtuosity alternated with fervent, sonorous power that at times was almost symphonic.

The Queen’s Award-winning Toad Lane Concerts are every Wednesday at 12.30pm at St Mary in the Baum, Toad Lane, Rochdale, OL16 1DZ. Entrance fee is £6. No refreshments available now, but the venue is Covid-19 compliant. Contact 01706 648872 for further information.

To see details of forthcoming Toad Lane Concerts, click here.

Dr Joe Dawson

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