As a young child Sonja Park visited Ronald Reagan in the White House only to sing in a children’s choir from Seoul. Nothing is scripted like an American President’s schedule. Yet Sonja played the piano as well, delighting Reagan so much that he dandled her on his knee.
At the age of 21 Ms. Park’s life changed dramatically when Alexander Jenner heard her in Vienna. Telling her she was “the most talented student he had ever met,” he demanded she become a professional musician, even though she was largely self-taught at that time. Professor Jenner dedicated his last years as a teacher to her at the University of Vienna, where she earned a Degree in Piano Performance with distinction.
As a fully developed artist Sonja continues to make an impact. While still studying, Dora Schwarzberg and Mark Drobinsky asked her to replace Martha Argerich and Alexander Rabinowitsch. With ten days’ notice she learned and performed six Beethoven piano trios with them at the Beethoven Festival in Brescia, Italy.
Sonja’s litany of remarkable stories continues. Recently Ms. Park was invited to open the Katara Cultural Village Opera House in Doha, performing Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto with the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra.
‘She is a unique talent. When she plays one can forget everything. All one feels is love for music. She leads you to another world. She has everything that a musician needs. She is a born artist.’ Andrezej Jasinski, President of Chopin Competition
Born in Seoul, Sonja Park was educated there and in Vienna. The University of Vienna honored her with awards and scholarships from Gonda Weiner, Herbert von Karajan Society, Gesellschaft für Musikfreunde, Ministry for Transport and Science, and Sobotka-Janicek Foundation. In competition Ms. Park won prizes at the Brahms International, Karajan Society, Premio Rodolfo Caporalli, Premio Vittorio Gui and Premio Trio di Trieste.
Sonja Park has collaborated and performed alongside such musicians as Paul Badura Skoda, Max Rysanov, Nikolas Harnoncourt, Dora Schwarzberg, Michael Gutman, Anton Sorokow and Philippe Entremont.
She has appeared on Austrian Radio ORF, Hungarian Radio, RAI UNO in Italy, Slovak Radio and NHK Television in Japan. Ms. Park has played in such concert halls as Konzerthaus Wien, Suntory Hall Tokyo, Wigmore Hall London and Teatro del Maggio Florence, in addition to performances in Bahrain, Bulgaria, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Kuwait, Russia at the Andrey Sakharov International Art Festival, Slovenia, Tunisia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
Since 2011, Ms. Park has been asked to perform annually with Echo Rising Star Dionysis Grammenos at the Corfu Festival of Arts. 2012 saw Sonja in nothing fewer than 40 performances as a soloist and ensemble player.