Young Korean Baritone Celebrates BBC Competition Victory

August 18, 2021 13:47

Baritone Kim Gi-hoon will hold a recital in Korea next month after becoming the first Korean to win the U.K.’s BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition in June.

The competition, first held in 1983, brought to prominence such luminaries as baritones Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Bryn Terfel.

Baritone Kim Gi-hoon speaks at a press conference in Seoul on Tuesday.

“I decided to become a singer when I first saw a battle between Hvorostovsky and Terfel [in 1989]. It was one of my dreams to sing on that stage, but it feels special to win the competition,” he told reporters Tuesday.

In an earlier round of the competition, his performance of Pierrot’s song from Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s “Die tote Stadt” brought tears to the eyes of one judge.

“I thought I’d messed up because the judge had such a somber look on her face when I sang the song,” Kim recalled.

Since graduating from Yonsei University, Kim now studies at Hochschule fur Musik, Theater und Medien in Hannover.

In 2019, he also came second at the International Tchaikovsky Competition and Placido Domingo’s Operalia.

He will give a recital at the Seoul Arts Center on Sept. 4 to celebrate his victory. “I want to become the first person that comes to people’s mind when thinking of the word ‘baritone,’ like Jo Su-mi does for sopranos.” he said. 

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