Jeajoon Ryu / Composer
"The tune of Ryu's tongue is strongly tangible, anchored, nonromantic and fine.
Moods such as melancholy, despair, fear, anxiety, hopelessness, and tranquility are transmitted unhindered.
Ryu's thoughts were conveyed with a focused, intense, and incredible curiosity. "
- Aija Haapalainen, Turan Sanomat, in Finland, June 19, 2018
Jeajoon Ryu was born on August 30, 1970, in Seoul, Korea. He began studying composition when he was 19.. After graduating from Hyundai high school, he studied at Seoul National University under Suk-hi Kang and graduated in 1992. He studied at Krakow Penderecki Music Academy under Krzysztof Penderecki and graduated in 1995.
His internationally praised composition, Passacaglia for Percussion (2004) was followed by Violin Concerto No.1, commissioned for Laboratorium Contemporary Music Festival in 2006, which was also highly critically acclaimed. Marian Borkowski, professor of the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, praised the compositions of Jeajoon Ryu: ‘It is surely can be a special achievement. Ryu’s compositions can be seen as a starting point of neo-Baroquism’. Soon after, his Sinfonia da Requiem received a standing ovation at the Ludwig van Beethoven Music Festival in Poland in March 2008, which established a unique and rare record for contemporary music and elevated him as a globally recognized composer.
Jeajoon Ryu was invited to become the Guest / Composer in Residence at the Nantalii Music Festival (Finland) and Mecklenburg Music Festival (Germany) in 2010 and to Poland’s Gorzow Philharmonic Orchestra in 2011-2012. He was also a jury member of the international Violin Competition of Astana.
He has been the Artistic Director of Seoul International Music Festival since 2015 (a position he also held between 2009-2010 and 2013) and Artistic director of Ensemble OPUS which is most valuable chamber ensemble in Korea since 2010.
In 2015, Jeajoon Ryu was honored by the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage with the Gloria Artis Medal. In commemoration of the 130th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and Korea, Bretagne orchestra illuminated his oeuvres by performing his concerto and chamber music.
In 2018, he was awarded the Yumin Awards by the Yumin Cultural Foundation.
In 2020, he composed his “Symphony No.2”, which conveys the gloominess of today, nostalgia towards the former times, and hope towards the bright future of our humanity.
“Symphony No.2” premiered on 22&23 October 2021, at the Goyang aramnuri Music Hall and Seoul Art Center. Jeajoon Ryu recreated the relevant social issues of 2021 with his musical imagination. He also composed a duet opera with a baritone and a pianist with a story revolving around apartments, which are considered an important value and a measure of success. “The Apartment” was premiered on July 7-8, 2021 at the Sejong S Theater.
Many outstanding artists, such as Arto Noras, Gerard Poulet, Michel Lethiec, Ralf Gothóni, Li-Wei Qin, Shanghai Quartet, Hartmut Rohde, Christian Altenburger, Yoel Levi, Elina Vähälä, Ning Feng, Claudio Bohorquez, Grzegorz Nowak, Okko Kamu, Piotr Borkowski, Ju-Young Baek, So-Ock Kim, Ilya Rashkovskiy, Johannes Moser and Ilya Gringolts have performed Ryu’s works.
His works have also been performed by some of the world’s leading orchestras, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO), l’orchestre regional de Cannes-Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur (ORCPACA), the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra (Helsingin kaupunginorkesteri), Philharmonia Chorus (UK Premiere), the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Varsovia, Bretagne orchestra and Lahti Symphony Orchestra at many prestigious music halls around the world, such as the Cadogan Hall in London, Verdi Hall in Milan, Warsaw Philharmonic Hall and Helsinki Music Centre.
His Violin Concerto No.1 (2006) and Sinfonia da Requiem (2007) have been recorded on Naxos International Label (2009) and Sonata ‘Primavera’ per Violina e Pianoforte No.1 (2008) on Telos Music (2010). Royal Philharmonic orchestra recorded his works “Cello Concerto”, “Marimba Concerto”, and Overture “Il nome della Rosa” on RPO label(2016). His compositions, “Cello Sonata No.1” and “Piano suits” were recorded on DUX label (2017) and “Piano Concerto” has been released on Warner Music (2018).
In 2022, His “Sonata No.2 for Cello and Piano”, performed by cellist Arto Noras and pianist Ralf Gothoni will be released through DUX.
In 2022-2023, His “Concerto for String Quartet” and “Concerto for Trumpet” will premiere at Seou International Music Festival.