The South Korean conductor Shiyeon Sung is a real trailblazer of her profession. She is the first female conductor out of South Korea to make the leap to the podium of internationally renowned orchestras, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Since 2023, she has been the Auckland Philharmonia’s Principal Guest Conductor.
When she was appointed assistant conductor at the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2007, her reputation as one of the most exciting emerging talents on the international music circuit was already secure: shortly before, Shiyeon Sung had won the International Conductors’ Competition Sir Georg Solti and the Gustav Mahler Conductors’ Competition in Bamberg. During her three-year tenure in Boston, she began a close collaboration with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted their season-opening concert in 2007. In 2009, the orchestra established an associate conductor’s position especially for her, which she held until 2013. She was chief conductor of the Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra from 2014 to 2017, during which time she led the orchestra to international success. Their concert at the Musikfest Berlin 2017 and the CD production for Decca with Mahler’s 5th Symphony were special highlights of her tenure. After her departure from Gyeonggi, Shiyeon Sung relocated to Berlin where she now resides, but remains a popular guest in her home country and regularly returns to the Korea National Opera and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.
The list of orchestras that Shiyeon Sung has worked with since then is remarkable. It includes renowned European orchestras such as the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Konzerthaus Orchestra Berlin, and Bamberg Symphony, as well as the National Symphony Orchestra Washington, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In addition, she appeared as guest conductor at the Teatro Colón and the Stockholm Opera.
Shiyeon Sung’s 2023/24 season kicks off at the Hollywood Bowl in a concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Following her successful debut with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in their Musica Viva series in July 2022 season, she was immediately re-invited for subscription concerts in November 2023. She will also return to the Royal Philharmonic for five concerts in February 2024 following her successful debut in December 2022. She will also make her debuts with the Detroit Symphony, the Vancouver Symphony, the Pacific Symphony and the Adelaide Symphony amongst others, and return to the Seattle Symphony and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife. In Asia, she will appear with the Hankyung and the Daejeon Philharmonic, the KBS Symphony Orchestra and the Kanagawa Philharmonic.
Born in Pusan, South Korea, Shiyeon Sung won various prizes as a pianist in youth competitions. From 2001 to 2006, she studied orchestral conducting with Rolf Reuter at the Hanns Eisler School of Music in Berlin and continued her education with advanced conducting studies with Jorma Panula at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm.