Conductor Richard Farnes and prize winner Soohong Park
Guildhall School’s Gold Medal 2020 winner announced1:43, 29th September 2020
Pianist Soohong Park has been awarded the Guildhall School of Music & Drama’s most prestigious prize for outstanding musicians.
Awarded to singers and instrumentalists in alternate years, this year’s award was presented at the rescheduled final on 25 September. Park’s winning performance was Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor, accompanied by the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra conducted by Richard Farnes. The two other Gold Medal finalists were Ben Tarlton and Ke Ma.
On receiving the award, Park said, ‘I am honoured to receive the Gold Medal. It was such a special evening because I felt we were connected through the music even though we were sitting far away from each other. We all had to listen more carefully and trust each other when it came to the performance, and it worked!’
Synced using ground-breaking low latency technology, the performances took place across four different spaces across two buildings at the school, meaning that social distancing guidelines were adhered to. The new network, connecting 22 rooms across the school buildings, allows musicians in different spaces to play with virtually no delay in audio and video. It is believed that Guildhall School is the first institution in the world to use this technology for the rehearsal and performance of a full orchestra.
Soojung Park was educated in South Korea and Germany, then completed his Artist Masters at Guildhall before undertaking the Artist Diploma from 2019 to 2020. He has performed as a soloist at festivals and concerts around the world, including at the Carl Loewe Festival in Lübejün.
The panel of judges this year included the school’s vice-principal and director of music Jonathan Vaughan; Emma Bloxham, editor at BBC Radio 3; Nicholas Mathias, director of IMG Artists; and the evening’s conductor Richard Farnes.
The Gold Medal concert is part of the Guildhall School’s online autumn season, all of which is free to view on the school’s website.