Biography

Praised as “a sensitive and absorbing interpreter” (Musical America), Korean-American violinist Elly Suh stands out as a performer whose musical charm, interpretative originality, and unique creative vision breathe fresh life to concert stages around the world.

Suh is celebrated as one of the leading Paganini interpreters of her generation, and is currently undertaking a major recording project of Niccolò Paganini’s 24 Caprices for Solo Violin. Reflecting her modern creative spirit and innovative approach to music, the Paganini Vault project is a narrative audio-visual album – serving as just one example of Suh’s subtle but compelling expansion of the traditional boundaries and expectations of classical music, as we move further into the 21st century.

Alongside her charming interpretations of the major works of the violin literature, Elly Suh is recognised as a major exponent of contemporary works for violin – in particular those by Mario Davidovsky, Ned Rorem, and Jörg Widmann. Herself a talented composer and musical arranger, Suh brings individuality and a unique creative voice to all her performances – often through newly composed cadenzas, improvisations, or orchestral arrangements of both known and unknown works. Her self-composed cadenza for Mozart’s Violin Concerto No.4 in the semi-finals of the Queen Elisabeth Competition for Violin, Belgium (2019) – which incorporated the Belgian National Anthem – was received with enormous popularity and wide critical acclaim, appearing on several major televised news channels.

Suh has been a regular on the competition circuit since 2012, when she took Second Prize at the Naumburg International Violin Competition, New York. Since then, she has gone on to take either the Grand Prix, Top Prizes, or Special Prizes at more than ten international competitions, including the Moscow International David Oistrakh Violin Competition, Russia (2013), Premio Paganini International Violin Competition, Italy (2015), Michael Hill International Violin Competition, New Zealand (2015), Leipzig International Bach Competition, Germany (2018), and the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, USA (2018), amongst others.

Whilst studying in New York, Suh worked regularly as Guest Concertmaster with the American Ballet Theatre Orchestra. Now an international soloist, recent and forthcoming engagements include the Korean Chamber Orchestra, L’Orchestra della Fondazione Teatro Carlo Felice, Leipzig Pauliner Barockensemble, New York Classical Players, Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie, and the Lviv Virtuosos Chamber Orchestra. In concert, she has appeared on such stages as BOZAR Brussels, Carnegie Hall, and the Lincoln Center, and performed at the Salzburger Festspiele – the world’s premier classical music festival.

Born in Seoul in 1989, Suh first began violin lessons at the age of five. Instantly recognized as possessing a fiercely prodigious talent, she went on to enter The Juilliard School’s Pre-College Division in New York at just 10-years-old. Under the tutelage of eminent professors including Robert Mann, Joel Smirnoff, and Sally Thomas, she went on to obtain both her Bachelor’s Degree and her Masters of Music at The Juilliard School, before embarking on post-graduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music. Following this, Suh moved to Europe to undertake post-graduate studies at the Mozarteum University of Salzburg under the guidance of the celebrated violinist Pierre Amoyal.

Elly Suh lives in London, and plays on a Guarneri del Gesù violin on generous loan from an anonymous patron, through the kind assistance of Florian Leonhard Fine Violins.