Esther Yoo, the first ever Artist-in-Residence with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (2018) is acclaimed for her “dark, aristocratic tone” (Gramophone Magazine) and “balanced grace” (The Herald). Recently listed as one of Classic FM’s Top 30 Artists under 30, Yoo first came to international attention in 2010 when she became the youngest prizewinner of the 10th International Sibelius Violin Competition at aged 16. In 2012 she was one of the youngest ever prizewinners of the Queen Elisabeth Competition, and from 2014 to 2016 she was a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist.
The 2018/19 season sees Esther debut with Los Angeles Philharmonic/Gustavo Dudamel, the Florida Orchestra/Michael Francis and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra/Louis Langree. As a regular collaborator, she will tour with the Philharmonia Orchestra twice in the season – to Korea and China with Esa-Pekka Salonen, and to Spain and the UK with Vladimir Ashkenazy. In Europe, Esther returns to Orchestra National de Belgique and Orchestra National de Lille, and debuts with Oulu Symphony, Orquesta Camera Musicae and Orquestra Sinfonica Portuguesa.
Highlights from the 2017/18 season include debuts with Orchestre National de Belgique, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and Copenhagen Philharmonic, plus return performances with Hong Kong Philharmonic, BBC Concert Orchestra, and the Philharmonia. In 2017/18, Esther was Artist-in-Residence with the Cambridge Corn Exchange.
As a chamber musician, Esther has appeared in solo recital at Lincoln Center, Wigmore Hall, Oslo Opera House, and Bozar and, as a member of the Z.E.N. Trio (with former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists Zhang Zuo and Narek Hakhnazaryan), at Aspen Music Festival, Ottawa Chamberfest and in Hong Kong, Liverpool, and Cambridge.
In spring 2017 Deutsche Grammophon released her second album with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Vladimir Ashkenazy – Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and other works– following her 2015 debut album of the Glazunov and Sibelius concertos. In autumn 2017 the Z.E.N. Trio released their debut album on the same label, featuring Brahms and Dvořák Piano Trios. In 2018, Esther featured on the soundtrack and accompanying album (released by Decca) of internationally released film On Chesil Beach.
In previous seasons, Esther has performed with Minnesota Orchestra, Deutsche Radio Philharmonic, the BBC orchestras, and the symphony orchestras of Toronto, Charlotte, Iceland and Gävle. She has worked with conductors such as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Andrew Davis, Karina Canellakis, Toshiyuki Kamioka, Michał Nesterowicz, Sir Roger Norrington, Osmo Vänskä and Christopher Warren-Green. Festival appearances include BBC Proms, Granada Festival, “This is Rattle”, Seoul International Music Festival, Ghent Festival of Flanders, Festival de Fénétrange, Festival du Château de Chambord, and Dvořák Prague Festival.
Born in the U.S. and raised in Europe since the age of 6, Esther began playing the violin at the age of 4 and made her concerto debut aged 8. She has completed the Excellence Bachelor Programme at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich, and the Artist Diploma Programme at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Brussels. Esther plays the 1704 “Prince Obolensky” Stradivarius, generously lent to her by a private collector.
Esther is honoured to be an official Champion of music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins.