Musical Letters from Hannover

(published in May 2015)

Musical Letters from Hannover is different from other existing classical music books in three ways: first, the writing is refined and simple, easy enough to read for anyone who loves music. Second, it incorporates both the point of view of an audience and of the performer. Lastly, it openly and honestly reveals a domain that is often unknown and entrenched in mystery: life of an artist.



Chapter 1: Piano, and Music

  • Piano, the Most Musical and Human Instrument
  • Perfect Pitch vs. Relative Pitch
  • Rhythm, What Makes Us Move
  • How Was the Concert Today?
  • The Only Thing That Fills the Soul of an Artist is Love
  • Come, O Sweet Sorrow
  • Trot, a Friend That Accompanied the Fate of Korean
  • Music without Melody or Harmony?
  • How to Memorize Music
  • Pedal, the Salt and Pepper of Piano Playing
  • Time for an Encore, the Real Start of a Concert
  • The Note “C” at 440Hz

Chapter 2: Classical Music All Around Us

  • O Tempo, an Everlasting Sweet Dream (Robert Schumann)
  • Music of the Homing Instinct (Sergei Prokofiev)
  • Justification toward Music (Dmitri Shostakovich)
  • A Revolution of Elements (Ludwig van Beethoven)
  • Conjoined Twins at Odds: Schumann and Brahms
  • A Difficult Person (Franz Schubert)
  • The Most Beautiful Love Letter in the World (Robert Schumann)
  • A Genius Musician Crushed to Death by the Talmud (Charles-Valentin Alkan)
  • Saying One Last Goodbye to His One and Only Hometown (Sergei Rachmaninoff)
  • Simply and Solely My Story (Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No.2)
  • A Century-old Scandalous Classic (Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring)

Chapter 3: My Inspiration

  • My First Lesson with Arie Vardi
  • My Everlasting Prometheus (Michael Rabin)
  • A Pianist Who Perfected the Art of Inner Acting (Alexis Weissenberg)
  • The First Genius I Have Ever Met (Cheng-Zong Yin)
  • If Only His Sound Were Mine… (Xiaohan Wang)
  • If It Weren’t for Him, What Would I Have Been… (Kang Sook Lee)
  • An Irreplaceable Superhero (Van Cliburn)
  • For Me, He is Russia (Yakov Kasman)
  • Music Nearest to Me, Part 1 (Rabin, Schubert, Lili Kraus)

Chapter 4: Music of Our Era

  • Where Are Our Beethovens and Schuberts?
  • Society That Risks Everything on Competitions
  • This is Your Music, Too
  • The Reality of Music Education in South Korea
  • The End of Hand­made Piano
  • The Most Perfect Audience in the World
  • Russia, a Country That Buys Concert Tickets Instead of Food
  • South Korea, the Violin Superstate
  • A Genius Isn’t Born Out of Nowhere

Chapter 5: Yeol Eum Son and Beyond

  • The Concert Pianist
  • Why I am a Musician
  • On the Way to Grandma’s
  • My Home, Gangwon­ Province
  • The One Who Spread Beauty
  • My Mom and Her Car
  • My Writing
  • Pianist is Ultimately Alone