Seong-Jin Cho of South Korea, who was already known as a world-class piano prodigy, reached the mountaintop last year when he won the17th International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. It’s one of the few prizes that jump-starts a major concert career. Past winners include Maurizio Pollini, Martha Argerich, Garrick Ohlsson and Krystian Zimerman.
It’s no wonder that the 22-year-old Korean pianist’s Orange County appearance on Friday was a sellout, especially since he was playing his competition-winning piece, Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1, at Soka University’s intimate and acoustically superior Performing Arts Center.
There have been grumblings since Cho’s win that he’s all flash and no feeling. While his technical mastery is astounding, he’s still working on interpretive maturity and depth. When Cho took the stage to play the concerto with…