Violinist will woo Buxton Festival audience

When violinist Joo Yeon Sir takes to the stage she is stepping into another world – one in which she hopes to transport all those in the audience and leave them feeling they know her intimately by the time she takes her bow.

The South Korean-born musician plays with such exuberance it seems as if she and the violin are one, bound together by a magic spell and that any second they may explode in a flash of fairy dust and disappear.

If you want to see exactly what I mean scan the QR code at the foot of this article and watch her perform alongside her long time duo partner on the piano Irina Andrievsky. It really is quite bewitching.

The 25-year-old giggles with glee when I tell her I am going to include a link and asks if it could be Frolov’s Porgy and Bess Concert Fantasy rather than the Beethoven Violin Sonata both of which she will be performing at Buxton Festival in July.

“What I get most pleasure from is engaging with the audience and I think this piece is perfect for that,” she explained.

“I go back on stage again and again because I love to feel this rapport, this connection with the mass of people in front of me. When we meet we are strangers but while I am playing we become friends and we have some common ground between us and afterwards we can talk as if we know each other.

“It is hard to explain and you cannot show anyone how it is done or what happens, but I find this communication very endearing,”

Joo Yeon and her family moved to London when she was nine years old and immediately the gifted child was accepted at the Purcell School of Music something for which she says she will always be grateful as she was taught so much, not least the importance of being able to compose and play.

Back in South Korea she had learned to play the piano encouraged by her pianist mother who used to sit her on her lap as a baby while she played.

“I remember marvelling at how her fingers moved on the keyboards and it has left me with a connection between me and my mother which is dear to my heart.

“In fact I believe my love of music began much before – when I was in the womb – as in Korea parents were encouraged to play Mozart to their unborn babies and mine did just that.”

Joo Yeon persuaded her parents to let her have a violin after seeing someone playing on television and realising that the instrument was much more portable than a piano.

After Purcell, Joo Yeon studied at the Royal College of Music and since then she has performed widely including at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Wigmore Hall, Fairfield Hall and most recently at the Royal Festival Hall with Sir Karl Jenkins.

It was at the Royal College that she met her great friend the classical guitarist Laura Snowdon, who performed at Buxton Festival last year and will be back for a Music in the Café session this July.

Together the two women have formed the Snowdon-Sir duo and Joo Yeon says together they are composing music for the violin and guitar as there is not much available.

“When we met we quickly realised we shared so many common interests and our work together is more imaginative, creative and free.

“We always share what is on our minds and last year Laura said Buxton was one of the best places she had ever performed as the audience was so warm and welcoming. She told me I should definitely go there if I could and so I was thrilled when I found out I was going to be able to be part of the festival this year. I am really excited about it.”

Joo Yeon will be performing on July 17 at noon. Go to for tickets.