The demand for classical music has been on the decline in recent years, with the rising trend in pop music overshadowing other genres. However this has not stopped the undeniable beauty classical composers are producing every day. One of these composers goes by the name of Yiruma; a man with unquestionable talent and creativity in the classical genre.
Born and raised in South Korea as Lee Ru-ma and going by the stage name Yiruma, the musician has gained an exceeding amount of popularity for his unique twist on the classical genre. From an early age there was no doubt Yiruma would go on to be one of the greats, beginning to play piano at age five before moving to London at ten to continue his education at the Purcell School of Music. After graduating from Purcell he went on to complete a composition major at King’s College London and by the end of his education had released his first album, Love Scene. In 2001, he released the album he is most attributed to, First Love, containing his most popular piece ‘River Flows In You.’
Listen to ‘River Flows In You’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsTjI75uEUQ
‘River Flows In You’ is nothing short of audio beauty, the composition and performance of the piece expressing a tear inducing abundance of emotions. The track has a direct attachment to your heart strings and Yiruma is playing every single one of them perfectly. Yiruma’s influence of the romantic music of Paris is apparent in all of his music but none more than ‘River Flows In You.’ The composition takes you on a journey of the soul, easing you in before showcasing Yiruma’s talent with the ivory keys. ‘River Flows In You’ is possibly the number one song for people’s first dance because of how it bursts forth with feelings of love and romance, ending on a melancholy note that just leaves you wanting more.
In 2003, Yiruma went on to release his third album, From the Yellow Room, which saw pre-orders reaching over 30,000 copies and hitting top rank on popular music charts like Phono and Hot Tracks. This album included the equally popular ‘Kiss The Rain’, a twinkling piece that could have been plucked directly from the end of a romance movie that leaves no dry eye in the room.
Listen to ‘Kiss The Rain’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=so6ExplQlaY
The piece strikes as one of realisation of something known beneath the surface finally coming to light. The repeating chords resonate deep in your psyche, connecting on a truly emotion level. The track soars high before falling into a soft end that echoes the beginning, giving the piece a feeling of total completion. ‘Kiss The Rain’ is a pretty and admirable piece that leaves the listener in wonder and awe.
After his fourth album (POEMUSIC) and fifth album (Spring Waltz), Yiruma gave up his British citizenship to enlist in the Korean Army, as all South Korean males are required to do. The break in music did not lesson his talent, however, for he returned in 2008 with the Yiruma Come Back Tour. The tour consisted of twenty cities in Korea and followed on with Yiruma becoming a DJ for KBS1FM Yiruma’s Music All Around The World in 2009.
Yiruma’s musical style is unlike famous composers of eras gone by, recognising the rapidly changing world he lives in and adjusting accordingly. Whilst still creating music belonging to the classical genre, Yiruma’s music has been labelled ‘new age’, likened to music used in film scores or television dramas. The modern twist placed on his music has allowed multitudes of fans to connect on an almost intimate level with his compositions, continuing to boost his popularity.
Review by Skye W. Winwood