Take one look at Seoyun Baek, and you might think she’s just a normal 10 year-old girl. But hear her play the piano, and it becomes clear that she has extraordinary talent.
Soyeun (pronounced so-YUN) began her piano studies three years ago and after just one year of study, she performed a duo piece with world-renowned pianist Hae Sun Paik at the National Museum of Korea. Seoyun’s parents began to suspect she had talent.
When an opportunity came along for her father, Yong Seok, to earn his Ph.D. at the McCormick Theological Seminary, it seemed like Soyeun was destined to study at the Music Institute of Chicago, which has nurtured many young talents. The Baeks decided to leave their home in Korea to move to Buffalo Grove in 2008.
Seoyun’s mother, Mi Kyung, says, “That Seoyun’s father came to study, that Seoyun had the opportunity to study at the Music Institute, that our rental house came with a piano … We wonder if music is God’s plan for Seoyun.”
Since the move, Seoyun has continued to be successful in all of her competitions. In the MIC Merit Scholarship Awards Competition at the Music Institute, she earned one of the school’s largest merit scholarships. As a scholarship winner, she will perform at the Music Institute’s Annual Gala on May 11, where cellist Yo-Yo Ma will be the guest of honor. In the DePaul University Community School Concerto Competition, she was one of two winners and earned the honor of playing with the Oistrakh Orchestra.
Through piano, Seoyun has gained confidence, purpose and a deep passion. She dreams of winning international competitions and performing in famous venues around the world.
“To do this, I know I have to stay on task, so I don’t become a crazy teenager,” Seoyun says.
And she looks forward to being on stage: “I feel the warmth on my back and I feel at home. I feel happy.”
To read more inspiring stories about amazing kids, or to nominate an amazing kid you know for the “Amazing Kids! of the Month” award, visit the Amazing Kids! website, amazing-kids.org. Amazing Kids! is a children’s educational non-profit organization dedicated to helping inspire excellence in children while helping them to realize their own amazing potential.”