Ariel Gilley
COMPOSER, PIANIST
 
 
Ariel Gilley, born as YooEun Kim in Seoul, Korea, started her education in piano at the age of 5. Six years later, the young prodigy performed her first piano concerto with the Seoul City Orchestra playing Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor. Her selection to perform this piece was impressive not only because of the concerto’s technical difficulty, but also because she was the youngest winner from a group that included competitors up to 18 years old.

Ms. Gilley attended Ye-Won Arts Middle School and Seoul Arts High School achieving top marks throughout her middle and high school education. Due to her outstanding academic achievements on the piano, she earned the honor of playing the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 at her high school graduation concert. Ms. Gilley maintained top honors during her four years at Seoul National University which she attended on a full-tuition scholarship. Each year she competed with her peers before a jury of professors for the scholarship, and each year she won. During her senior year, Ms. Gilley won the Korean Chopin Piano competition requiring her to master 12 different Chopin pieces. In the same year, she was the featured soloist for a 120 piece combined orchestra formed from the Royal Academy Orchestra of London and the Seoul National University Orchestra. The following year, the Korean Broadcasting Station (KBS) Orchestra selected her to play the Tchaikovsky piano concerto No. 1 and broadcasted the performance nationally.

In 1992 Ms. Gilley entered Peabody Music Conservatory and studied for two years completing a Masters degree in piano performance. During this time, she also volunteered as an accompanist in a local church but had difficulty finding sacred piano music with the same gravity and intensity that she savored in the classical genre. As a result, Ms. Gilley began arranging and later composing her own sacred piano pieces that incorporated the essential qualities of classical music.

Upon completing her degree at Peabody, Ms. Gilley returned to Korea and worked for seven years as a concert pianist where she quickly earned a reputation for playing with superb technique and expressiveness. She received numerous offers by music professors to premiere their modern compositions and later recorded some of the pieces in the studio. On one notable occasion, the Buchon Philharmonic Orchestra conductor asked her to play Rachmaninoff's Theme and Variation by Paganini less than a month before the concert. Although Ms. Gilley had never before played this difficult piece, she accepted the offer and played flawlessly before a live television audience. Ms. Gilley also recorded a series of BMG issued CDs featuring the complete Etudes by Czerny, Twenty-Five Etuden Op. 100 by Burgmuller, and a collection of Sonatine.

Amid the demands of her professional career, Ms. Gilley still found time to pursue her ambition of composing classical sacred music. Her solo recitals provided an opportunity to perform some of her own original works--first as encore pieces and later as planned recital pieces. Encouraged by the positive response to her compositions, Ms. Gilley chose to pursue composing and recording full-time in 2003 with the ambition of creating sacred piano pieces of classical caliber that all music lovers can enjoy in their own homes. Her most recent work is a two-disc album entitled “In the Garden of Eden” which contains 16 musical portraits that transport the listener back to the Biblical creation story and the fateful choice of Adam and Eve.
 
JRI RECORDINGS:
J125 : God of the Ages
J137 : In the Garden of Eden
 
OTHER RECORDINGS:
Recordings on BMG:
    Czerny 100 Etudes, 2001
    Czerny 30 Etudes, 2001
    Czerny 40 Etudes, 2001
    Friedrich Burgmuller: Piano Music, Op. 100, 2001
    Sonatine, 2002

Recordings on Neo Music:
    Piano parts of 30 Western folk songs for singers, 2000
    Piano parts of 30 Korean folk songs for singers, 2000
    Remembrance, Solo Piano, 2002

Recording on YBM:
    Seoul Motet Choir Sacred Songs Series 4, 1997

Private Productions:
    God's Love for Us, Solo Piano, 1997