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Born on February 15, 1978 in Seoul, South Korea, pianist Yiruma (real name: I Ru-ma) has released a string of successful albums in the 2000s and managed to land a number one hit with his composition "River Flows in You." Additionally, he was the first Korean artist to be invited to perform at the 2002 MIDEM in Cannes, France. Yiruma began playing the piano at the age of five and then moved to London in 1988 to study at the Purcell School of Music, where he graduated in July 1997. In June 2000, he completed a composition major at King's College London, and from 2001 onward he released a number of albums that can be categorized somewhere between the "contemporary classical" and "new age" genres. His 2001 album First Love contained the composition "River Flows in You," which subsequently became a number one hit in several countries, especially when it was briefly considered to be included on the soundtrack of the movie Twilight. Even though the producers ultimately did not use the piece, a series of YouTube videos appeared online where Yiruma's cut was put into the corresponding scene, boosting the track's popularity and resulting in it being remixed by German DJ Alex Christensen in 2010. Yiruma also composed the scores for the movie Oasis (directed by Lee Chang-dong) and the stop-motion animated film Doggy Poo (directed by Kwon Oh-sung).
Lee Ru-ma (Korean: 이루마; born February 15, 1978), better known by his stage name Yiruma (Korean: 이루마), is a pianist and composer from South Korea. Yiruma frequently performs at sold-out concerts in Asia, Europe and North America. His alma mater, King's College London, England helped him gain European popularity and recognition. Among his most popular pieces are "River Flows in You", "Kiss the Rain" and "Maybe". Yiruma's most popular album, First Love, was released in 2001.
He began playing the piano at the age of five and moved to London when he was eleven, in 1988, to study at The Purcell School of Music. He held dual citizenship, South Korean and British, until 2006, when he gave up his UK citizenship to serve in the South Korean Navy.
Lee Ru-ma was born and raised in South Korea, and educated in England. Yiruma began playing the piano at the age of five, and subsequently moved to London at the age of eleven (1988), for the purpose of studying at The Purcell School of Music. In December 1996 he participated in the album The Musicians of Purcell (Decca). Graduating from Purcell School of Music in July 1997, Yiruma continued his musical aspirations and completed a Composition major from King's College London in June 2000. While studying at Kings College, the pianist released his first album "Love Scene" through DECCA records.
Additionally, during his time in college, he participated in a musical tour in Europe. Making a historical impact for his country, Yiruma was the first Korean artist to receive an invitation to perform at the 2002 MIDEM in Cannes, France. Early in his career, his albums were released in Europe and Asia, they are now available internationally through various online sources such as iTunes, Amazon, and Yiruma's recording label STOMP Records.
In 2001 he released his most popular album to date, "First Love". His #1 selling piece "River Flows in You" was on this album and since 2001 this piece has been released on two other albums (First Love [Repackaged] and Wedding Essentials: The Ceremony) Yiruma released his third album, From The Yellow Room in 2003. Pre-order sales topped 30,000 copies and the album was top-ranked on many popular music charts, including Yes24, Phono, and Hot Tracks. His 12-city Korean tour was a sellout, as well as his November concert at the Seoul National Arts Center.
His fourth album is POEMUSIC. In 2006, the following year, he composed a main theme piece for a popular KBS drama, Spring Waltz. In his fifth album, h.i.s monologue, he utilized prepared piano. Yiruma has composed soundtracks for musicals, films and plays. Though successful in the music industry, Yiruma, as any South Korean male was expected to, joined the South Korean military. Hence, in 2006 he gave up his British citizenship and enlisted in the Korean Navy.
Upon completing his service in the Korean Navy, he began the 2008 Yiruma Come Back Tour, Ribbonized, in 20 cities across Korea. Additionally, on January 1, 2009, he became a DJ for KBS1FM Yiruma's Music from All Around the World.
In September 2010, Yiruma cancelled his contract with Stomp Music and signed with Sony Music Entertainment Korea. Stomp Music then filed an injunction to prohibit Yiruma from selling his music, and the request was accepted by the court in April 2011. Yiruma immediately filed an objection against the injunction, with the court ultimately favouring Yiruma.
He is currently on the staff of MBC's radio show HLKV-FM.Posted on 02 January 2009 by ay_link (2009-01-02). "KBS1 93.1FM new radio DJ, Yiruma | JAZZHOLIC". Jazzholic.com. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
Yiruma's musical style is not easy to classify and is similar to the contemporary classical music in film scores or television dramas. Because his music is popular among many listeners who are not familiar with classical music, the solo piano instrumentation and tendency toward "movements" often leads to labels like "new classical" or "contemporary classical". However, although his composition studies would have included the classics, the structure of his pieces do not reflect such forms. His music has sometimes been classified vaguely as "popular", as shown by the inclusion of his hit piece River Flows in You on a compilation of wedding pieces titled "Wedding Essentials: The Ceremony". The iTunes Store considers him a World Music or New Age artist.
Regarding the structure of his music, the movement and reach required to play his pieces averages around Grade 7 by Royal Conservatory standards. Pattern and repetition feature prominently, however, making the structure more like popular pieces or movie themes than traditional solo piano compositions."Connecting to the iTunes Store". Itunes.apple.com. Retrieved 2012-03-16. "iTunes - Music - Yiruma". Itunes.apple.com. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
On November 11, Happy Holic Entertainment revealed that Yiruma will start ‘The Best‘ nationwide concert tour in Busan before moving on to Gwangju, Ulsan, Daejeon, and 10 other cities. This will be Yiruma’s first promotional activity since his legal dispute erupted back in 2009 against his former entertainment label, Stomp Music.
The concert will have a "10 year anniversary" theme and will showcase a different side to Yiruma’s music and personal life through the special performances he’s prepared for fans.
Yiruma commented, “I hope that my music doesn’t separate from your lives. Instead, I want it to be with you always, as if it’s the background music of your lives“.
Family and spouse
Yiruma married Son Hye-Im on May 27, 2007. Son Hye-Im's younger sister is the Korean actress Son Tae-young, who attended Yiruma’s concert with her husband, Kwon Sang-woo, while she was pregnant. Their daughter, Loanna, was born on Oct 7, 2007.
On his spiritual viewpoint, Yiruma has stated, “I’m a Christian, and I am not a New-age artist. Most people misunderstand me.” In his album H.I.S Monologue (2006), the artist composed a piece titled, “Lord...Hold my Hand”."popseoul.com". popseoul.com. Retrieved 2012-03-16. Posted on 06 January 2009 by ay_link (2009-01-06). "At the press conference | JAZZHOLIC". Jazzholic.com. Retrieved 2012-03-16. "iTunes - Music - H.I.S. Monologue One Day Diary...19th September by Yiruma". Itunes.apple.com. 2006-11-02. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
ContentsAlbums1.1 Studio albums1.2 Live albums1.3 Movie soundtracks1.4 Compilations1.5 Collaborations
Studio albumsLove Scene (2001)First Love (2001)From the Yellow Room (2003)Nocturnal Lights... They Scatter (2004)Destiny of Love (2005)Poemusic (2005)H.I.S. Monologue (2006)P.N.O.N.I. (2008)Stay in Memory (2012)Blind Film (2013)
Live albumsYiruma: Live at HOAM Art Hall (2005)
Released on July 12, 2005, this album includes the recordings for many of his sold out concerts performed at HOAM Art Hall. This album contains Yiruma's performances during 2003-2004 tours, his sold out solo concerts, and charitable school concerts. Yiruma performed pieces from his albums: Love Scene, First Love, From the Yellow Room, Oasis & Yiruma, and Doggy Poo OST.
Movie soundtracksOasis and Yiruma (2002)Doggy Poo OST (2002)
In his 3rd album released on June 20, 2002, Yiruma composes a soundtrack for the movie Oasis directed by Lee Chang-dong.
Yiruma's second soundtrack for the Children's film Doggy Poo OST was released on December 17, 2002.