Lee Ru-ma (Korean: 이루마; born 15 February 1978), better known by his stage name Yiruma (Korean: 이루마), is a South Korean pianist and composer. Yiruma frequently performs throughout Asia, Europe and North America. His alma mater, King's College, London, helped him gain European popularity and recognition. Among his most popular pieces are "River Flows in You", "Love Hurts", "Kiss the Rain", and "May Be". Yiruma's most popular album, First Love, was released in 2001.

Yiruma 2017 Suwon.jpg
Yiruma in 2017
Lee Ru-ma

(1978-02-15) 15 February 1978 (age 42)
Seoul, South Korea
NationalitySouth Korean
Alma materKing's College, London
OccupationComposer and pianist
Years active2001–present
EmployerMind Tailor Music
Son Hye-Im (m. 2007)
Korean name
Revised RomanizationI Ru-ma
McCune–ReischauerI Ruma
WebsiteMind Tailor Music

He began playing the piano at the age of five and moved to London when he was 10, 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 British 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 10 (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.[1] While studying at King's 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 No. 1 selling piece "River Flows in You", written in A Major, 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 used prepared piano. Yiruma has composed soundtracks for musicals, films, and plays. Though successful in the music industry, Yiruma, as all South Korean males are required to, joined the South Korean military. In 2006, he gave up his British citizenship when he 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 1 January 2009, he became a DJ for KBS1FM Yiruma's Music from All Around the World.[2]

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.

In April 2016, Yiruma embarked on his Spring Rain Live tour in the US. He has played in Carnegie Hall in New York City, NY and in Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, CA.

He is currently on the staff of MBC's radio show HLKV-FM.

Musical styleEdit

Yiruma's musical style primarily focuses on new-age, and is said to be 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", "pop classical" or "contemporary classical". However, although he formally studied composition, the structure of his pieces do not reflect classical 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".[3] The iTunes Store considers him a World Music[4] or new-age artist. The categorisation of his style as new-age is especially prevalent among classical musicians and listeners.

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.

Personal lifeEdit

Family and spouseEdit

Yiruma married Son Hye-Im on 27 May 2007.[5] Yiruma and Son Hye-Im's daughter, Loanna Lee, was born on 8 July 2008. Son Hye-Im's younger sister is actress Son Tae-young, whose husband, Kwon Sang-woo, is also an actor.[6]

On his spiritual viewpoint, Yiruma has stated, "I’m a Christian, and I am not a New-age artist. Most people misunderstand me."[7] In his album H.I.S Monologue (2006), the artist composed a piece titled, "Lord...Hold my Hand".[8]


Studio albumsEdit


  • Flower (2017)

Live albumsEdit

  • Yiruma: Live at HOAM Art Hall (2005)

Released on 12 July 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 soundtracksEdit

  • Oasis and Yiruma (2002)
  • Doggy Poo OST (2002)

In his 3rd album released on 20 June 2002, Yiruma composed a soundtrack for the movie Oasis directed by Lee Chang-dong.

Yiruma's soundtrack for the children's film Doggy Poo was released on 17 December 2002.


  • Piano Museum (2004)
  • Missing You (2009)
  • Ribbonized (10th Anniversary 6-CD BoxSet) (2010)



  1. ^ http://yiruma.manifo.com/yiruma
  2. ^ 2 January 2009 by ay_link (2 January 2009). "KBS1 93.1FM new radio DJ, Yiruma | JAZZHOLIC". Jazzholic.com. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  3. ^ "iTunes Store". iTunes Store. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  4. ^ "iTunes Music – Yiruma". iTunes Store. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  5. ^ "popseoul.com". poptydseoul.com. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  6. ^ "'라디오스타' 이루마, "권상우 형이라 불러" 손혜임이 손태영 언니인데?". The Chosun Ilbo (in Korean). 12 December 2013.
  7. ^ "Yiruma Biography, Discography, Chart History". Top40-Charts.com. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  8. ^ "iTunes Music – H.I.S. Monologue One Day Diary...19th September by Yiruma". iTunes Store. 2 November 2006. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  9. ^ "SISTAR's Hyorin Collaborates with Pianist Yiruma". Soompi. 7 December 2012.
  10. ^ "Baek Ji Young Releases Comeback MV for "Hate" Feat. Yiruma". Soompi. 3 January 2013.
  11. ^ "2AM and Yiruma at the Recording Studio". Soompi. 25 February 2013.
  12. ^ "Ailee Collaborates with Pianist Yiruma and Releases 'Higher'". KpopStarz. 16 September 2013.
  13. ^ "MBLAQ's G.O Releases Solo Track Featuring Yiruma and 2Face". Soompi. 19 November 2013.
  14. ^ "Kim Woo Joo Sings of 'Winter Night' in New Music Video Feat. Yiruma". Soompi. 7 January 2014.

External linksEdit