“If God allowed me to play an instrument, I think it would be a ‘great achievement’ to visit and share music with people who have not had the opportunity to be the audience of a concert, as my music can be a door to open another universe that they did not know about.”
This is the definition of “great achievement” by Lim Yun-chan, the youngest gold medalist in history at the 2022 Van Cliburn Competition. “The attention I receive for the winning will only persist for three months,” the 18-year-old mentioned right after winning the competition. “I do not think it is a great achievement.”
During a press conference held Monday at Kumho Art Hall Yonsei in Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Lim said, “A great achievement is not to go to a competition and get the first place by chance, but is to go to orphanages, hospice care, or school for the physically challenged to perform my music without any conditions attached. I will do those things soon, and I'm working to achieve the great things I hope to do."
The meeting was held to present the release of ‘Beethoven, Isang Yun, Barber,’ a live performance album that Lim and the Gwangju Philharmonic Orchestra collaborated on. This is the first album he released after winning the Van Cliburn Competition. Included in the album was Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 ‘Emperor.’
“I listened to the ‘Emperor’ so many times while I was growing up. Then, the piece sounded too flash to my unlearned ears,” Lim said. “During the recent ordeals humanity had to face, I practiced alone in my room every day and listened to the piece. I felt it was not as flashy and liberal as I had thought. Rather, the music felt like a utopia Beethoven dreamed of or a universe he looked up to.”
The album was recorded the live concert at the Tongyeong International Music Hall on Oct. 8. It included Beethoven's 'Emperor' performed by Lim and the Gwangju Philharmonic Orchestra, Yun Isang’s 'Gwangju, Forever,’ and Samuel Barber’s 'Adagio for Strings' played by the Gwangju Philharmonic Orchestra. It contains other pieces, such as Federico Mompou’s 'Girls in the Garden' and the first of Alexander Scriabin’s 'Two Poems,’ Lim’s encores play during the concert.
“I am proud to release my first album in collaboration with a great orchestra rather than as a solo. The orchestra filled in the parts I couldn't have done if I was alone,” the young pianist said. “Studio recordings, if not careful, lose so many possibilities of music due to the pressure to be too perfect. It is deeply meaningful that the times that music was shared with the audience comes out as an album.”
Ji-Hoon Lee firstname.lastname@example.org