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Just Like Distinct Black-and-White Keyboards, I’ll Make My Own Distinct Music.

Just Like Distinct Black-and-White Keyboards, I’ll Make My Own Distinct Music.

Posted February. 09, 2004 23:18,   


Lim Dong-hyuk, a 20-year-old pianist, is now a better fit for the title of young Maestro instead of prodigy. After he won the grand prize in the International Competition Marguerite Long-Jacque Thibarud, he spread shock in the international music world by declining the third-place award of the Queen Elizabeth Competition of Belgium. Now he stands as a promising artist for EMI, an international classical music recording company.

He recently released his second album and is planning a national tour in Busan on February 15 and in Seoul on the 20th.. Here are a series of questions and answers in a telephone with him at his Hanover residence.

―Nice talking to you. The fans who remember you as “Lim from Moscow” will feel unfamiliar with the news that you are now in Germany.

“After I graduated from the Moscow State Conservatory, our family moved here when I entered the Hanover University of Music last year.”

―Can you introduce your daily life to us?

“I live in suburbs rather far from Hanover’s center. Except for practicing, I spend my time biking in the fields and taking my dog Mac for walks. I do not skip on my naps, too.

―People say that you are too skinny, and I heard that taking naps is good for gaining weight.

“I tried to gain some weight to increase my arm reflexes by eating a lot of sweets, but I would just go back to being skinny.” (He is 175cm tall and weighs 51kg.)

Last year when he declined the award, some criticized him by saying that he was “arrogant,” and that “it will negatively influence the Korean players running for international competitions.”

“I want to reiterate that I declined the award, not because it was not the first or second place, but because a competitor who did not even deserve tenth place won second place, and I could not accept the fact. The competition does not end at the awards ceremony. The winners should play together in a series of concerts. I felt it was too difficult for me to yield, as well as being meaningless.”

He added, questioningly: “Is yielding mutely to unjust decisions really helping to build the international fame of our country’s music?”

I moved the topic to his new album. He filled it with Chopin.

“I chose him because I like him and because his music fits me well. I recorded it in August last year in London. I really suffered from the heat, the worst in five decades, but after I heard it edited, I was pleased with the result to some degree. The next album will be of concertos. I still ponder whether it should be Rachmaninoff or someone else.”

He plays Chopin’s Sonata No. 2 and “Three Mazurkas,” which are also played on the new CD, in this concert. The Seoul Concert will take place on the 21st at 7:30 p.m. in the Concert Hall of Seoul Arts Center, and the Busan Concert will take place on 15th at 7 p.m. at the Busan Cultural Center Main Hall. Prices are from 30,000 to 50,000 won. For more information, please contact 02―751―9606∼10 (Seoul) or 051―746―6893 (Busan)

Yoon-Jong Yoo gustav@donga.com