Extra! Korea

July 18, 2010

Why haven’t we heard of pianist Lim Hyun-jung before?

Filed under: music — extrakorea @ 11:10 am

Via the Marmot’s Hole comes a video of a young woman, Lim Hyun-jung (임현정), playing an impressively fast version of “Flight of the Bumblebee” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Despite some naysaying (for every Korean apologist there’s someone who criticizes Korea unfairly), she is more than about speed. Here are a couple of comments under this YouTube video:

This is not a about speed like argerich or richter, they play just so fast without music feelings, a bit like a machin [sic] that you can’t hear any details and music.
Here I can distinguish and hear the harmony, the rubato, the accents, the music of Chopin indeed! My favorite rendition, 1000/5!
– “medtnerlovesme”

Wow! In an age when note-perfect young piano virtuosi are a dime a dozen, she is a rarity. She not only has phenomenal technical skill, but she also plays with wonderful expressiveness and imagination. She puts her own personal aliveness into each performance, in an exciting and captivating way. She is the Real Deal.
– “HarpoMarx22”

Why haven’t we heard of her before? Under this YouTube video was this comment:

The reason why you’ve never heard of her is because she hates competitions. She doesn’t want to become a part of business and I respect that. Watch her Rachmaninoff Etude on Utube, and you’ll be AMAZED.
– “marie1109s”

And under this video was this:

She is certainly no automaton, despite an astounding technique- she has a real feeling and understanding of the music, which is rare. She seems relatively unknown outside Europe but I hope that changes!
– “2ndAveLine”

(emphasis mine)

So it seems she’s known in Europe. According to her Facebook page she moved to France for the sake of her studies and, as far as I can tell, she lives there still.

This twenty three year-old Korean pianist began her musical studies at the age of three under Jong-Sun Kim. Her prodigious talent was quickly recognised and she moved to France at the age of twelve. Five months later she graduated from the Conservatoire National Région de Compiègne with First Prize and highest distinction in the class of Marc Hoppeler.

She became the youngest ever person to obtain the “Diplôme d’Etudes Musicales Complètes” of Normandy in France, aged fifteen.

So can we in Korea ever see her perform?

In August 2010, Hyun-Jung will perform the complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas over eight consecutive days in Paris and November 2010 will see her return to Korea to make her eagerly awaited recital debut at the prestigious Seoul Arts Center.

(emphasis mine)

I’d like to know:
a. how much will tickets be, and
b. how can I get them?

You can see a collection of her performances here, and if you watch only one video, it should be the one below, as it has both Rachmaninoff’s Etude op.39 n°9 and Bumble Bee as an encore.

Like Kim Yu-na, this one one young Korean who actually lives up to the hype.

1 Comment »

  1. As far as I know, the entry is free and you only need to be there a little in advance so you can get a seat.
    On another note, I’m note entirely convinced by her playing of the Etude 🙂 But since I live in Paris, it’s definitly worth it to check her concerts.

    Comment by Nemo — August 21, 2010 @ 4:31 pm


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