Piano prodigy Lim Yunchan sees no change with Van Cliburn win

SEOUL, June 30 (Yonhap) — Pianist Lim Yunchan said Thursday that nothing has changed since his recent victory in a prestigious international piano competition in the United States and that he will practice more to improve his skills. .

“Nothing has changed,” Lim said at a press conference at his school in southern Seoul to mark his victory. “Winning a competition does not lead to improved skills, so I will try to train more.”

The 18-year-old student from Korea National University of the Arts won the gold medal in the final of the 2022 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition which ended in Fort Worth, Texas on June 18, thus becoming the youngest winner of the 60-year contest.

The press conference at a music hall on the Seocho Campus of the Korea National University of the Arts (K-Arts) began with his performance of Piano Prelude No. 4, Op. 37 and Piano Sonata No. 2.

Dressed in a black jacket over a black crew neck T-shirt, the piano prodigy tapped calmly but sometimes passionately on the keys as he did in the last Van Cliburn competition.

His historic win reignited a boom in classical piano music that exploded in the country after pianist Cho Seong-jin won the International Chopin Piano Competition in 2015. A music video of Lim playing Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor by Rachmaninoff during the contest garnered 3.5 million views on YouTube in just 10 days after its release.

When asked if he had seen the video, Lim replied in the negative with a sheepish smile.

“I deleted the YouTube app and files of my own performances during the contest period, leaving only the KakaoTalk app. Thus, I did not see my performances properly even after the contest ended.”

Professor Sohn Min-soo from K-Arts School of Music also attended the press conference.

Sohn, who is also a pianist, has been teaching Lim since he was 12 years old. But he admitted he didn’t expect Lim to become such a great player when he first met him back then.

“Whenever I see tracks that he brings to me (to learn), I feel like he’s a person who just devotes himself to music without any other thought,” Sohn said. “It is surprising that the true freedom and power of music shown by Lim was achieved through self-discipline and moderation in a small practice room. I can’t wait to see what kind of music the young pianist will show as he experiences the ups and downs of his life in the future.”

Lim has publicly declared his respect and trust in Sohn, saying his mentor had been an influence on his entire life, not just music.

“He didn’t just talk about piano during his lesson, he also taught me how to live and how the old artists lived. My teacher influenced everything in my life,” he said.

Lim plans to hold a North American tour, starting in Aspen, Colorado, next month.

In South Korea, he will hold a piano recital at the Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul on December 10 to celebrate his victory at Van Cliburn. He will present Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37 and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30, which he played during the competition, during the recital.