People #4: Dong-Hyek Lim, a Gifted South Korean Pianist


Dong-Hyek Lim (born July 25, 1984 in Seoul) is a young South Korean classical pianist. Lim currently studies with Emanuel Ax at the Juilliard School in New York City, and received the Samsung Culture Scholarship and the Ezoe Scholarship.
Lim first began to study piano at the age of seven, following in the footsteps of his elder brother Dong-Min Lim, who is also an acclaimed young pianist.
He won the Grand Prix at the Hanguk Daily Newspaper Competition and was chosen the year’s best young pianist by the Korean Children Association at the age of 9. In 1994, he moved to Moscow to study at the Moscow Central Music School. He graduated in 1998 and became the youngest student in the history of the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory and continued his studies there with Professor Lev Naumov. At age 11, he gave a recital attended by the orthodox Patriarch Alexius II and performed in front of the Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Lim has received top awards at various competitions. In September 1996, he captured international attention by winning the second prize at the Chopin Competition for Young Pianists in Moscow as the youngest participant of that year (his elder brother Dong-Min Lim tied for the first prize). In 2000, Lim took the fifth prize at the International Busoni Piano Competition in Italy. He went on to win the second prize at the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in Japan later that year.
In December 2001, not only did he become the youngest winner of the Premier Grand Prix in the history of the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud International Piano Competition in Paris, but also he won five other special awards. The controversial third place in Queen Elisabeth Music Competition in Brussels happened in 2003. Lim was not content with the judgement made by the judges therefore he decided to reject it. Thus this third place became ‘unawarded’ for the first time ever since this competition was set up from 1938.

In October 2005, Lim participated in the 15th International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw and, for the first time in the history of Korea, took the third prize, tied with his elder brother Dong-Min Lim (with no second prize was awarded). In June 2007, Lim participated in the 13th International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, shared fourth prize with Sergei Sobolev (with no first prize was awarded).
Lim’s performances at the Small and Great Halls of the Moscow State Conservatory, Salle Pleyel and Salle Cortot in Paris, the Lazienski Palace in Warsaw, the Konzerthaus in Berlin and with Martha Argerich at the Philharmonic Hall in Beppu, Japan, have met with great acclaim. Lim has also appeared in many renowned festivals, including Verbier in Switzerland, Klavier-Festival Ruhr in Germany, the 57th International Chopin Festival in Poland, Montpellier Radio France, Piano aux Jacobins Festivals in France and Martha Argerich’s Festival in Lugano.He also had appearances with reputable orchestras among which the NHK Symphony Orchestra under Charles Dutoit, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic under Yuri Temirkanov, the Orchestre National de France under Kurt Masur, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France under Lawrence Foster and Myung-Whun Chung, the Orchestra de Belgium under Alexander Dmitriev, the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Jiri Belohlavek, the European Union Youth Orchestra under Vladimir Ashkenazy, the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, the New Japan Philharmonic and the national tour in Israel with Israel Philharmonic Orchestra included.
In May 2001, Lim became the youngest pianist ever to make a recording contract with EMI Classics and received the Diapason d’or award in France for his debut album of Chopin, Schubert, and Ravel under the “Martha Argerich Presents” series, released in June 2002. His second recording for EMI, featuring Chopin’s B minor Sonata and other minor works, released in 2004, was awarded the Choc Prize by Le Monde de la Musique. His third album, which consists of Bach’s Goldberg Variations and the Bach-Busoni Chaconne in D Minor, was released in August, 2008 under EMI.

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