Yunchan Lim


Gold Medal 2022 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition


“…one-in-a-million talent.” – Dallas Morning News

Speaking at a press conference, Yunchan said: “I made up my mind that I will live my life only for the sake of music, and I decided that I will give up everything for music… I wanted my music to become deeper, and if that desire reached the audience, I’m satisfied.”

In June 2022, Yunchan Lim became the youngest person ever to win gold at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition; his performances throughout showcased a “magical ability” and a “natural, instinctive quality” (La Scena) that astounded listeners around the world. Marin Alsop expressed: “Yunchan is that rare artist who brings profound musicality and prodigious technique organically together”. The depth of his artistry and connection to listeners also secured him the Audience Award and Best Performance of a New Work.

Just 18 years old, Yunchan’s ascent to international stardom has been meteoric. His audacious Cliburn Semi-Final Round performance of Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes “created a buzz throughout the international piano community”—his “intelligent virtuosity and total immersion into Liszt’s idiom truly defined transcendental” (Gramophone). And his final Cliburn Competition appearance with Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 delivered the defining moment of the three-week event; as one critic noted: “The applause that followed was endless: a star had emerged before our eyes” (Seen and Heard International). The video of that performance trended globally on YouTube in the days after, reaching #24, and has now become the most-watched version of that piece on the platform, amassing more than 5.5 million views in just one month, and almost 9 million views in three months.

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“With 15 of Bach’s keyboard sinfonias, Lim weighted the counterpoints so perfectly, and deployed such a subtle metrical flexibility, that every inner detail seemed to be imbued with a character of its own.”

Richard Morrison

The Times

“The sighing phrases of the Dowland were transmuted into subtly coloured, immaculately voiced arcs, while the Bach miniatures were imaginatively dispatched with a different mood or temperament for each – jaunty, good-humoured, pensive and so forth – ending with a poignant reading of the F minor, with its anguished chromaticisms.”

Barry Millington

Evening Standard

“His debut with the New York Philharmonic showed that he is an artist capable of considerably more than the usual technical fireworks. Not that the pyrotechnics weren’t there — he attacked Rachmaninov’s imposing chords with ferocity and clarity, and took the octaves in the coda finale with reckless abandon.

Lim was at his best in the quietermoments of the piece, voicing Rachmaninov’s long melodies with elegant restraint. He took the piece at a deliberate, almost trance-like pace, with judicious rubati that made the piece sound fresh.”

Kevin Ng

Financial Times

“There was, in his performance of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3, the juxtaposition of precise clarity and expansive reverie; the vivid scenes and bursts of wit; the sense of contrasting yet organically developing moods; the endless and persuasive bendings of time — the qualities that tend to characterize night time wanderings of the mind.”

Zachary Woolfe

New York Times

“There is no substitute for rare talent, and 18-year-old Yunchan Lim of South Korea is, indeed, the real deal…when the young South Korean is in his element, there are few sounds more ravishing in the world.”

Elijah Ho

SF Classical Voice

“Lim stormed his way through the finale of Rachmaninov’s mighty work, as Marin Alsop attentively directed the orchestra in keeping with the young pianist’s impressive pace. Alsop could be seen nodding in approval as Lim expertly transitioned from dramatic cadenzas to the sweeping Romantic themes that Rachmaninov is known and loved for.”

Classic FM