What pianists say about the Cliburn winner

What pianists say about the Cliburn winner


norman lebrecht

June 19, 2022

Norma Fisher: The Cliburn 2022 has discovered for us a mind-blowing, once in a lifetime, talent!!! Bravo 18 year old Yunchan Lim, on totally unforgettable performances……….Liszt and Rachmaninov, to die for!!!!! Huge congratulations also to well deserved 2nd and 3rd prizewinners Anna Geniushene and Dmytro Choni

Craig Sheppard: Following a breathtaking Rach 3, on top of a mind boggling Liszt Études Transcendentes in the semifinals, was there any doubt? Yunchan Lim has a major career ahead of him, for sure. He really is a phenomenal talent. And only 18!!!

Min Kwon: I don’t mean to brag on behalf of Korea, but the singular most spectacular talent I have ever seen, Yunchan Lim, an 18 year old pianist from Korean just became the Gold Medal winner of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. And of course the last Cliburn winner was also Korean Yekwon Sunwoo!
The most recent Queen Elizabeth Competition was won by a 23 yr old Korean female cellist, Hayoung Choi.
The most recent Sibelius International Violin Competition was won by a Korean violinist Inmo Yang.
It’s 3am in Vienna now. Just finished watching the live cast of the Cliburn Awards Ceremony. With tears in my eyes, I am going to bed now, very emotional and very proud of these dedicated souls my country has produced.

Sarah Chan (from Kyiv, Ukraine): His music leads every moment of the way simply by its own being–revealing along the way such manifold compositional riches both microscopic and macroscopic, highlighting harmonic, contrapuntal, and orchestral beauty of musical process not only through his own instrument but in also setting up foundations of musical understanding that allow for and reveal the beauty of compositional and interpretive interaction with the orchestral instruments and voices themselves. The absolute beauty of his internal and innate understanding of rhythm, pacing, spacing, timing allows for the music to breathe and to be easily understood, to proceed and flow with clarity, to find its elegance and dynamism of form and enunciation, and to engage a moment-by-moment organic interest in musical terrains, orchestration, and offering of panoramic vision that vitally discovers and explores the journey along the way. The music he offers feeds and leads each listener because it points to the ability of the music itself to lead. Purely. Extraordinary talent. Extraordinary person. Grateful to have had the opportunity to share in the experience of this music from a remarkable artist of great respect.


Raja Rahman (Director of Piano Studies at Nevada School of the Arts)I don’t get moved to tears at classical concerts too much these days, but it’s so rare to see this unbridled, yet precise, passion on a stage. This is truly the epitome of what all the conservatories try to teach us. Expression, without limits, with total technical control. Don’t know how it gets any better.


  • Paul Sekhri says:

    IMHO his performance of the Rach 3 was truly miraculous.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      imho, too.

    • Anonymous says:

      Could you elaborate on what “miraculous” means?

    • Nick says:

      If and when speed is a miracle, then yes, it was. He plays faster than probably any other living (or dead) pianist.

    • tet says:

      He is Jesus Christ on the piano.

      Until the next Cliburn winner.

      Is there anyone sadder than being the prior Cliburn winner? One day you’re the toast of the town, the next…

      So sure, good luck to 2022 winner Yunchan Lim,

      as good luck to 2021 winner, henceforth the other Korean winner, Yekwon Sunwoo

      as was good luck to

      Vadym Kholodenko
      Nobuyuki Tsujii
      Alexander Kobrin
      Stanislav Ioudenitch
      Jon Nakamatsu
      Simone Pedroni
      Alexei Sultanov
      José Feghali
      Andre-Michel Schub
      Steven De Groote
      Vladimir Viardo
      Cristina Ortiz
      Radu Lupu (1966! one does come alone, but once every half a century)
      Ralph Votapek

      • Nina Tichman says:

        Not since Radu Lupus has the Cliburn had a talent like this (with great respect to all of the wonderful pianists who have won prizes there)

      • nimitta says:

        tet: “Radu Lupu (1966! one does come alone [sic], but once every half a century)

        Just about right, tet – Yunchan Lim has come along about half a century after Lupu. Apart from that, though, he bears little or no relation to those other Cliburn laureates. Lim is a phenomenon, already at 18 possessed of preternatural musical presence, insight, and power. His technique is astonishing, not just in terms of velocity or accuracy but also economy – capable of tone production along an enormous dynamic range, from hummingbird trills to cosmic thunder – and a remarkable sense of time.

        What truly touched me, though, was how he seemed to reach and evoke the humanity, the soul and heart of each composer he performed: Bach, Couperin, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Scriabin, and Rachmaninoff. It isn’t just his Transcendental Études or Rach 3 that bowled over the judges – he was also recognized for his coruscating rendition of Stephen Hough’s Fanfare Toccata, played from memory.

        I can’t wait to hear Yunchan Lim down the road – both in recital and concertizing with the world’s great orchestras. Like other young competition prizewinners – Lipatti (17), Pollini (18), Zimerman (19), and Lupu (20) come to mind – Yunchan Lim’s unique artistry will doubtless grow, his rising star growing ever brighter to the musical firmament.

      • Animal Lives Matter says:

        Umm, YunChan Lim is different from the rest because he’s handsome and charismatic. Girls, women, gay men worldwide r in love with him. Look at his Rach 3 video, over 4 million views and still going… Even his hair has fans lol.

    • Filharmonika says:

      what is IMHO?m

  • Peter X says:

    The (educational) success rates in Korea come at a price…
    And: do we really need these blockbuster competitions?

    • Enrique Sanchez says:

      Wow, I had no idea! This is tantamount to torture for a young person.

    • Miranda Green says:

      He couldn’t play with such artistry and feeling if he wasn’t enjoying it. His hard work has paid off.

    • KoreanPianist says:

      Dear Peter, need is a big word. If all the great pianists you know today, literally all of them, didn’t play in competitions, I guess there won’t be any left?

    • Charlotte Web says:

      This young man is a unique genius not a “product” of some educational system

  • Wojciech says:

    I totally disagree with decision of Jury. Winner is not a matured musician. His Beethoven concerto was very weak even with wrong rythm at the beginnig of second part.
    This presented sensivity of talented child nothink more plus of course very fast fingers.This is not enough for 1st prize.
    The winner should be Chomi and 2d prize is on the right place.

    • Stephanie C. says:

      Yunchan Lim is miraculous if you appreciate incredible technique, musicianship, and artistic insight.
      He’s going to be a major star in the classical music World.
      But there’ll be jealous people who’ll post nonsensical replies to downgrade Lim’s talent and victory while promoting lesser talents.

    • nimitta says:

      Wojciech: “His Beethoven concerto was very weak even with wrong rythm [sic] at the beginning of second part.”

      Very weak, you say? I found it glorious! Here and elsewhere, Lim was not just masterful from a technical standpoint, but able to unspool a thrilling narrative that captured Beethoven’s tenderness no less than his majesty and brio. And what sheer grandeur and joy in the Rondo: Allegro! Did you happen to notice how much his concerto performances moved Marin Alsop and FWSO players, particularly after the Rach 3?

      As for the Largo, Lim’s sense of time in the opening was a marvel, in perfect agreement with my score, that would seem to be quite beyond his years and experience. How about yours, Wojciech?

      As for Dmytro Choni, he’s a wonderful young artist and exudes quite a bit of joy himself. His concerto performances were quite good as well, although his Op. 37 didn’t have the kind of artistry, heft, or wisdom so notable in Lim’s performance. I liked Choni’s selection of solo works, but his performances didn’t have the kind of effortless command, musical sense, or yes, maturity that both Lim and Anna Geniushene brought to theirs.

    • Sheila Novitz says:

      Differences of opinion are to be welcomed, as each of us hears differently. But spite and nastiness have no place in critiques.

    • Dr John says:

      Sorry …. He is NOT a child in any way shape or form .

  • Arthur Lindgren says:

    By and large, the jury made a good choice and the right choice and I wish the winner all the best with his big win. But lest our necks go out of joint for nodding too much or we sprain a pinkie typing exclamation marks, here’s a dissenting view.

    Yunchan Lim is obviously a major talent and his encounters with the piano tend to be of the Transcendental Kind. Yet even as I admired much of his playing, in particular in the Beethoven Eroica Variations, I was increasingly aware that something was missing. I found his Liszt studies tiring to listen to after an half hour, something that never happens with Arrau or Lazar Berman. To these ears, he often sounded like a very good and very canny simulator of musical meaning, almost like the real thing. I can only trust my ears to say that. Come to think of it, even the Eroica Variations, superbly done by him, is a canny choice of repertoire as the physical aspect of the interpreter’s “technique” is of crucial importance in this piece and an integral part of the music itself. And even while saluting his war-horsemanship in Rach 3, which had many good moments, it was a physical, not a spiritual rush that I was experiencing.

    For me, there were thrilling glimpses of heaven in the playing of bronze medalist Dmytro Choni, such as in his Debussy, in Schumann Op. 21, in the Prokofiev Third Concerto. His musical style at times reminded me of Youri Egorov, and there’s no higher praise. Egorov, a wonderful free spirit, left the 1977 edition of the Cliburn without reaching the finals.

    • TrufonovFan says:

      Every professor I spoke to, and most of my friends are saying Lim deserved his victory.
      One even said Lim played the Rach 3 better than Horowitz’s 1951 performance. I think that’s going too far. But definitely better than Horowitz’s 1978 Carnegie Hall.
      There’s no question Lim is the most talented winner in any competition in decades.
      Way better than Cho and as good as Trifonov!

      • ChrysanthemumFan says:

        Better than Bruce Liu of the Chopin?

        • Margaret Koscielny says:

          …no, absolutely, no. As for the Eroica, It was hardly recognizable as Beethoven’s spirit in the beginning. His technique and accuracy are phenomenal, but he needs some help with interpretation. And, maybe a bit of time spent with a German piano teacher? He has promise…time will tell. He is so young.

        • Lim says:

          Bruce Liu mesmerises. Yunchan’s playing is satisfyingly nice. Compare their Chopin variations on Mozart theme you know what I mean.

      • OttawaPianist says:

        TrufonovFan- Horowitz 1978 was Avery Fisher Hall, not Carnegie. I was there.

        • Neil says:

          I’m sure you know this but just to be a pedant:

          Ormandy / Horowitz Rach 3 was at Carnegie. You went to a later concert with Mehta conducting, that concert was filed. Milstein said the latter was much better than Carnegie.

          He played it 3 more times that season.

          There’s a terrible sounding recording of the Ann Arbour concert that Horowitz ranked as one of his best ever. Then he played in LA and Philly I think: both on youtube in appalling sound.

    • Mark Mortimer says:

      Interesting & informed comments Arthur. The comparison with Arrau in the Transcendental Etudes is a worthy one. Phenomenal respect for one of the great keyboard masters of all time- but in no.5 ‘Feux Follets’ for example- Arrau takes almost twice as long as Lim & sounds sluggish in comparison. With Lim you still hear everything with total clarity at twice the speed. Neither approach is necessarily right or wrong but I bet Liszt himself would be pretty awestruck by the incredible fluency & delicacy of the young Korean.

      • Arthur Lindgren says:

        I suppose Liszt’s Feux Follets can be dispatched in just under three minutes while someone like Arrau royally passes the 4-minute mark in the grand manner of other great Lisztians like Jorge Bolet or Frederic Lamond, the latter among the composer’s last pupils. Even Gyorgy Cziffra, no slouch when it comes to speed merchandising, clocks in at over four minutes (I just checked: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhcBoNCZuBU, observing the tempo marking of “Allegretto” and a telltale “dolce tranquillo” a bit later.

        In metaphorical terms, we can only see the wills-o’-the-wisp against the dark velvet background of the nocturnal forest glade. Liszt put both in his music and Arrau, already in his seventies when he made his recording of the Transcendental Studies, knows exactly what he’s doing.

        This is an interesting topic and in a way itself a metaphor for what music is and what it can express.

        A further thing I’d like to mention. Those here who’ve been proclaiming the Second Coming or Athena fully formed from the head of Zeus or the arrival of the most faultless human or android since evolution began are doing a huge disservice to a very promising but musically unformed talent who quite obviously needs very tactful and attentive nurturing to develop into a full-fledged artist. Personally I’m not too enthusiastic about him being paraded around the concert circuit in the wake of his win.

    • TrifonovFan says:

      About the Liszt Transcendental etudes…Yunchan Lim ‘s phenomenal technique made the Feux Follets (#5) look like child’s play. Arrau was sluggish.
      Also listen to Lim’s rapturous Chasse neige (#12), the extremely fast but accurate octaves from the Mazeppa(#4), and a dazzling Wilde Jagd(#8).
      And let’s not forget he did all 12 transcendental etudes without pause. Yet to come in the same competition:
      a charming Mozart Concerto,
      a brilliant Beethoven Concerto
      AND a magnificent Rach 3!
      I can’t wait to hear his Rach 3 in a concert cycle where his only mission is the concerto!

  • Nick says:

    Great hands and overall musicality. Sensitive ears and excellent concentration multiplied by young temperament. 18 yo shows powerfully though! We’ll observe. At the moment not a very interesting personality, a wonderful instrumentalist, but that is about it. First prize unquestionably.

  • A Pianist says:

    Not to be a party pooper but I thought the Cliburn laid an egg this year. As it usually does. The finals performances were clean but extremely generic. Call me a hater but I went to see a piano soloist with my local symphony last night and loved it. She’s a mid career B lister but played with individuality and maturity and from the heart. Everything missing from the Cliburn.

  • David Spence says:

    This is a stunning victory at the Cliburn. I wonder what became of Yekwon Sunwoo, who won in 2017 and I can only remember who the silver medalist was in 2013- Beatrice Rana. Needless to say, Yunchan’ Lim’s gift, technique, musical sensitivity, and wit are absolutely formidable.

    • A Pianist says:

      Yes exactly what has become of nearly all the 21st century winners. And why do some classical fans get drawn into the hype cycle time and again. It’s almost a performative thing, fall for the hype every time to show your membership in the fandom.

  • Minnesota says:

    His Rach 3 performance is on YouuTube but, as others have noted, the sound volume is too low to hear. Cliburn officials: Please fix it already.

  • Miv Tucker says:

    Not sure why he was wearing that huge fur hat. He looked like he’d just stepped out of the, er, steppes. Or was it a nod to the Chassidic element in the audience?

    • ChrysanthemumFan says:

      In TEXAS?!?!?
      I reside 30 minutes from a Chassidic community and 90 minutes from Brooklyn.

      Not sure why you thought there were many Chassidics in the audience in Texas.

      Nevertheless, commenter, you are deplorable! I hate anti-Semites with a passion despite that I’m a Gentile. You are infected with an insidious spiritual and psychological disease.

      I hope you can get well someday.

    • Animal Lives Matter says:

      Lim’s people said he didn’t have time to get a haircut. Besides, we r in love with his hair. One guy on YouTube keeps asking what shampoo Lim uses and how he wishes to wash Lim’s hair lol.

      I bet you don’t have much hair on your head, but a lot on your body.

  • Mark Mortimer says:

    A deserving Cliburn laureate in Yunchan Lim. His Liszt Etudes in the semi final round was indeed something quite special- out of the ordinary. But he’s very young & hopefully won’t burn out with too many engagements of the virtuoso fare which he’s clearly built for & will be given the chance to develop as an artist.

  • Pianist says:

    Generally speaking, the system where some of the Cliburn finalists don’t receive any awards, or at least publicly announced diplomas for participation in the finals (after such physical, musical, artistic workout) is, in my opinion, quite brutal. After all, Shmukler, Khandohi, and Stevenson each performed 2 piano concertos in the finals. Such pinnacles of the repertoire as Rachmaninov, Beethoven, Grieg, Chopin, Gershwin. Some liked some performances more, some less. But to let them through this wringer only to have them come up on the stage in the end, when the names of the finalists are announced and before the actual prize winners are named, –and then to have them listen to the announcement of jury’s discretionary awards, conferred upon contestants who had NOT made it into the finals… To me, this feels somehow illogical, to say the least. And even disrespectful to what the competition has put its finalists through up until that moment, as well as to the pianistic feats they had performed on the instrument from day one till the end. Maybe it would be more reasonable to pass only three contestants into the final round in the future (or a maximum of four, if looks like it’ll be impossible not to share one of the prizes). Or have more prizes awarded… I believe the Cliburn should be able to afford that.

    Otherwise, a great competition and so much wonderful talent. And I fully support the gold and the silver medal decisions. It is a pity they did not consider it possible (and necessary) to split some prizes after gold.

  • Mecky Messer says:

    It just so HAPPENS that Korea is one of the last bastions of physical CD sales. Coincidence?

    The “industry” really is pathetic

    • Animal Lives Matter says:

      USA is 2nd highest CD buyers. More ppl in Japan use fax machines than email. In fact, Japan & S. Korea is among the world’s most technologically advanced/digitally connected countries.

      And what “industry” is pathetic.

      As a classic Democrat, u know what’s pathetic, the identity politics the far left forces down our throats & the outrageous amount of homicide, theft, gun violence, & Asian Hate killings (committed by the “oppressed” minorities).

      • Charlotte Web says:

        As a small Asian woman living in New York I wholeheartedly echo your sentiment. The amount of violent crimes against Asians has been through the roof recently but we are somehow hoodwinked into thinking that it’s all due to “whitesupremacy” identity politics is cultural marxism and will be just as destructive as marxism… Btw Animal Lives Absolutely Matter!

      • Sung says:

        Politicizing everything is more pathetic than anything else you mentioned.

  • Patrick Park says:

    There is no question Lim deserved the Gold because of many reasons! His performances are similar to great pianists multiple times his age. Mature beyond his years. We could be witnessing the birth of a new Horowitz. Having said this I believe the Jury got it wrong in regards to Kate Liu. How they can bypass her? It has to be politics.
    Her Prokofiev was amazing and with great energy and a moving tearful second movement. Unmatched Prokofiev in the competition! Kate is shy and unassuming! She is a throwback to the great romantic pianists! Are these the reasons she didn’t walk away with a medal! Many thought Kate deserved the Gold at the Chopin competition! Listen to her Chopin b minor sonata and scherzo no 3 as well as the Chopin concerto which brought the audience off their seats. How the Russian and Ukrainian pianists were chosen over her is a big question that will never be answered. I’m not taking away the talents of the medal winners but Kate was not treated fairly. Maybe she should of performed pyrotechnic pieces or dressed like a male. If the jurors were put in a room with no visual but only the sound of the performance she would of taken one of the medals easily. They say we eat with our eyes before tasting food, well maybe the same is true with judging a competition. Put the Jurors in a sound proof room without knowing who they are listening to. Then and only then will we get it right. Having said that Lim deserved the Gold. Bravo

    • Pianist says:

      Here are some possible reasons Kate Liu didn’t walk away with a medal:
      1) There were lots of wonderful pianists who got knocked out of various competition stages. Kate was one of them. She didn’t make it beyond the quarterfinals. She is a talented and seasoned performer and I’m sure she has taken this in her stride. She’ll do better in other competitions. And she already has a very impressive bio. Good for her!
      2) Many found her playing to be pretentious, exaggerated. She chose consistently slow tempi that weren’t always reasonable and made some music sound unjustifiably (and, by her second appearance at the competition, quite predictably) drawn out. Anna Geniushene demonstrated in a later round how Prokofiev Sonata no. 8 should be played. To keep saying that Kate’s sonata was unmatched is to do Kate a disservice. You are opening a public discussion that is bound to bring up and expose these deficiencies of her competition record. Her Franck had several technical glitches, and there is no way any Cliburn competitor should have been passed into the next round with that.
      3) Playing the victim card isn’t a smart idea. There was no gender or race discrimination at the competition. The 6- months pregnant Geniushene received the silver medal, the 18-year old Korean got the gold. So what are we talking about?.And no, the Cliburn should not listen to contestants in a sound proof room. The jury selects artists who will be performing in front of live audiences and be successful in doing that. Artistically and financially. They should be as seen and heard by the competition jury as much as they will be by the world’s music audiences and fans that the jury is sending its medalists to perform for in their future illustrious careers.

      • Mercer says:

        Great observations, but a few points worth noting.

        At 28, I don’t know how many more competitions are in her future. This must be especially heart-braking after winning bronze, audience favorite, and mazurka awards at the Chopin.

        I can see how one would find her playing “pretentious” and “exaggerated,” but I found her Beethoven 110 to be transcendent. Perhaps in another hearing I may not feel the same way, but in the moment, the fugues’ entrances were sublime. (Geniushene’s Prokofiev was, indeed, something to behold, but that is another story.)

        I wonder if her time requirement was an issue. In both of her rounds she went 9 and 7 minutes past her limit. The Cliburn counts “applause and pauses” as part of the 40-minute limit for the first two rounds. She was glacially slow before and between movements and works. What a shame, because not hearing more of her in later rounds was my biggest disappointment in this competition.

      • Patrick Park says:

        Of course I disagree, as I said let the Jury listen to them in a enclosed room without knowing who they are and we will get to the truth. We need a Jury pool of great pianists to do the judging not the audience.

        • Animal Lives Matter says:

          “We think we make the picture hang straight on our wall by telling our neighbors that all his pictures are crooked.”

          – Fulton J. Sheen,

      • Jeffrey Biegel says:

        Given the time needed to learn repertoire, grow and mature in all styles as well as life, what would be so terrible as to have a Junior Artist competition age limit 23, and then Artist competition age 23-35? Some 23 year-old pianists have amassed 15-20 concerti ready to carve a career, and other up to age 35 have had time to learn repertoire and mature through these formative years of adulthood in order to sustain a career for several decades, hopefully. There are also thoughts about the rep for four stages, too much to go into here. This is based on current performance opportunities and venues, supply and demand etc.

    • Simpson says:

      You keep writing about the same thing in this forum again and again. Obsession is not making your point stronger or more credible.

      • Patrick Park says:

        Simpson no obsession here just read my points again! It’s nothing bad. Put the Jurors in a room to listen not watch! Have you listened to Kate Liu at the Chopin ect. Are you a pianist!

  • Julie Malmberg says:

    Yes. We often hear of yet, another “child prodigy”who dazzles, then burns out as quickly.

    Either the person can maintain their artistry at such a high level of technical and musical brilliance, or they choose to cease performing professionally for an audience as a career. I am certain they stress themselves greatly through years of practice.

    One can hope he is paced for a long career as a fine musician and artist, and that he actually enjoys playing. If not, there are so many performers who can, and will take that spotlight away from him.

    • Jeffrey Biegel says:

      There are many components to sustaining a career as a pianist. It is indeed a long yellow brick road. It is good, however, that he has some warhorse standard concertos in his fingers at this age. We all did. But, the road is not always paved with gold, and he will now follow his yellow brick road, hopefully, with a wise Scarecrow, a heartful Tin man, and a courageous lion.

      • Mark Mortimer says:

        Tx Jeffrey for these wise words- particularly aimed at young Lim. Btw- I also appreciate your performance (on a NY Steinway) of Feux Follets- very delicate.

        • Jeffrey Biegel says:

          Dear Mark,
          Thank you for your kind words. These words of advice come from someone who has lived the walk. I’ve seen many come and go, like driving in traffic. Sometimes, a car of a different style comes along with its own attributes. If we compare ourselves to other industries, e.g. style, automotive, technology, medicine, law, we need to evolve as well.

    • Animal Lives Matter says:


      Oh brother , why don’t u worry about ur own arse. Lim, because of his cute charismatic visuals lol, has fans going crazy. I can read Korean & some Japanese, so I know what u don’t know – he’s already a major star in E. Asia. I’ve seen this happen before with the queen, Kim Yuna and course BTS.

      P. S. Even Lim’s hair has a fan club.

  • Patrick Park says:

    I wrote what I thought was a good honest response and it was awaiting approval! What happened to it! I love Slippedisk!

  • Marc says:

    The audio on Lim’s Youtube Rach 3 has been fixed. The performance is really quite wonderful. This young man has a future — unlike so many past Cliburn winners. Terrific accompaniment from Marin and the band. Here’s a link to the improved video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPJL488cfRw

  • Kathleen King says:

    Why cannot we ‘oi polloi in the United States have similar “live” access to these important — but probably not “commercial” events. WHY is classical culture not available to us, especially we who have to reside in rural areas. Congratulations to this young man, and to his fellow winners, and simply to the entire roster of very talented competitors. In a world filled with dissonance, “noise” and all too little music these men and women show a future we need.

  • Mercer says:

    I’m conflicted with this choice. If the mission of the Cliburn is to find an artist who is ready today to be launched on a major international career, with all that such a career entails, is Lim that artist? By all accounts, there is much to admire in his playing, and based on his final round concerti, it’s hard not to declare him the most exciting of the finalists. But is he as complete an artist as Geniushene, Sun, Shin, or Liu? Is he as mature as they to withstand the rigors of a major touring career? As I heard his name announced as the winner, I couldn’t help but feel the weight of the prize and expectations crush the poor sweet soul who couldn’t even muster the wherewithal to smile sincerely or to show true emotion as he apologetically walked across the stage.

    • Zandonai says:

      Based on feedback the readers of this blog don’t like or tolerate dissenting views.

    • yyoo says:

      He’s young. He can grow into the role. I’m reminded of an example from pop music: Ed Sheeran. The shyest, most unassuming, and most awkward guy when he was launched on the scene, but he’s doing more than fine now.

    • Animal Lives Matter says:

      As a Korean woman, I love western culture. In fact, George Eliot’s Middlemarch changed me from a party girl (w/rich men only lol) to an animal rescue worker. That said, u lack the intuition, depth, humility to properly measure a non-narcissistic foreigner like Lim.

      Koreans (u can ask other westerners who know the culture well) r one of the most warmest ppl, but outwardly stoic to ppl they don’t know well. We don’t smile often in front of strangers either. In fact, i’m sorry & thank you is the most commonly used phrases (outside of family/close friends circle) in Korea & Japan. Lim’s “apologetic” walk has nothing to do w/insecurity, it’s him being respectful, showing humility to an audience that he regards r his elders! Oh, & yes, he’s very shy boy even for a Korean.

      U know what I find sad (embarrassing actually) about American youths, esp women? They r so eager to remind u how great & strong they r lol to other ppl. I don’t see that as self confidence, do u?

      I get that you didn’t know… cuz ur not Korean, but still… by ur age u should’ve had the wisdom, intuition to not have mis-read Lim.

      • Charlotte Web says:

        Hey Animals Lives Matter – so glad you rescue animals and I strongly urge you to watch DOMINION on youtube as well as Gary Yourofsky’s The Most Important Speech You Will Ever Hear. Keep rocking and fighting the good fight! Btw I also read Korean and some Japanese and Chinese love music animals and liberty for all ✌️

    • Limitless says:

      FYI no artist can be considered complete, including artists who are known to be legendary. Each has weaknesses and strengths. Having said this, Lim can be considered a complete artist as others, even more, when he can play from contemporary to traditional classics to even jazz. Anyway, he’s been contacted by all the major concert halls in the world, inc. Wigmore and Carnegie, along with NYPhil Orch. That’s no shabby for someone his age, when everybody who’s somebody in the music world wants to work with him.

  • Zandonai says:

    That’s nice but can he play Mozart and Beethoven?
    Rachmaninoff and Liszt are for the circus monkeys.

    • Jeffrey Biegel says:

      21st century concerti too? It is 2022. There are works that these young tigers of the keyboard will most probably need to learn during the course of their musical lives. That forms the theme of my next mission.

      • Diana says:

        Are you aware that the British pianist HOUGH composed “Fanfare Toccata” especially for this competition?
        These competitors were to sight read this contemporary virtuoso piece and play it from memory or with the score in front of them.
        Out of the 30 pianists from the prelims, Yunchan won the Hough prize.
        Please stop being so analytical about his career potential.
        This young man is interesting enough to attract 3 million views and 80,000 likes for his Rach 3 in just 5 days.
        He already have more recording labels lining up to sign him than the rest of the finalists combined.
        He’s going to be a star.

  • Zandonai says:

    Pretty ironic you guys all say he’s such a great virtuoso player of Liszt and Rachmaninoff but hope he will “have a chance to grow and mature as an artist”…. Horowitz was a great virtuoso but not really a great thinker of deep artist. That’s why he’s so good with Liszt and Rach. Most of these circus monkeys can’t cope with Mozart and Beethoven.

    • Patrick Park says:

      Dear Zandonai, I’m impressed you know Horowitz so well! Your opinions are opposite of all major great pianists and historians and present day virtuosos! Are you a trained virtuoso pianist.

  • Trifonovfan says:

    Some dissenters are finally conceding that Lim may be a master at Liszt and Rachmaninoff. Then they start asking if he’s good at Mozart and Beethoven?
    The answer is YES, of course!
    All you have to do is to listen to what he’s already demonstrated from the competition.
    I see a big future for this young man on the Worldwide stage. Or
    at least as an online pianist or with his recordings.
    His winning videos from the competition are already above the 1 million view category after 2 days! And the compliments and adorations are in the 10’s of thousands. That alone can launch a major career in an era of the internet.

  • Emery says:

    Is it really necessary to see the naysayers soil themselves publicly?

  • CRMH says:

    Perhaps we should remind ourselves of a truly great, romantic, authentic performance of Rach 3, when confronted with this facile but not very musical youth – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5mxU_7BTRA

  • Animal Lives Matter says:

    Look at these petty grown ups being jealous lol. A lot of women find Lim cute, tender too 😉

  • Johnny Spagnuolo says:

    I feel that he plays …. with Love .