London, UK – The classical music world is buzzing with excitement as 19-year-old piano sensation Yunchan Lim, often referred to as “classical music’s answer to K-pop,” has signed an exclusive contract with the prestigious UK-based Decca Records.
Yunchan Lim rose to prominence last year, leaving an indelible mark on the music scene by becoming the youngest-ever winner of the esteemed Van Cliburn Piano Competition in Texas. His spellbinding performance of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 quickly garnered global attention and has since accumulated over 12 million views on YouTube.
Decca Records, recognizing Lim’s extraordinary talent, secured the young virtuoso after a fierce and extended bidding war that spanned international music hubs, including Tokyo, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, London, New York, and Seoul. Ultimately, Lim decided to entrust his musical journey to the iconic 94-year-old British label.
In a statement, Yunchan Lim expressed his enthusiasm for the collaboration, saying, “Decca has produced records with excellent sound quality and has worked with numerous legendary musicians. It’s a record label that one can truly appreciate as a musician.”
Lim, seemingly emerging as a prodigious force in classical music, has been lauded for his “visceral,” “magnetic,” and “poetic” performances. His rendition of Rachmaninoff’s concerto in Texas moved conductor Marin Alsop to tears. Critics have described him as “unsmiling” and “otherworldly,” with an undeniable connection to the piano that borders on the amorous.
The Independent’s Jessica Duchen, reviewing Lim’s British debut at the Wigmore Hall, noted, “His playing is so good you think you’re dreaming.” Norman Lebrecht in The Critic described Lim’s interpretations as pathways to a “surreal elsewhere,” while The New York Times praised his transition from “quietly, calmly penetrating lucidity” to “pinging intensity.”
Yunchan Lim, born in Siheung, South Korea, in 2004, attributes his love for the piano to the recordings of Chopin and Liszt that his mother played during his formative years. He commenced piano lessons at the age of seven and joined the Music Academy of Seoul Arts Center just one year later.
Lim’s teacher once remarked, “I immediately noticed that he was a huge talent,” highlighting the young pianist’s humility.
Since his groundbreaking victory at the Van Cliburn competition, Lim has released two albums – one featuring Liszt’s formidable Transcendental Études, recorded during the competition’s semi-finals, and a live performance of Beethoven’s Emperor concerto with the Gwangju Symphony Orchestra, released by Universal Music Korea, which achieved platinum status in his homeland within hours.
Yunchan Lim’s eagerly anticipated studio album is slated for release by Decca in spring 2024. Tom Lewis, the label’s co-president, raved about the prodigious talent, saying, “Yunchan is, quite simply, the most exciting new classical artist on the planet. It took a global mission to secure his signature… and we are so excited that he chose us.” Music enthusiasts around the world are eagerly awaiting the forthcoming release that is poised to further solidify Lim’s reputation as a global musical sensation.