FORT WORTH, Texas, June 1, 2023—On July 7, 2023, the Steinway & Sons label will release the anticipated gold-medal album for 2022 Cliburn winner Yunchan Lim: the remastered live recording of his historic, complete performance of the Liszt Transcendental Etudes during the Competition’s Semifinal Round (performed June 10, 2022, at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, Texas, USA).
The album (STNS 30217) will be available worldwide on CD and through all download and streaming services. It is also currently available for pre-order in the Cliburn Shop: shop.cliburn.org.
The original announcement that Lim—at age 18, the youngest competitor—would play the entire monumental work for his 2022 Cliburn third-round recital “created a buzz throughout the international piano community;” and he delivered, with a performance defined by “intelligent virtuosity and total immersion into Liszt’s idiom [that] truly defined transcendental” (Gramophone). In addition to the ecstatic audience in person that day and the 4 million people who have watched it online since, the critics were universally enraptured: “Lim displayed mind-boggling virtuosity and interpretive depth scarcely imaginable in one so young. In the semifinal round, he gave as brilliant a performance as you’ll ever hear of Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes, containing some of the hardest music ever composed for piano” (Dallas Morning News). Now fans around the globe can enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime concert for many years to come.
ABOUT YUNCHAN LIM
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. As Jury Chair 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 19 years old, Yunchan’s ascent to international stardom has been meteoric. His audacious Cliburn Semifinal 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. One critic noted: “The applause that followed was endless: a star had emerged before our eyes” (Seen and Heard International); The Economist hailed him for making “each note crystalline, purposeful and often startlingly beautiful;” and The New York Times listed it as one of the Top 10 Classical Music Performances of 2022. 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 over 10 million views in eight months.
Invitations from the most prestigious concert halls and orchestras immediately followed: recent and upcoming highlights across North America, Europe, and Asia include concerto engagements with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Baltimore Symphony, and Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestras, and Orchestre de Paris; festival appearances at Aspen, Bravo! Vail, and Ravinia; and recitals for Carnegie Hall, Washington Performing Arts at the Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Suntory Hall, and Seoul Arts Center, among other major stages. His debut with the New York Phil in May 2023 was named a Critics’ Pick by The New York Times, and led them to call his performance of the Rach 3 a “literal” dream: “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 nighttime wanderings of the mind.”
Born in Siheung, Korea, Yunchan Lim began piano lessons at age 7, when it was time to choose an after-school activity; he entered the Music Academy of the Seoul Arts Center the next year and quickly became immersed in his musical studies. He auditioned for and was accepted into the Korea National Institute for the Gifted in Arts at age 13, where he met his teacher and mentor, Minsoo Sohn. Yunchan entered the international music stage a year later, in 2018, winning second prize and the Chopin Special Award in his first-ever competition, the Cleveland International Piano Competition for Young Artists. Also that year, he stood out as the youngest participant in the Cooper International Competition, where he won both third prize and the audience prize, and was provided the opportunity to perform with the Cleveland Orchestra. The next year, 2019, brought more accolades, when, at the age of 15, he was the youngest to win Korea’s IsangYun International Competition, also taking home two special prizes.
Yunchan has previously performed across South Korea—including with the Korean Orchestra Festival, Korea Symphony, Suwon Philharmonic, and Busan Philharmonic Orchestras, among others—as well as in Madrid, at the invitation of the Korea Cultural Center in Spain. He participated in the recording of “2020 Young Musicians of Korea,” organized by the Korean Broadcasting System and released that November.
Speaking at a press conference after the Competition, 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.”
ABOUT STEINWAY & SONS LABEL
The Steinway & Sons music label produces exceptional albums of solo piano music across all genres. The label — a division of Steinway & Sons, maker of the world’s finest pianos — is a perfect vessel for producing the finest quality recordings by some of the most talented pianists in the world.
ABOUT THE 2022 VAN CLIBURN INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITION
Widely considered one of the preeminent international music contests, the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition exists to share excellent classical music with the largest international audience possible and to launch the careers of its winners every four years. Building on a rich tradition that began with its 1962 origins in honor of Van Cliburn and his vision for using music to serve audiences and break down boundaries, the Cliburn seeks, with each edition, to achieve the highest artistic standards while utilizing contemporary tools to advance its reach. The world’s top 18- to 30-year-old pianists compete for gold in front of a live audience in Fort Worth, Texas, as well as a global online viewership that has now topped 40 million. Beyond cash prizes, winning a Cliburn medal means comprehensive career management, artistic support, and bolstered publicity efforts for the three years following.
The sixteenth edition of the Cliburn Competition took place June 2–18, 2022 in Fort Worth, Texas at the brand-new Van Cliburn Concert Hall at TCU (Preliminary and Quarterfinal Rounds) and Bass Performance Hall (Semifinal and Final Rounds). The Competition, postponed from 2021 (a first in the Cliburn’s 60-year history), saw a record-breaking number of applications—388 pianists from 51 countries.
The fully produced webcast included all 28 Competition live performances—as well as offered insightful commentary and behind-the-scenes access emulating a news- or sportscast—across multiple platforms. Viewers around the world watched the entire Competition live and on demand at Cliburn.org, cliburn.medici.tv, and youtube.com/thecliburn. New this year: the Cliburn was available in 4K HDR and surround sound on HYFI. Viewers can subscribe at hyfi.live/vancliburn to experience the next best thing to being in the concert hall.
ABOUT THE CLIBURN
The Cliburn advances classical piano music throughout the world. Its international competitions, education programs, and concert series embody an enduring commitment to artistic excellence and the discovery of new artists. Established in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1962, the quadrennial Van Cliburn International Piano Competition remains the most visible expression of that mission and is, as always, committed to its original ideals of supporting and launching the careers of emerging artists, age 18–30. It shares the transformative powers of music with a wide global audience, through fully produced webcasts and by providing comprehensive career management and concert bookings to its winners. Rounding out its mission, the Cliburn also produces the Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival (third edition, June 8–17, 2023) for exceptional 13- to 17-year-old pianists and the Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition for outstanding non-professional pianists age 35 and older.
Over a four-year cycle, the Cliburn contributes to North Texas’ cultural landscape with over 170 classical music performances for 150,000 attendees through competitions, free community concerts, and its signature Cliburn Concerts series. It presents 1,000 Cliburn in the Classroom in-school, interactive music education programs for more than 200,000 area elementary students. During the same time period, it garners the world’s attention with more than 40 million views from 177 nations for competition webcasts; 300 concerts worldwide booked for competition winners; more than 10,000 news articles about the Cliburn and its winners; and regular national radio broadcasts to 245 public radio stations.