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. The depth of his artistry and connection to listeners also secured him the Audience Award and Best Performance of a New Work (for Sir Stephen Hough’s Fanfare Toccata).
Just 18 years old, Yunchan’s ascent to international stardom has been meteoric. 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 #25, 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.
Yunchan has performed across his native 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. His 2022–23 inaugural tour as Cliburn winner takes him across four continents, with highlights including the Aspen Music Festival, La Jolla Music Society and Performing Arts Houston in the United States; Seoul Arts Center, National Concert Hall in Taipei, and the KBS and Korean National Symphony Orchestras in Asia; and recital tours in Europe and South America.
Widely considered one of the preeminent international music contests, the quadrennial 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. 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 of over 10 million.
In its 60-year history, the Cliburn has identified and ushered a host of exceptional artists to international prominence, including Olga Kern, Vadym Kholodenko, Radu Lupu, Jon Nakamatsu, Beatrice Rana, Yekwon Sunwoo, Joyce Yang and Haochen Zhang. They have garnered Grammy nominations, Diapason d’Or de l’Année Awards, Gramaphone Awards and Avery Fisher Career Grants as well as recognition from BBC music and radio, the Borletti-Buitoni Trust, International Piano Magazine and the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund.