EMI Classics has announced the latest addition to its roster. Pianist HJ Lim has signed an exclusive recording contract with the label, to begin with a complete cycle of the Beethoven piano sonatas, due for release next year.
Born in South Korea, Lim emigrated to France aged 12, where she became the youngest person ever to be granted the Diplome d’Etudes Musicales Complete (Normandy), before graduating with First Prize from the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris.
Aged 24, with various French competitions under her belt, it seems that Lim’s very distance from home was the paradoxical recipe towards her international interest. To keep her family in South Korea updated on her musical progress, Lim uploaded videos of her performances onto YouTube – among the first classical artists to do so. Through a few simple clicks of her mouse, Lim created videos that generated unprecedented interest, gaining nearly half a million views.
'It’s a chance for every artist to share your art, your expression, your music – whatever you want – with everyone in the world,' says Lim. 'The way of communication is democratised. That’s the most important thing there is.'
While Lim’s contract with EMI Classics was only recently signed, enabling her to enter what she calls ‘classical music paradise’, her plans to survey the Beethoven piano sonatas have been brewing for some time. In a YouTube video, she describes Beethoven as the first composer she encountered, his sonatas being ‘like friends since my childhood.’
The sonatas will be released throughout the year as four two-CD sets, culminating with a complete box-set and bonus DVD in October 2012. The Sonatas will be grouped into eight themes curated by Lim, titles including ‘The Eternal Feminine’, ‘Extremes in Collision’ and ‘Destiny’. ‘A theoretical analysis of Beethoven's sonatas has been done many times,' she says. ‘My own emphasises rather the emotional, human, spiritual and psychological.’
In signing to EMI she follows in the footsteps of EMI pianists Leif Ove Andsnes (who left to join Sony Classical earlier this year) and more recently Yundi.