home    bio    press    photo gallery    listen & watch    repertoire    links etc    contact 
 
PRESS HIGHLIGHTS:

“Not only in jazz but also in classical music are there pianists that know how to play with swing and have a “certain something” that can’t easily be put into words. One just has to hear them for themselves. The Canadian pianist, Jennifer Lim, was educated at The Juilliard School and at The Curtis Institute of Music. She shows on her first CD, an all Chopin program, that she has this “certain something”. Not only is there brilliant technique, sparkling run, and fully adequate powerful cascades of sound. Jennifer Lim has more to offer than just “pianistic mastery”: ingenious phrasing, for instance, that is always aiming ahead of the present musical statement. She always plays long phrases and has the next phrase and the big picture in her mind. This is noticeable, even in the smallest of details, in her rubati, her emphases, and accents. By doing these things, she makes the following piano pieces by Chopin swing and sing: the Andante Spianato, the B flat minor Scherzo, the G minor Ballade, and the B minor Sonata, Op. 58. Jennifer Lim fulfills the demands of the composer, which he, himself, imposed well. Chopin once said, “The left hand is the Kapellmeister, and plays rhythmically strict… The right hand plays rhythmically relaxed and has to extract the true musical expression from the rhythmical knots like a recite who speaks passionately.

For Jennifer Lim, swinging Chopin is not a ploy but a natural expression of her artistic personality. When she dives into Chopin’s cosmos of sound, as in the case of her CD, she is in her element. She seems to know all the corners, angles, and obstacles of this music and actually shows this off. She plays the most difficult passages with superiority. This is a magical sound. Magic, though, without a circus effect. Jennifer Lim takes her Chopin seriously. She also draws the emotional curves in an impressive and honest way. A fantastic recording of a young pianist that one will hopefully hear a lot more from.”

Bayerischer Rundfunk

“… the pianist Jennifer Lim gives lightness and musicality, and a great sense of line (in Dvorak’s Piano Quintet
No.2).”

Badische Zeitung, October 2012

Passionate Chopin: 5 out of 5 stars

“Jennifer Lim plays Chopin’s Sonata No. 2 with consistently superior technique. Her impassioned performance sends shivers straight up and down your spine and provides contrasts between tranquility and inner fury, and sustains contrasts between inhalation and exhalation. Jennifer Lim deconstructs the emotions only to suddenly reconfigure it forward. Chopin most impassioned! The Funebre is marked by unexpected progression and deep emotional charge. In contrast, her Rachmaninoff Tableaux is not only varied with nuanced subtleties, but also delivers the opulent feeling in its fullness. They are filled with flamboyant dreams, and tender resonance is marked with dramatic deconstruction. Jennifer Lim has achieved a performance that we could not anticipate. This is Etudes-Tableaux that sums up the eloquent pianism that is truly in the spirit of Rachmaninoff.”

Bayerischer Rundfunk

“… the pianist Jennifer Lim gives lightness and musicality, and a great sense of line (in Dvorak’s Piano Quintet No.2).”

Pizzicato, Luxembourg, April 2008

“In Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody… the brilliant solo work of guest pianist (with the New Haven Symphony) Jennifer Lim, a young Korean-Canadian with a global track record…”

New Haven Register, February 2009

“Today Jennifer Lim, former child prodigy and now attractive young woman (see the picture on the Real Sound CD cover), has taken on the challenge of two titanic works by J. S. Bach. As it concerns the Goldbergs, they are pleasantly interesting, more than we expected. Just because this gigantic work, written between 1741-42 in Leipzig and divided into 32 luminous satellites which are built on a cosmic balance between music and mathematics, is nothing for young strenuous artists. Thus, this milestone of organizing superior intelligence, remarkably caustic (in the words of Glenn Gould), is artistically fully convincing in Lim’s interpretation. The survey from her young 10 fingers on Bach’s musical architecture arrives to the listener as a product of transparent formal analysis, rare to be found elsewhere. The plentiful triads building the Variations are rendered with clarity, with precise and linear dialectics, with superb expanding progression, with a strictly agogic syntax with no compromise to sighs and sobs which could be self-indulgently divulged. A catchy and stunning revelation, thinking of Jennifer Lim’s young age… it results in a great intellectual honesty, a great mind on the piano.”

Musica, Italy

“A genius at the keyboard… her wizardry left the audience spellbound.”

Korea Times

“… distinguished by enormous energy and sharpness of contrast – music-making at the outer extremes… dramatic, passionate… Chords thunder forth, chromatic runs dash through every register; quiet passages only mean the calm before the storm. This unremitting tension, along with the optical theatrics of this young pianist, has the power to keep us riveted up to the last note. All in all a very idiosyncratic artist.”

Wiesbadener Taglatt

“… luminous playing, immaculate in its beauty. Everything she did had an elegantly, evenly and smoothly polished effect.”

Giessener Anzeiger

Heavenly

“The market is competitive. However, this new star in the sky of pianists is going to stake her claim. On her sensational debut CD, “Chopin”, Jennifer Lim proves herself as a risk-taking Chopin interpreter. She creates multi-layered and colorful phrases, has stupendous finger technique in break-neck passages, and, in the slow movement, deeply penetrating substance. In some places, such as the Second Scherzo and the First Ballade of the Polish composer, one can experience her playing almost provocatively.”

Financial Times, Germany

“… impressive in the lyrical aspects of the piece (Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1), she has a fine touch and a sense of line and is clearly promising.”

Vancouver Sun

“… sweet, soulful and poignant… showcased her virtuosity and skillful mastery of the keys.”

Pique Magazine

“… immediately showed her effortless command at the piano (in Saint-Saens’ Piano Concerto No. 5). She elicited amazing colors and contrasts both musically and expressively, with fast passages virtually rolling out of her fingers. Pianist and orchestra matched precisely in intensity. Lim was fascinating to watch as her entire body moved with the music in an intricate and intense dance between pianist and piano. The composition ended with Lim receiving a well-deserved standing ovation.”

The Lima News, September 2008

The Chopin World of Jennifer Lim

“… a Chopin fireworks display, no a Chopin volcano… The responsible party was young Jennifer Lim – this Korean-Canadian 2000 graduate of the Juilliard School stepped in for Cecile Licad at short notice – who had the Mazarkas Op. 7 and Op. 17 at her fingertips as well as the Ballades No. 1 to 4 and the b-flat-minor Sonata, Op. 35. She created highly exciting attention from her very first appearance on the platform, and this excitement dominated her playing also. With a blaze, the first notes of the g-minor Ballades threw open a portal, a portal leading into the very distinctive Chopin world of Jennifer Lim. With great abruptness the motion slows down, comes to a standstill, but only to resume the journey once more, gradually building up to a movement now virtually unleashed. The tremendous power of Jennifer Lim’s playing fascinated her listeners and even more so the way in which glissandi coursed beneath her hands at the very limit of tempo feasibility. Above every other element, however, there stands a strong drive to give the material shape. The familiar themes of the A-flat-major Ballade or the dreamy Andante Con Moto of the f-minor Ballade – everything sounded new, like an improvisation that first came into being at that moment, as devised by Jennifer Lim. What remains after this absolutely intoxicating Chopin evening? The experience of having heard this romantic composer in an entirely different form and a more-than-worthy way of closing a cycle of this kind.”

Wiesbadener Kurier

“As a Bach pianist Jennifer Lim seems to be able to bend, clarify, and control polyphony to her will at any given tempo, and for the most part her Goldberg Variations tempos are breathlessly fast. Indeed, the whirlwind pace she sets for the difficult cross-handed variations leaves Glenn Gould’s rapid-transit 1955 debut recording at the starting gate. She even gives speed demons like Alexis Weissenberg and Andrei Gavrilov a run for their money, investing the music’s most virtuosic challenges with awesome lightness and specificity.”

ClassicsToday

“… Jennifer Lim is worthy of merit… has studied her Chopin well and offers a unique reading of piano works by the Polish piano maniac. Her reading is distinguished by an impetus, natural attack, and very precise articulation, even in the most delicate passages. In pieces like the Presto-Finale of the B minor Sonata, the Grand Polonaise, Op. 22 and the G minor Ballade (Stretta!!), she causes a pianistic sensation, making one lose one’s breath… a very active and vital one (interpretation)… this is more than enough.”

Piano News

“Jennifer Lim on piano held everything together (in Schubert’s Trout Quintet), despite near-disaster with an under-rehearsed page-turner, playing with delicacy and an airy – or rather perhaps watery – lightness of touch. All the players listened to each other and appeared to take delight in the music, something which over and above good professional playing always adds to the listener’s pleasure.”

Review Vancouver

Exceptional Chopin – Expedition Supersonic – F. Chopin

“This CD is a gift for any music reviewer! While a young interpreter stands out as this one does from the worldwide onslaught of banality and the army of timid souls and thrills the listeners beyond measure, then we have more than merely an occasion to rejoice. While most Chopin interpreters focus on only one or two aspects of the composer’s artistic personality (and even exaggerate them only too often), Jennifer Lim’s playing encompasses simply everything required for Chopin: the charms and elegance of the world-wise salon lion, the dazzling, virtuosity of his music, sweetness and tenderness (which must never be allowed to grow syrupy, however), the melancholy, the inward revolt apprehended as loud and raging, the somber desolation – in brief, the Slavic-Romantic element that was Chopin’s manner of living. At every point, Jennifer Lim’s playing is so sovereign in its handling of technical problems, is so clear and transparent, that one could almost believe technique alone to be the criterion of statement. But here we have in addition spontaneity, a living quality that lends the music an almost improvisatory character and raises it above the mere congruence of the intellectual and the technical. If you venture on this expedition into Chopin, you risk coming back changed!”

Pizzicato, Classic highlights, Luxembourg, July 2001

“Alban Berg’s one movement Piano Sonata, in impressive “Opus One” indeed, was treated with unusual expansive, ruminative lyricism and intensity. The performance built to an effective, brooding climax, and there was a plenitude of appealing nuance and contrast. Ms. Lim truly recreated a suitably ravishing cantabile for the opening Andante Spianato of Chopin’s Op. 22, and delivered a “no-holds-barred”, forward-impelled account of the subsequent Grand Polonaise. .. to conclude on an even more positive note, the concluding Chopin Sonata No. 3 in b minor, Op. 58 was handsomely recreated in a tempestuous interpretation. Ms. Lim’s precipitation nonetheless replicated a de rigueur gravitas and many of the horizontal contrapuntal lines emerged clearly and persuasively. The molto vivace scherzo was suitably fleet, and the wonderful Largo slow movement came forth with concentration and certitude of pulse. I also liked the pianist’s thrusting response to the Finale: Presto, non tanto. Ms. Lim stormed the citadels and never for a moment lost forward-plunging momentum; her virtuosity was impressive.”

New York Concert Review

Dazzling Debut (5 Stars)

“It’s not the program that’s the sensation. More Chopin, after all, with Sonata and Polonaise. It’s the interpretation, of course, that makes this an event: Jennifer Lim’s debut on CD is one of the great surprises of recent times. The young Canadian, who emerged a prize-winner at the Clara Schumann Competition in Dusseldorf, manifestly stands very close to the world of Chopin’s sound. She commands the necessary technical equipment to demonstrate more than sovereign mastery of the chords and the dizzyingly rapid passages of the b-flat-minor Scherzo, while at the same time bringing to bear exemplary clarity within compact gestures. Through skillful tempo relations she develops enough space in the g-minor Ballade to let the music speak. And she develops the first movement of the Third Sonata across a large arch, unfolding – and not just there – a highly accentuated counterpoint with the left hand. One can tell that this highly talented pianist studied with the Chopin expert Bella Davidovich; like her teacher she doesn’t rush the tempi, mediates deftly between virtuosity and intensity of statement, and extracts the cantabile quality of the melodies with suppleness. That she holds reserves of strength at her disposal is proven by the outstanding Polonaise, before which she places the Andante Spianato as a kind of dream-like meditation. Unless everything is pointing the wrong way, a great future awaits Jennifer Lim. Not very many young pianists fill Chopin’s music with life in so personal, in so inspired a way.”

Fono Forum

“Jennifer Lim’s entrance alone was a cause for pause, as she wore a beautiful, red, floor-length sequined gown. The long orchestral introduction to the Chopin concerto (No. 1) allowed the audience to watch her prepare herself for the starburst of energy demanded in the piano part, delicately stretching her back and long fingers. The most remarkable quality of her playing, for me, was the absolute clarity of her soft notes. She appeared to accent some notes in an unusual interpretation in the jolly “krakowiak” dance of the finale, as the concerto moves out of the minor key into E major. However, the accents simply enhance full appreciation. It must be intimidating for a fine performer to choose a career as a concert pianist. The decision was easy for Jennifer Lim, who has already taken her place with the keyboard greats.”

Leader Post, February 2005

“Lim, who appeared with the Regina Symphony Orchestra last season, has bookings that read like an international airline schedule. Still, she manages to keep fresh, confident and vibrant, qualities that showed in her Grieg (Piano Concerto in a-minor) performance.”

Leader Post, November 2005
 
Chopin Cycle with a Rousing Finale

“The Chopin cycle at the Burghof Eltville, which has extended over seven years, came to an end with a brilliant recital by the young pianist Jennifer Lim. This Korean-Canadian musician stepped in for Cecile Licad, and took over with no changes to the program already scheduled… She played with maximum flency and precision… treated the enthralled audience to lyrical passages executed with great serenity and a velvet-like, delicately shaded touch. In the long run, her impetuous manner of playing displayed the great technical ability of an eminent pianistic talent… they (Mazurkas Op. 7 and Op. 17) were also conveyed with persuasive clarity and conciseness. The Piano Sonata No. 2 in b-flat-minor, in this young artist’s individualistic and energetic reading, made for a worthy conclusion and, at the same time, for the high point of the Chopin series. At the end of the concert this artist presented a musical miracle as an encore. In her repetition of the Mazurka in a minor, Op. 17, No. 4, every element was present that constitutes perfect Chopin performance. The profound sadness of the piece unfolded with restraint through the soft, meditative playing, which only gained in concentrated excitement, charged with atmosphere, by the perfect execution of the rubato.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“The best came last, when Canadian pianist Jennifer Lim soloed in the Keyboard Concerto No. 1 in D minor of Bach. She attacked the first movement with a passion and energy that captivated the audience from the first bars. The tiny performer was almost lifted off the bench by the muscle she put into the left-hand chords. Some purists object to a piano playing a part that Bach conceived for harpsichord. But nothing was lost Sunday afternoon as Lim vehemently sounded the inner voices like falling icicles.”

The Roanoke Times

“The delicate Korean makes the piano shake in her fortissimos and with lots of energy, which is followed by the softest audible dynamic details.”
 
Rheinische Post

“… Jennifer Lim creates astonishment… understands how to combine sensitive nuancing with powerful attack in an exciting way… she demonstrates fleet virtuosity and airy ease of articulation that seems to know no difficulty… poised between striding pathos and dream-like figuration, she develops with subtle shadings of color; and, through her decisiveness of touch, shapes the finale as the apotheosis and crowning end. Effortless, constantly sovereign virtuosity and a wealth of differentiation in effects are fully realized with great insistence…”

Coburger Tageblatt

“Canadian pianist Jennifer Lim and California-born violinist Nokuthula Ngwenyama have done a great job in dusting off these pieces (Rubinstein Sonata for viola and piano & violin and piano) and presenting them with passion and conviction.”

Buffalo News

“Getting straight to the point, Far Eastern precision and American nonchalance make, in this magic of the black and white keyboard, a truly explosive combination. The first time I heard Jennifer Lim was at the 2000 Clara Schumann Competition in Dusseldorf… She stood out with her refreshing presence and her spirited individuality – qualities that some conservative jury members don’t always like. Now, the 25-year-old Korean, of Canadian citizenship, who lives in New York City, has released her first CD… Considering the competition, her CD contains a very courageous program of Chopin’s works. She performs these overplayed pieces, such as the B minor Sonata and the irrepressible Grand Polonaise, Op. 22, tersely and like a daredevil, attacking with a lot of bite. This shows a high degree of mental power and that she is ready to take any risk. It is a vehement rejection of all pathos, against any palliation of the strong structure, and a reprimand of the ever-rebellious character of Chopin’s music. Lim’s clear thought, her precise timing, incorruptible feeling of form, and her crystal-clear diction, are approaching that of America’s Chopin legend, William Kapell. Even Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli didn’t play the Stretta at the end of Op. 22 as compelling and dramatic as the merciless Korean. This is a real ‘Chopin bang” and, mind you, not for the faint-of-heart.”

Steroplay, Germany

 
Website by Danroth Design