B i o g r a p h y
South Korean violinist/improviser Katherine Kyu Hyeon Lim started performing at the age of 10 in Prague, Czech Republic, as part of partnership between Seoul Oratorio and Prague Conservatory. Her appearances that year took place at the Rudolfinum – the home of Czech Philharmonic Orchestra since 1946, the 18th Century Pálffy Palác where the six-year-old prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played, and the Antonín Dvořák Memorial at Vysoká u Příbrami – Dvořák’s holiday home, now the composer’s museum. The next year in her home country, Ms. Lim went far from the cultural offerings of the capital city, Seoul, and gave a year-long series of non-profit concerts at numerous under-served countryside schools, sharing her passion in music with children and students who did not have much opportunity to experience live music. Ms. Lim was invited for return engagements in Prague the following two years, performing in the same venues where she had been heard previously.
Following the three summers of study in the Prague Conservatory affiliated program, she was awarded a scholarship to study as a specialist musician at Wells Cathedral School, and at the age of 12, moved to the UK. This opportunity allowed her to pursue orchestra and chamber music playing for the first time, where Ms. Lim showed great talent in orchestral leadership. She was appointed as principal second violin in the string ensemble as soon as she entered the school, and at the age of 16, she toured the south of Germany with the school’s string chamber orchestra as a principal player. A year later, she led the school’s symphony and string chamber orchestra as the concertmaster. That same year, she performed in Milan, Italy, with her accomplished chamber music group, the One Man Quartet, after winning the Mid-Somerset Festival competition. This early and significant chamber music experience has deeply affected her path as a musician, as four years later, she found herself selected as one of 4 groups in The Juilliard School’s Honours Chamber Music programme in its inaugural year with the Nova Quartet. The quartet gave recitals and premiered new music in diverse venues, including Alice Tully Hall of Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall of the Kaufman Music Center, and Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum in Buffalo, NY. She actively seeks opportunities to perform chamber music, whether in Lincoln Center or a living room in a small apartment in New York City. Joining the social network of New York City house concerts, called Groupmuse, in 2015, she has been performing in numerous house concerts around the city. As an avid chamber musician, Ms. Lim has attended the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Young Artist Programme at Kneisel Hall Chamber Music School & Festival. She is currently a member of the Unison Quartet, based in New York City. Heavily dedicated to the 20th and 21st century repertoire, they have recently performed works by Bartók, Gubaidulina, and Schoenberg in unconventional venues across NYC. Her training has included a deep immersion into the traditions of the world’s great quartets through her studies with David Bowlin of the International Contemporary Ensemble, Earl Carlyss, Ron Copes, Joel Krosnick, Joseph Lin, Astrid Schween, Joel Smirnoff, and Roger Tapping of the Juilliard String Quartet, Dmitry Kouzov of the Manhattan Piano Trio, Fred Sherry of the Fred Sherry String Quartet, Laurie Smukler of the Mendelssohn String Quartet, Matthew Souter of the Alberni String Quartet, Michael Tree of the Guarneri Quartet, Ira Weller of the Mendelssohn String Quartet and later violist at the MET Orchestra, soprano/conductor Barbara Hannigan, pianist Roberto Plano, and violinist Axel Strauss.
As a soloist, Ms. Lim won the concerto competition at Wells Cathedral School at the age of 16, which led her to perform Bruch’s exquisite “Scottish Fantasy” with the school’s symphony orchestra under the baton of UK’s notable conductor Christopher Adey. Two years later, she was a laureate at the East Coast International Competition in New York. Her previous teachers include Young-Chul Choi, Pavel Kudelásek, Catherine Lord, Laurie Smukler, and Sally Thomas. She had also appeared in master classes with Lucy Chapman, James Ehnes, Rodney Friend, Joji Hattori, So Ock Kim, Svetlin Roussev, and Dennis Simons.
A passionate improviser, Ms. Lim is part of the improv duo, Impromptuo, and co-produces and performs multi-disciplinary free-form improvisation in the monthly New York City concert series of The Moving Orchestra. Each concert features 6 - 12 performers, with a combination of recurring and new artists. The programmes are developed utilising the improvisation skills and personalities of each performing group as well as the possibilities of each venue. Ms. Lim and her co-founder aim to provide a creative space for a large group of improvisers to perform together.
In addition to performing, Ms. Lim began her teaching career at the Meadowmount School of music in the summer of 2016 as a teaching assistant of Sally Thomas, where she taught private lessons to students aged 11 – 17. She continues to teach in New York City as a faculty at Opus 118 Harlem School of Music, where she teaches group classes and private lessons to students aged 5 – 15. She holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from The Juilliard School, where she studied with Sally Thomas and Laurie Smukler, and is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts, studying with Todd Phillips.