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Hee-Young Lim: French Cello Concertos Review

by February 6, 2019

Hee-Young-Lim-CUR-cdHee-Young Lim is a gifted cellist that was born in Seoul. Lim was accepted to the Pre-College division of the Korean National University of Arts and Yewon Arts School, winning prizes for Excellence in Music and the Most Distinguished Alumni Award. She entered the Korean National University at age 15, as the youngest student ever to be accepted. She moved to the United States to further her education at the New England Conservatory. Upon graduation at NEC, she went on to study at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, studying with Philippe Muller, where she graduated with Highest Distinction (‘mention très bien à l’unanimité’).  Lim is also a graduate of Hochschule für Musik ‘Franz Liszt’ Weimar, where she earned her Konzertexamen degree “mit auszeichnung” (summa cum laude). Lim was appointed as the Principal Solo Cellist of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra under Yannick Nézet-Séguin. She was one of the first female Asian cellists ever to lead a section in a major European orchestra. In 2018, she was invited to join the teaching faculty of the Beijing Central Conservatory, the first Korean professor ever appointed to this prestigious conservatory. She plays on a 1714 Joseph Filius Andrea Guarneri Cello graciously given to her by a private donor and a Dominique Peccatte bow.

In-demand as a soloist, she has in recent years performed with distinguished ensembles including the Deutsche Berlin Chamber Orchestra, the Budapest Radio Philharmonic, the Warsaw National Philharmonic, the Jenaer Philharmonie, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the KBS Symphony Orchestra, the Seoul Symphony Orchestra, the Baden-Baden Philharmonie, the Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen, the Bandung Philharmonic, the Korean Chamber Orchestra, the Incheon Symphony Orchestra, the Ningbo Symphony, Zagreb Soloists and many others. Teaching has been a very significant aspect of Hee-Young’s career. She has hold master classes at Seoul’s Ewha University, Rotterdam Conservatory, Paris Reuil-Malmaison Conservatoire, and Jakarta University, among others.

About the Album

Lim makes her splendid recording debut with this exploration of French masterpieces on the Sony Classical label with an album titled, French Cello Concertos. She brings her deeply gifted musicianship to three great cello concertos: the melodicism of Saint-Saëns, the dramatic, Spanish-infused rhythms of Lalo, and the modern harmonic inflections of Milhaud. As if that was not enough, Lim includes two stunning encores:  Offenbach’s “The Tears of Jacqueline” and Massenet’s “Meditation” from Thaïs. Lim’s singing tone on the cello is brought out by her flawless technique and passionate articulations.

Our Favorite Track

Our favorite track is Saint-Saëns justifiably popular central movement, “Concerto for Cello and Orchestra No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 33: II.Hee-Young-Lim Allegretto con moto.” Lim is full of character and feeling, her tone fits the charm of the music perfectly, with a balanced and warm sound that sings of romanticism. In the phrases that are demanding of technical proficiency, she exhibits an authority of technical command that makes the passages sing effortlessly. The delicacies of the wistful lyrical phrases find Lim showing a maturity and deeper understanding than usually heard. Lim’s playing is powerful and imaginative as she brings the qualities of the rich romanticism of the piece to life in vivid colors.

In Conclusion

Lim marks an outstanding debut with French Cello Concertos. The repertoire is perfectly matched to her playing style and strengths, this also gives the aficionados a good listen to this wonderful artist. The choice to include Milhaud was very smart in that all cellist will instantly relate to her keen interpretations and technical abilities. Through all eleven tracks Lim is spellbinding, the range of her lightest playing to the deeper aggressive phrases is impressive. Her ability to be reflective in her playing is also very moving. Also, the two final encores should not be viewed as filler as Lim’s playing is impeccable on both selections.  Highly Recommended!



Hee-Young Lim


French Cello Concertos


Concerto for Cello and Orchestra No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 33: I. Allegro non troppo
Concerto for Cello and Orchestra No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 33: II. Allegretto con moto
Concerto for Cello and Orchestra No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 33: III. Tempo I - Un peu moins vite - Molto allegro
Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in D Minor, Op. 37 - Prelude: Lento - Allegro maestoso
Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in D Minor, Op. 37 - Intermezzo: Andantino con moto - Allegro presto
Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in D Minor, Op. 37 - Introduction: Andante - Allegro vivo
Cello Concerto No. 1, Op. 136 - Nonchalant
Cello Concerto No. 1, Op. 136 - Grave
Cello Concerto No. 1, Op. 136 - Joyeux
Les larmes de Jacqueline
Meditation From Thais


SME Korea Inc.

Release Date

Release Date: December 14, 2018

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