A Korean Greeting from Way Back

A couple of days ago I received a politely penned email from a Korean.

My name is Jinho Kim, A Korean concert pianist who gave performances of Tchaikovsky piano concerto with SSO in 2001…

What a pleasant surprise! It turned out to be a pianist I watched and reviewed all the way back at the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, on 21st April 2001, more than 9 years ago. The review is still at the Inkpot.

Mr Kim thanked me for the “kind and encouraging review” and

You cannot imagine how much inspiration it gave me to continue on as a still struggling artist to this day.

He forwarded to me some links to a live concert of the Rachmaninov 3 the next day. Here is one:

“Good to the last note”, says one commenter at Youtube.

Nine years ago, I wrote of Mr Kim’s playing:

Simply put, soloist, conductor and orchestra (but especially the soloist) gave an honest and warm interpretation, with absolutely no hype or unnecessary fireworks or heartburn. It was just the right amount of Romantic fervour, tempered with a level of aesthetic taste for the music’s wonderful structures, curves and feelings – which is very rarely seen for this quintessentially arch-Romantic work. The first movement was full of majesty and grace, but not overblown theatrics. Even the rubato seemed levelled and full of artistic balance.

Kim gave a heartwarming and sweet delivery of the Andantino, again with much poise in the graceful quick dance passage. His touch is breathtakingly beautiful, light, yet precise in total control. The finale was speedy and assured, gathering energetic pulse to the wonderfully optimistic conclusion. After the performance, Kim obliged the continuing curtain calls with an equally expert and poised rendition of Chopin’s Waltz, op.42.

Unfortunately, if you search the net, you will mostly find other Kim Jinhos ranging from actors to archers. But I did find one 2004 photo of Mr Kim the Pianist:

Photo from www.ssahn.com

(I haven’t quite figured out what’s happening at this website but everyone’s covering one eye.)

I’ve written back to Mr Kim, who also kindly offered to send me a couple of CDs of his “live” performances. Waiting for his response. In any case, it’s always nice to hear from musicians whom I’ve reviewed. It’s always a humbling experience, even when we have only good things to say. For to review is easy, to be a great musician is quite another thing.

Sibelius has a famous quotation regarding his opinion of critics:

“Pay no attention to what critics say. No statue has ever been put up to a critic.”

Of course he himself was the harshest critic to himself.

Good luck to all your musical endeavours, Mr Kim! I hope the humble words of this little “critic” here can continue to help you!

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Leon is Singapore's resident champion of Jean Sibelius.

4 thoughts on “A Korean Greeting from Way Back”

  1. Leon, it has been a long while. Reading your article about me has brought back good memories. I am currently an artist in residence at the Lasalle College of the Arts. If you are in Singapore on April 26, 2013, please come to my recital at the Esplanade Recital Studio. The recital will start at 8 pm. I will be playing an all Chopin program. Hope to see you then.
    Sincerely yours, Jinho

  2. Hello Jinho, it’s so good to hear from you! Apologies for the delay in replying.

    Such a small world! We are honoured to have you here in Singapore. I hope you are enjoying your stay here! I shall try to attend your recital, but in case I cannot make it, all the best! :)

  3. Dear Kimchi,
    It’s so good to listen you playing again!!!
    Do you remember when you where in Balmes Barcelona?
    Looking forward hearing from you
    A big hug

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