Despite her burgeoning fame overseas, pianist Lim Hyun-jung is set to hold her first sole recital in Korea this week.
"When I'm in Korea, I get more emotional for some reason, even when playing the same piece [as I would overseas]," she said at a press event in Munho Art Hall in Seoul on Monday.
Lim became famous when a video clip showing her perform Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee," which she played as an encore after a recital in Belgium in 2009, attracted more than 250,000 hits on YouTube. The speed at which she played also earned her the nickname of "World's Fastest Piano Player."
In 2011, Lim made an auspicious debut with EMI when she released her rendition of all 32 of Beethoven's piano sonatas in a set of eight CDs. Such an ambitious project was unprecedented for a young pianist at the start of her career. The box set swept Billboard's classical chart and the iTunes chart.
Lim, who holds the top spot in online sales, said she appreciates how the Internet has made classical music more accessible.
"If you consider opera CDs to be overly expensive, or find going to the library to listen to music you can't afford too bothersome, the Internet serves as a very 'democratic' tool as it allows everyone to share things so easily," she said. "The essence of music is the message it contains. It doesn't matter what tool you use to disseminate your message."
Lim is set to perform in Seoul on Wednesday and in Guri, Gyeonggi Province on Saturday. Born in Anyang, Gyeonggi Province, Lim left for Paris when she was a middle school student and graduated from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris.