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Dasol Kim Makes New York Premiere on Stage at Merkin Concert Hall

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Showing true artistry and incredible range, Dasol performed in the 56th Young Concert Artists Series at Merkin Concert Hall in The Peter Jay Sharp Concert.

Jim Luce

New York, N.Y. I have been writing about the Young Concert Artists (YCA) since my profile of its inspired and legendary founder Susan Wadsworth in 2010 (Wikipedia). Although I have written about the gifted performers of YCA for almost a decade, covering the debut New York performances of such talent as Hahn-Bin, Caroline Goulding, Raphaël Sévère, Aleksandr Haskin, Jeanine de Bique, and Yun-Chin Zhou, nothing prepared me for the premier of pianist Dasol Kim last week.

The delightful program was beautifully selected — and demonstrated the pianist’s impressive technique and nuanced sensitivity. The sold-out concert was particularly thoughtful and performed in memory of Norman Peck.

Dasol’s intense style was particularly appropriate for the sounds of New York-based composer Samuel Barber. He also played brilliantly Beethoven’s Piano Sonata 8 in C minor, Op. 13, Pathétique, as well as an astounding 24 preludes by Frédéric Chopin. His performance brought an extremely enthusiastic audience to a standing ovation.

Dasol showed virtuosic command of the entire keyboard throughout the concert. His deft handling of the Barber, however, was met with a most raucous ovation by the entire hall — even by would-be skeptics of more contemporary pieces. I overheard one gentleman seated behind me who noted to his companion: “When he first started the piece, I was thinking ‘I might hate this… But I really loved it! That was spectacular!'”

It was impressive to hear all 24 Chopin Preludes in a single performance. These masterful pieces are each beautiful and complex. For an artist to be able to convey the full range of emotional depth of each while performing all 24 preludes in succession — almost 40 minutes of skillful, varying technique — was truly a rare experience.

Dasol graduated from the Hannover Music School in Germany and today lives in Berlin. He will make his Washington D.C. debut next year, sponsored by the Korean Concert Society Prize. Chatting with him at the after-party, I was struck by how incredibly humble this outstanding young pianist is.

I remember so clearly writing about the leadership and legacy of Susan Wadsworth, founder of Young Concert Artists (YCA) at the time of YCA’s fiftieth anniversary. This year marks the institutions 56th year.

I enjoy following notes in the program. I chuckled when I read the lines nine year-old Samuel Barber penned to his mother, stating “I have written to tell you of a worrying secret. Now don’t cry when you read it because it is neither your fault or mine. I suppose I will have to tell it now without any nonsense. To begin with, I was not meant to be an athlete. I was meant to be a composer and will be, I’m sure.” I wonder how many of the YCA artists I have covered felt similarly?

As the head of a foundation supporting young global leadership in the arts and education, I firmly believe that Young Concert Artists is critically important to the future of music here and abroad. YCA founder Susan Wadsworth never ceases to amaze me with her tireless efforts to support young talent. Since 1961, Susan has been identifying and mentoring among the best musical minds in the world, each one a thought leaders and global citizen in their own right. May she never retire!

About Young Concert Artists (YCA)

Young Concert Artists (YCA) is a New York City-based non-profit organization dedicated to discovering and promoting the careers of talented young classical musicians from around the world.

Founded in 1961, YCA holds an annual competition called the Susan Wadsworth International Auditions, where artists compete as individuals or in chamber groups.

Winners of the YCA competition, known as YCA Jacobs Fellows, receive a cash prize and the opportunity to perform at prestigious venues like Carnegie Hall in New York City and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

They are also provided with an artistic manager who promotes the artist through booking concert engagements, providing publicity materials, and offering career development.

The 2023 YCA Jacobs Fellows, selected from over 150 applicants, are cellist James Baik, violinist Oliver Neubauer, cellist Benett Tsai, percussionist Michael Yeung, and guitar duo Ziggy & Miles1. These artists participated in a rigorous audition process and were assessed by an esteemed jury for their technical mastery, stage presence, and performance potential.

YCA’s mission is to discover and promote the careers of exceptional young classical musicians, providing them with performance opportunities, career management, and professional development.

The organization has a long history of discovering and furthering the careers of extraordinary young artists, with notable past winners including violinists Pinchas Zukerman and Ray Chen, pianists Murray Perahia and Emanuel Ax, and cellists Alban Gerhardt and Narek Hakhnazaryan.

Dasol Kim Makes New York Premiere on Stage at Merkin Concert Hall (Originally published in The Huffington Post, April 5, 2017). With Grace Hsieh.

See also by Jim Luce:

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