In a bid to promote classical music, the Padma Resort Legian serenaded Bali’s music lovers with the return of two world-class virtuosos in a show entitled Bali Encore on Sunday, February 3, 2018.
WNB was mesmerized by the duo’s performance and lucky enough to be given the opportunity to speak with Hee Young Lim on cello, and Yohanes Siem on piano.
Hee Young Lim – Cello
Already a musical prodigy at the age of 11, 30 years old South Korean cellist Hee Young Lim’s international career is already brimming with honours and accolades. A graduate of the Korean National University of Arts, the New England Conservatory, the Paris National Conservatory and the Franz Liszt School of Music.
she is known for creating a captivating “singing tone” from her instrument and a near-flawless technique.
Appointed as the principal solo cellist for the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Kim is the first female Asian cellist to hold such a position in a major European orchestra. Kim has also conducted master classes in South Korea, Beijing, Paris and Jakarta.
Yohanes Siem – Piano
The 35-year-old Indonesian pianist, Yohanes Siem, did not leave his Engineering major in Bandung Institution of Technology for nothing. Siem has attained worldwide recognition following performances in China, Thailand, The Netherlands, and Germany. Siem has won a number of competitions and scholarships from leading international schools of music.
Born in Bandung, West Java, Yohanes is a graduate of the The Prince Claus Conservatoire in Groningen, The Netherlands. In 2009, he bagged the Yamaha Scholarship Award in Asia.
Yohanes teaches and performs in the region and has served on the jury of international piano competitions.
What or who has been the biggest influence on you as an artist?
Hee Young Lim (HL):
Cellist Pablo Casals, a cellist, composer, and conductor from Catalonia, Spain. Pablo Casals was known as the man who arguably put the cello on the musical map in the 20th century.
Yohanes Siem (YS):
It would be my teachers, Paul Kolman and his wife Nata Tsvrereli. Their work really inspired me to get this far.
How about family?
My mum tried to attend every performance, although she’s not musically inclined. She never knew about music so she let me find my own way – I was self-motivated. That stood me in good stead as my career opened up, when I went to study in the US, France and Germany.
They support me. My decision to leave my engineering major at one of Indonesia’s “Ivy League” universities was not easy for me, or my family at first, but seeing how happy I am today, I believe that they are on board.
Who would your dream collaboration be with?
HL: Radu Lupu, Romanian pianist.
YS: A conductor. Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Do you prefer stage or studio, and why?
HL: Stage. I need the energy from the audience. It is like oxygen for me.
YS: No doubt, it is the stage. Once I walk my way onto the stage, and put my fingers on the keys, I let go of everything. It is just me, the piano, and the notes.
If you hadn’t chosen music, what would you be doing right now?
HL: Honestly… I can’t think of another world, or another profession.
YS: An architect.
What’s the hardest part about being a musician and what’s the best?
Lim: Buying a second seat for my cello! Well, organisers paid for it but it means I cannot fly on Business Class all the time like most musicians.
YS: Traveling. I love being in other parts of the world but the process of travelling is a hassle for me.
What’s your view of Asia’s classical music scene? Is it in crisis?
HL: Maybe it is not in crisis yet, but it’s not getting enough attention yet as it is rooted in the Western culture. One of my biggest missions is to do charity work for children so that someday, classical music becomes better known in my country, or in Asia.
YS: The exposure is not there yet, and people still see it as something so unreachable. If schools and governments play a role, I am hopeful this will change for the better someday. I teach, so, it is my job too.
True or false? It is the duty of an artist to put their personal emotions into the music they play.
HL: True. Playing the cello feels like meditation – it becomes a sort of mirror and helps you see within yourself. And since I have no siblings I used to spend a lot of time alone reading books. My parents felt this was all good because it was almost as though I had a constant companion in the cello!
YS: I agree. If you are not emotionally involved in the piece, the audience can hear that.
Musician or album you suggest amateur to listen?
Maybe start listening to Bach.
Agree. Try his Goldberg Variations.
How would you describe your favourite instrument?
The cello for me has a human voice. He’s just another “me”. He is a reflection of me.
Obviously I cannot take my piano to travel with me, so I will have to work with any piano that is provided by a concert organiser. But in general, the piano has been a part of me so I will always find my way to connect with it.