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C. Bechstein Artist Julian Jaeyoung Kim and his love of Brahms.

For the June edition of our ongoing recital series, we invite Julian Kim to share his story and his immaculate study of Brahms' piano music here at the C. Bechstein Centre Manchester.

Whilst you can read all about his unique interpretation here, to truly experience it, join us and Julian for a wonderful celebration of Brahms on Thursday 6th June 2024.

Julian Kim profile 1

“...His interpretation, resonates with the finesse of Nelson Freire’s recordings, handling of cross-rhythmic tensions and his commitment…highlight his technical skill and artistic depth.” -Gramophone

"Julian Jaeyoung Kim masterfully interprets Brahms with lyrical expression and virtuosic flair in his debut, promising a bright future in classical music." - Interlude Magazine

"...His Brahms’ Variations on a Theme by Paganini, blends acrobatic virtuosity with expressive depth, showcasing a remarkable spectrum of pianistic colors.” - Klassik Heute


Julian Jaeyoung Kim, a South Korea-born pianist, is hailed as a marvellous virtuoso whose performances embody a deep sense of commitment and a relentless curiosity to uncover the true essence of the music. These qualities have earned him critical acclaim and recognition in prestigious international piano competitions and concert venues worldwide.

Throughout his career, Julian has displayed exceptional artistry and technical prowess, captivating audiences with his soulful interpretations and remarkable command of the piano. His journey in music has taken him to renowned competitions, such as the Edvard Grieg International Piano Competition in Norway, where he showcased his outstanding abilities and left a lasting impression on both judges and listeners.

Julian's dedication and talent have garnered him numerous accolades and prizes in international piano competitions. Notably, he has achieved first prizes in esteemed competitions such as the Orbetello International Piano Competition, the "Citta di Barletta" International Piano Competition in Italy, and the Franz Liszt International Piano Competition in Spain. His exceptional performances have also earned him second prizes in the Juliusz Zarębski International Piano Competition in Poland, Paul Badura-Skoda International Piano Competition in Vienna, the "Citta di San Donà di Piave" International Piano Competition, the Ischia International Piano Competition, and the "Citta di Sarzana" International Piano Competition in Italy. Furthermore, Julian has advanced as a finalist or semi-finalist in prestigious competitions, including the Pietro Argento International Piano Competition, Verona International Piano Competition, Neapolitan International Piano Competition, George Gershwin International Piano Competition, Seattle International Piano Competition, Ricard Vines International Piano Competition, and Campillos International Piano Competition.

Some notable venues where Julian has performed include Ehrbar Saal by C. Bechstein, the historic Mozarthuase in Vienna, Austria, and the renowned Kalvierhaus in New York City, USA. Their performances have also graced the stages of the Kabuso Art Center and the Troldhaugen Concert Hall in Bergen, Norway, captivating audiences with their artistry.

Julian Kim Profile 2

Julian's talent has transcended borders, delighting audiences across Europe and North America. Notable performances in Europe include appearances at the Teatro Jofre in Ferrol, Spain, the Bellini Theatre in Catania, and the G. Rossini Theatre in Pesaro, Italy. Their captivating performances have also resonated with audiences at prestigious venues such as Loewe Theatre, and Opera America Hall in New York City, USA. In Italy, Julian has graced the stage at the Villa Sandra Hall in Milano, the E.F. Dall Abaco, and Nuovo Montemezzi Auditorium in Verona, leaving an indelible mark on the Italian music scene.

Beyond Europe and North America, Julian has also enraptured audiences in other parts of the world. They have performed at the Lufterse Kerk Hall in Haarlem, the Remonstrants Kerk Hall in Alkmaar, the Slot Hall in Schagen, and the Ruinekerk Hall in Bergen, Netherlands, leaving an indelible mark on the Dutch music scene. Their captivating performances have also echoed through the Mantan Klubi Hall in Mantta, Finland, and the Gateway Theatre in Vancouver, Canada.

As a recording artist, in 2023, the label KNS Classical released his debut album, ‘Brahms Resonances.’ This work features an exquisite selection from Johannes Brahms' oeuvre, including the Piano Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op. 5, and the intricately structured Variations on a Theme by Paganini, Op. 35 Books I and II. The album garnered widespread acclaim, receiving laudatory reviews from numerous prominent publications in the classical music sphere. In 2024, he contract with Hänssler Classic, a distinguished label in the classical music world. His album, featuring an array of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, is slated for release under this prestigious imprint.

In 2023, Julian signed a contract with the renowned artist management company Evangelista Artists Management, based in Munich, Germany, for his upcoming European concerts.

Julian is a C. Bechstein pianist.


Programme Notes

Johannes Brahms Two Rhapsodies Op.79

Johannes Brahms' Two Rhapsodies, Op. 79, are masterful expressions of contrasting emotional states. The Rhapsody in B minor is a study in contrasts, opening with a powerful and brooding theme that conveys both turbulence and passion. This intensity is balanced with moments of lyrical introspection, creating a dynamic interplay between drama and contemplation. Brahms' use of syncopation and off-beat accents intensifies the piece's emotional depth and restlessness.

Conversely, the Rhapsody in G minor presents a more vibrant and rhythmic character. It begins with an assertive, dance-like theme, full of spirit and energy. This exuberance is softened in the central section by a tender, melodious theme, offering a soothing interlude. The piece then returns to its original vigorous theme, culminating in a triumphant and exhilarating finale.

Together, these rhapsodies demonstrate Brahms' exceptional ability to blend lyrical melodies with complex harmonies, showcasing the richness of Romantic music. They represent a journey through intense emotions and reflective contemplation, illustrating the depth and maturity of Brahms' musical style. These compositions are not just technical feats but also deeply expressive works that resonate with listeners for their emotional authenticity and compositional brilliance.

Johannes Brahms Variations on a theme by Paganini Op. 35

Johannes Brahms' Variations on a Theme by Paganini, Op. 35, is a captivating and virtuosic composition that showcases Brahms' mastery of both pianistic technique and inventive musical ideas. Completed in 1863, this work stands as a testament to Brahms' ability to transform a simple theme into a rich and complex musical tapestry.

Julian Kim Profile 3

The theme Brahms chose for this set of variations is the famous and devilishly challenging theme from Niccolò Paganini's Caprice No. 24 for solo violin. Brahms takes this well-known theme and presents it in a simple and unadorned manner at the beginning of the composition. However, he quickly reveals his genius by subjecting the theme to a series of breathtaking transformations and elaborations throughout the course of the piece.

The variations themselves vary in character and style. Some variations emphasize the theme's lyrical qualities, while others focus on its rhythmic or harmonic elements. Brahms employs a wide range of pianistic effects, such as cascading arpeggios, thundering octaves, delicate trills, and rapid passagework, adding depth and excitement to each variation.

Brahms' Variations on a Theme by Paganini, Op. 35, is a testament to his compositional ingenuity and his deep understanding of musical form and expression. Through his imaginative variations, Brahms transforms a simple theme into a captivating and multifaceted musical journey. This composition stands as a testament to Brahms' position as one of the great composers of the Romantic era and continues to be admired and cherished by performers and audiences alike for its virtuosity, musical depth, and sheer brilliance.

Johannes Brahms Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 5 in F minor

Brahms' Piano Sonata No. 3 Op. 5 in F minor is a remarkable composition that holds a significant place in the history of classical music. Completed in 1853, this sonata emerged during a pivotal period in Brahms' career and showcases his artistic maturity and profound musical prowess.

The Sonata stands as one of Brahms' most extensive works for solo piano, encompassing a broad and unique five-movement form. It is a monumental piece that pushes the boundaries of traditional sonata structure, demonstrating Brahms' innovative approach to composition. Within its expansive framework, the sonata explores a wide range of emotions and musical ideas, creating a compelling and deeply expressive musical journey.

The opening movement of the Sonata unfolds with dramatic intensity, presenting a compact and powerful sonata form. However, Brahms surprises the listener by concluding the movement in a major key, defying the traditional expectations associated with minor key compositions. This unexpected tonal shift adds a sense of emotional complexity and leaves a lasting impact. In contrast to the preceding sonatas, the slow movement of Op. 5 adopts a ternary form. Brahms masterfully utilizes this structure to explore a wide range of musical ideas and moods. The movement exhibits exceptional variety, incorporating four tempo markings and five meters, showcasing Brahms' meticulous attention to detail. The sonata's finale is a magnificent culmination of the entire journey. Brahms begins this movement with romantic love poetry, setting the stage for an evolving atmosphere that unfolds throughout the piece.

Brahms' Piano Sonata No. 3 Op. 5 is a testament to his compositional brilliance and his ability to weave profound emotions and themes into an intricate musical tapestry. It stands as a monumental work in the piano repertoire, capturing the essence of Brahms' artistic vision and leaving a lasting impression on performers and audiences alike. This sonata represents a pinnacle of Brahms' creative output and remains a significant landmark in the history of classical music.

Programme notes and biography by Julian Jaeyoung Kim



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