Violinist Yang In-mo welcomes challenge of playing 24 Paganini caprices

By Shim Woo-hyun
  • Published : Jan 8, 2018 - 15:16
  • Updated : Jan 8, 2018 - 17:57

Violinist Yang In-mo expressed confidence in performing Niccolo Paganini’s 24 caprices for solo violin -- notorious for their difficulty -- during a showcase at Kumho Art Hall in Seoul on Monday.

“I have always wanted to play the 24 caprices by Paganini. I remember my aunt buying me the album when I was about 7 or 8 years old. I listened and thought that I would also play them someday. Instead of overwhelming me, they encouraged me to play the string instrument,” said Yang, Kumho Art Hall’s artist-in-residence for 2018. 


“I want to prove that the 24 caprices are worth presenting to the audience. They are physically taxing to play, but I wanted to perform this year, before it becomes too late for me to play,” Yang said, adding, “The fact that Paganini himself did not play the pieces intrigued me.”

The winner of the 2015 Paganini International Violin Competition, Yang will perform the full set of 24 Paganini caprices on May 3 at Kumho Art Hall.

At the press conference, Yang revealed his love for rock music as well.

“I love the sounds of Radiohead. I am attracted by the sounds and their combination. I am also fond of their lyrics. There are many philosophical lyrics that make me think,” Yang said, citing “OK Computer” as his favorite album.

“I sometimes write progressive rock pieces,” he added.

Asked if he has plans to busk like the renowned violinist Joshua Bell, Yang said that he has experience busking: He once collected around $30 in 30 minutes while he was a student at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.

During Monday’s showcase, the young violinist performed Milstein’s “Paganiniana.” Yang also performed Handel-Halvorsen’s “Passacaglia” with cellist Mun Tae-guk, who was Kumho Art Hall’s artist-in-residence last year. The two musicians, along with pianist Ben Kim, will perform on June 21 at Kumho Art Hall.

As the sixth artist-in-residence at Kumho Art Hall, Yang will hold five performance at the downtown concert hall, beginning with Kumho Art Hall’s New Year’s concert Thursday. Yang will present Paul Hindemith’s Sonata for Violin Op. 31/2, as well as works by Edcard Greig and Eugene Ysay.

On Sept. 6, Yang will perform as a trio with the Russian pianist Ilya Rashkovsky and clarinetist Kim Han. On Nov. 15, he will perform with Russian violinist Ilya Gringolts under the title of “Match Point.”

Yang will perform using the “Joachim-Ma” Stradivarius, on loan to him by the NEC.

By Shim Woo-hyun (ws@heraldcorp.com)