Helen Sim -Pianist
Korean-American pianist Helen Sim has touched and electrified audiences throughout the world in competitions and concerts. She started her piano studies at the age of six with Juliette Eisenmann and Mary Helton, and made her debut at the age of ten performing the Mozart Coronation Concerto in Carnegie Recital Hall. A year later, she won the Honorable Mention Award in the Music for Westchester Competition and, being the youngest musician ever invited then, was featured on the prestigious McGraw Hill Young Artists Showcase, hosted by Robert Sherman on the New York radio station WQXR. Sherman wrote in the New York Times: "In the prodigy department, the really astonishing entrant was Helen Sim, who had to twirl the piano stool to its highest point just to reach the keyboard. She started the Beethoven C Major Piano Concerto with the aplomb of a professional, and gave a mature performance of the first movement that completely belied her age."
Ms. Sim studied in the Pre-College Division of the Juilliard School with Naumburg winner Jane Carlson and earned her Bachelor and Master degrees in Juilliard's College Division with world-renowned Russian pianist Oxana Yablonskaya. She won two schoolwide concerto competitions (Prokofieff No. 1 and Rachmaninoff No. 1) at the Juilliard School and the 1st Prizes of the Westchester Symphony Orchestra Competition, the Yonkers Philharmonic Music Competition, the National Young Artists Competition of Texas, and the Senigallia International Piano Competition of Italy. She is also a top prizewinner of numerous competitions such as the D'Angelo Young Artists International Competition, the UNISA International Piano Competition of South Africa, the World Music Masters Concours of France, and the Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia. The Paris newspaper Le Monde praised her "mature and thoughtful playing; she will make a beautiful name for herself." She appeared as soloist with many orchestras, among them being the American Symphony Orchestra in Lincoln Center, New York and the Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra in Switzerland. Ms. Sim enjoyed numerous collaborations with conductor Dr. Woomyung Choe and the Newburgh Symphony in concertos including the Tchaikovsky No. 1, Prokofieff No. 3, Rachmaninoff No. 2, and Brahms No. 1.
Ms. Sim and her husband Ning-Wu Du (1st Prize winner of the 3rd Sydney International Piano Competition in 1985 and also a Juilliard graduate) formed the piano duo "Du and Sim" in 2000 and in the same year made their debut at New York's Carnegie Recital Hall. Since then, their duo has earned a reputation for emotionally affecting and technically impressive performances that have enchanted audiences from across the United States and China to venues in Italy, Norway, and Japan. In 2001, they were named "Most Distinguished Musicians" at the IBLA Grand Prize International Piano Competition in Italy. "Du and Sim" captured the 1st prize at the 2004 5th Concours Grieg in Oslo, Norway in both duo piano and piano four-hands categories. The duo has also performed in cities such as Tokyo (Opera City Hall), Seoul (as guest artists for the 10th anniversary of Chinese-Korean diplomatic relations), and New York (Lincoln Center and Society Hall). Recent concert venues include Ohio, Michigan, and Osaka where they successfully performed their 2-piano arrangement of the "Yellow River" Concerto and Clara Schumann's 4-hand arrangement of Schumann's Piano Quintet Op. 44.
Besides being an active soloist and duo partner, Ms. Sim is also a dedicated teacher. She is Professor of Piano at the Xinghai Conservatory of Music in Guangzhou, one of the top conservatories in China. There her numerous students range from the pre-college up through the graduate levels. At Xinghai she and her husband established the first piano duo curriculum in China in 2005.
Ms. Sim is a Steinway Artist.