Biography

Photo by Michelle Smith-Lewis

Photo by Michelle Smith-Lewis

Violinist Michael Jinsoo Lim has been praised for playing with “delicious abandon” by Gramophone and described as “bewitching” and “masterful” by the Seattle Times. Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as a “conspicuously accomplished champion of contemporary music,” Lim has worked with composers such as Milton Babbitt, John Corigliano, George Crumb, Shulamit Ran and Joan Tower. Known for his versatility with a wide range of styles, he enjoys a dynamic career as a soloist, chamber musician, concertmaster and recording artist. Lim is concertmaster and solo violinist of the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra (“surely the best ballet band in America”—New York Times), serves as artistic director and violinist of the Seattle-based ensemble Frequency (“a dream string trio”—King FM-Seattle’s Second Inversion) and is director and co-founder of Planet M Records. His discography can be found on Naxos, Planet M, Sono Luminus, DreamWorks, Albany, Bridge, CRI, Bayer Records, RIAX and New Focus.

Recent solo appearances with Pacific Northwest Ballet include multiple performances of the Stravinsky Violin Concerto (in New York City and Seattle), Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 1 (Paris and Seattle), and Richard Einhorn’s rock and roll inspired piece for electric violin, Maxwell’s Demon (Paris and Seattle). Highlights of the upcoming season include the Bridge Records release of Lim’s world premiere recording of Andrew Waggoner’s Violin Concerto (written for Lim), performances of the Prokofiev Violin Concerto with PNB at Lincoln Center, and an appearance with singer/songwriter Gabriel Kahane.

For twenty years, Lim toured and recorded with the Corigliano Quartet, a group he co-founded. With the quartet, he won the Grand Prize at the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition and the ASCAP/CMA Award for Adventurous Programming, and performed in the nation’s leading music centers, including Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, and the Kennedy Center. The quartet’s Naxos label CD was honored as one of The New Yorker’s Ten Best Classical Recordings of the Year.

As a theater artist, Lim appeared in director Nick Schwartz-Hall’s Tempo of Recollection, a show about composer Erwin Schulhoff, and served as music consultant for Seattle Repertory Theatre’s production of Opus, directed by Braden Abraham. Lim has performed onstage with Pacific Northwest Ballet in George Balanchine’s Duo Concertante, Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain and Alexander Eckman’s Cacti.

Offstage endeavors include producing three critically acclaimed albums by violist/composer Melia Watras (as well as being co-producer on a fourth), his work as lyricist for a number of compositions by Watras, and an appearance alongside Jinkx Monsoon in a promotional video for the city of Seattle. Lim is the inspiration for a character in Erica Miner’s operatic mystery novel, Death by Opera.  

Lim was among the final pupils of legendary violinist and pedagogue Josef Gingold at Indiana University. He later studied chamber music at the Juilliard School, where he also taught as an assistant to the Juilliard String Quartet. He currently serves on the faculty of Cornish College of the Arts.