We focus on free-form improvisation, because we believe it is a direct pathway from us to our audience. We especially feature prompt-based improvisations utilizing audience suggestions; this is our way of saying, “We want to play for YOU.” Our improvisation focuses on bringing ourselves on equal footing with the audience, thus breaking a wall that is often recognized in traditional performances. Rather than a work by a composer interpreted by the ensemble, our music becomes a plate featuring our own voices and ideas with a seasoning of the artists who inspired us. Through our music, predicated on interaction and spontaneity, we strive always to give one the feeling that the music is a gift that has been created for them.
Based in New York City, Impromptuo is an innovative improvisation-focused duo made up of violinist Katherine Kyu Hyeon Lim and pianist Joey Chang. The duo has been commissioned and presented by Metropolis Ensemble, House of Yes, (Le) Poisson Rouge, Fifth Wall Performing Arts, and National Arts Diversity Integration Association in 2020. They have also performed as part of the Variousound Sessions 2020 Residency, and co-founded The Moving Orchestra in 2019. Though primarily trained in European classical music, Impromptuo draws influence from traditions of free jazz, experimental electroacoustic music, etc., and suggestions from you!
Lim’s and Chang’s paths as improvisers crossed as the two began jamming together at the start of 2019. Having both undergone training at The Juilliard School, they looked beyond the world of European classical music and came to the practice of free improvisation. As the duo performed more and especially into the COVID-19 pandemic with countless live-streamed concerts together, free improvisation became an essential part of their programming, presenting music eschewing labels and rather combining the duo’s multitude of influences.
Impromptuo uses its classical training and improvisation as a means to present programs full of spontaneity and which question the classical tradition, whether it be open-score works or pieces of the classical canon with added improvisations, while remaining true to its identity and background. Impromptuo blurs the borders between musical styles with the intent to strip away perceived hierarchies in today’s musical traditions.
Impromptuo was a recipient of a Chamber Music America 2021 Ensemble Forward Grant, made possible with generous support from the New York Community Trust, which has allowed them a prodigious opportunity to work with composer/multi-instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey.
Katherine Kyu Hyeon Lim, violin
South Korean violinist/improviser Katherine Kyu Hyeon Lim began performing at the age of 10 in Czech Republic. An avid chamber musician, Katherine is currently a member of Impromptuo and the Unison Quartet. The quartet has participated in the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar and will participate in the Center for Advanced Quartet Studies at Aspen and Perlman Music Program this summer. She teaches violin to students ages 5 - 17 at Opus 118 Harlem School of Music and New Amsterdam School, and regularly performs interdisciplinary free-form improvisation in The Moving Orchestra, for which she is co-founder. She holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Juilliard, and is now pursuing her doctoral degree at Rutgers University.
Joey Chang, piano
Pianist/Improviser Joey (Ian-Joe) Chang, obtained his B.M. and M.M. from The Juilliard School and is a recipient of the school’s 2018 Career Advancement Fellowship for professional artists. Following his residency as an improviser at the Banff Centre in the summer of 2017, Joey has performed free improvisation in venues including The Stone at the New School, Roulette, and St. John’s in the Village, and he has presented fully improvised concerts at the Sparkhill concert series and the Clayton Piano Festival in NC. Joey has composed structured improvisation for art installations as well as dance choreography. He is co-founder of "The Moving Orchestra", a collective that programs all-improvisation programs with musicians and dancers.