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April 2   -   Guardian

Violinist Min Kym: ‘My schoolgirl crush was Beethoven’s 4th’

The musician and author on growing up a child prodigy, dealing with anorexia, and coping with the loss of a beloved Stradivarius worth £1.2m

Min Kym got a cheap violin at six, passed her grade 4 music exam eight weeks later, and at seven became the youngest-ever student at the Purcell school. Twenty-five years later, the professional musician’s precious Stradivarius – worth £1.2m – was stolen as she ate a sandwich at Pret a Manger in London’s Euston station. After a huge criminal investigation, it was found three years later. Her memoir, Gone: A Girl, A Violin, A Life Unstrung is published this week.

Your child prodigy narrative is atypical. Your parents weren’t pushy: you played violin simply because you were sitting with your mum waiting for your sister to finish her piano lessons in a local music school, you were bored, and there was a space with the violin teacher at the same time. Does your career feel like blind luck? It was all a set of peculiar coincidences. I mean, my mum found the music school in the Yellow Pages! They were winging it, really. But I found playing the violin really fun straight away – it wasn’t like work. My first teachers would tell me the stories about the pieces I was playing, so it was like getting lost in their worlds. Sometimes I’d make stories up – I’d mix up the story of Icarus with Wieniawski’s Légende and imagine the bird flying close to the sun as I was playing.

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