Gone: A Girl, A Violin, A Life Unstrung
Her first violin was tiny, harsh, factory-made; her first piece was "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star." But from the very beginning, Min Kym knew that music was the element in which she could swim and dive and soar. At seven years old, she was a prodigy, the youngest ever student at the famed Purcell School. At eleven, she won her first international prize; at eighteen, violinist great Ruggiero Ricci called her "the most talented violinist I've ever taught." And at twenty-one, she found "the one," the violin she would play as a soloist: a rare 1696 Stradivarius. Her career took off. She recorded the Brahms concerto and a world tour was planned.
Then, in a London caf , her violin was stolen. She felt as though she had lost her soulmate, and with it her sense of who she was. Overnight she became unable to play or function, stunned into silence.
In this lucid and transfixing memoir, Kym reckons with the space left by her violin's absence. She sees with new eyes her past as a child prodigy, with its isolation and crushing expectations; her combustible relationships with teachers and with a domineering boyfriend; and her navigation of two very different worlds, her traditional Korean family and her music. And in the stark yet clarifying light of her loss, she rediscovers her voice and herself.
The hours fell away as I read this spellbinding tale of love, loss, and above all devotion to art -- Susan Cain, author of 'Quiet' Reads like a dream - so fast, so sharp. I loved Gone. It will stay with me for a long time -- Cerys Matthews
South Korean born and raised in the UK, Min Kym began playing the violin at the age of 6. At 7 she was accepted as the youngest ever pupil at the Purcell School of Music; at 16 she was the youngest ever foundation scholar at the Royal College of Music. The legendary conductor George Solti said she had 'exceptional natural talent, mature musicality and mastery of the violin'. Her Sony recording of the Brahms Violin Concerto with Sir Andrew Davis and the Philharmonia Orchestra was released in 2010. She was the first ever recipient of the Heifetz Prize, and is a goodwill ambassador for the city of Seoul.