Denton County’s Jason Lim has been all around the world learning and performing music, and he continues his travels to teach others. Lim began his viola training at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and later trained in Sydney, Australia. He has won numerous awards for conducting, including the American Prize Competition for professional conductors in 2016-17 and the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for excellence in performing American music in 2016. He has conducted across the world, including Australia, Europe and the United States. Lim has also collaborated with dance choreographers. While he continues to perform across Texas, Lim also spends his time teaching music. He is the artistic director for the Greater North Texas Youth Orchestra and the Summer Music Intensives in McKinney. Youth auditions will take place June 9 and Aug. 11. Go to gntyo.org for information. He is artistic director and conductor of the Odysseus North Texas Chamber Orchestra, which he founded in 2012. For more on Lim, go to jasonlim-conductor.com.
How did you first become interested in music?
When I was young my mom was the one who wanted me to take up music. I hated practicing then. When I graduated high school I still didn’t know what I wanted to do but managed to win a scholarship to study viola in Hong Kong. It took several years before realizing that I could to it and do it very well. So it was a process.
At what point did your career really start to take off?
I am not sure there is a set point. When I graduated I actually quit conducting because I had a bad experience with my college professor. It took me eight years to decide that I wasn’t going to let it go without at least trying. It’s been a long and slow journey, but I feel I am getting better at what I do every time I step on the podium.
What have been some of your favorite career moments?
I don’t have a favorite, but I do cherish every moment I get to work as a conductor and a musician.
What makes you a good conductor?
Honesty! I feel that there are too many conductors who make it about them. In my opinion, when a conductor steps on the podium, it’s about the composer, the music, the orchestra and every individual person in the orchestra, the city and the community that supports the orchestra. When I study and practice my technique, it’s about having the tool to communicate to the orchestra in the most efficient way that requires little to no stopping and very little verbal communication.
What is the Odysseus North Texas Chamber Orchestra, and how did it begin?
Odysseus North Texas Chamber Orchestra is a professional orchestra of paid musicians from all around DFW. They consists of graduate students from music colleges from around this area as well as working professionals.
Which award means the most to you?
Winning first prize in the American Prize Competition in 2017 meant a lot.
What made you decide to dedicate your time to teaching children?
It is not so much a decision. A musician will always inevitably be in contact with young musicians. Teaching is part of being a musician.
What technique do you have that helps students learn music the best?
Repetition is the greatest teaching tool. Even professionals require some form of repetition but not quite as many though repetition also needs to be taught correctly.
How many concerts have you conducted?
I have lost count but hope to do as many as humanly possible.
Do you have a favorite musician outside of classical music?
I do not follow certain musicians religiously, but I love to listen to vocal artists like Sting and Frank Sinatra.
Besides music, what are some of your hobbies?
I love to aquascape. It is a form of gardening but in an aquarium. Some people have it down to a science, but I am not quite there.