Renowned accordionist Shim Sung-rak dies at 85

Renowned accordionist Shim Sung-rak dies at 85

Accordionist Shim Sung-rak / Yonhap

By Park Ji-wonShim Im-sub, an accordion virtuoso better known by his stage name Shim Sung-rak, died Saturday. He was 85.According to his acquaintances, Shim underwent surgery earlier for pain in his waist and his health worsened while recovering from the operation.He has been known as one of Korea’s leading accordionists, laying the foundation for the development of the country’s popular music industry and taking part in many popular music recordings and soundtracks.Born in Kyoto, Japan, in 1936 when Korea was under Japanese occupation, Shim participated in about 7,000 songs on 1,000 albums as an accordionist and electronic organist. He had worked with famous singers, including Patti Kim, Cho Yong-pil and Na Hoon-a, to name a few. He also participated in the soundtracks of famous films, such as “One Fine Spring Day” (2001).He was known as a self-taught musician who first encountered the accordion in 1953 while working as a part-timer in an instrument shop in Busan. Shim started his career as an accordion player for a singing contest on the state-run broadcaster KBS. He is known to have lost his little finger when he was young.In the early 1970s, he taught Kim Jong-pil, then prime minister of the country, how to play the electronic organ and played the instrument ever since at banquets held by presidents Park Chung-hee, Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo.For his contribution as an accordionist and organist, Shim was awarded the Prime Minister’s Commendation of Korean Popular Culture and Arts Award in 2011. In 2009, he released his first album, titled “Listen to Song of Wind,” which includes newly composed songs and tunes from soundtracks of films and dramas under his credit.His funeral service will be held at a funeral home in Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province, until Thursday.

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