HaeSun Paik, an award-winning pianist recognized worldwide, will appear in a benefit concert Sunday for the city's library.
Paik, a winner of top medals in the competitions named for William Kapell, Queen Elizabeth and Tchaikovsky, will perform at Fullerton College's Campus Theatre as a favor to her cousin, Vivian Lim.
Lim, a member of the Fullerton Public Library Foundation, has been working to raise at least $150,000 for the library, which plans to expand its children's section.
Paik's appearance comes as she is about to begin a major worldwide tour. She'll be in Honolulu next week and then head for South Korea, Switzerland, Germany and Russia.
"I'm usually on a bigger stage," Paik said as she practiced Friday night. "But it means a lot to be here in Fullerton because the city has a big Korean community and, as a Korean in this country, I need to give back to this country."
Paik "is so gracious," Lim said Friday before the pianist arrived. "Upon hearing that this would benefit the library, she was just very, very willing to do it."
Paik, who lives in Boston, has performed throughout the world in solo concerts and with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony, the Warsaw Philharmonic and the Moscow State Philharmonic Orchestra.
She is best known in South Korea, where she was born and raised and became a top-ranking swimmer.
Paik, who teaches music at the Seoul National University and at the New England Conservatory in Boston, began playing piano when she was 4. By the time she was 12, she had performed all 24 Chopin Etudes.
Because of Paik's reputation, Lim said, an airline donated her ticket to fly to Orange County from Boston, a hotel is housing her for free, a concert grand piano was donated for the concert and a piano technician is donating her services.
At Sunday's concert, Paik will play "Sonata in F major" by Mozart, "Venezia a Nafoli" by Liszt and "Pictures at an Exhibition" by Mussorgsky.
The cost per person is a $25 donation, which is tax deductible, Lim said. The theater is at 321 E. Chapman Ave.