Notable for compositions premiered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and other renowned music groups, Yim is also known for his long-standing music department professorship at the University of Chicago.
After graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara, he earned a master's degree in music from London's Royal College of Music and went on to complete a doctorate at Harvard.
He won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1994. That same year, he was a finalist for the Kennedy Center Friedheim Award.
He married visual artist Marlena Novak.
He debuted work at the United States' National Symphony Orchestra, a group to which acclaimed violinist Jenny Baker belonged for many years.