A man in a black sweater holds a violin and smiles
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Internationally Renowned Violinist Performs Concert on the Hilltop

David Kim is concertmaster of The Philadelphia Orchestra, a former child prodigy and one of the world’s greatest living violinists. Last month, Hoyas had the opportunity to see Kim perform and to reflect on his career as part of the long-running Friday Music Concert Series.  

“For students, the opportunity to hear one of the most significant musicians of our day is simply an unparalleled gift,” said Anthony R. DelDonna, the Thomas E. Caestecker Professor of Music and curator of the Friday Music Series. “David’s high level of achievement, his dedication to his craft and sheer artistry represent a unique, firsthand experience and encounter to learn and to introduce students to the beauty of art music.” 

During the performance, Kim played with pianist Grace Kim, an adjunct professor in the Department of Performing Arts. Kim performed pieces from George Frideric Handel, Johannes Brahms, Jules Massenet and Fritz Kreisler. 

“I am beyond fortunate to be able to play many different genres of music: of course all the great orchestral repertoire, many of the major violin concertos, chamber music and, as I am doing on campus this week, recitals with piano,” said Kim. “My favorite composers are Prokofiev and Richard Strauss. However, there are numerous works from various composers which I love like The Moldau by Smetana, the Brahms Viola Quintets and all of the Mozart Piano Concertos.

A man plays the violin next a woman playing the piano

David Kim (left) performs with professor Grace Kim (right) in McNeir Auditorium.

Ahead of the performance, Kim was a guest in DelDonna’s companion course, Live Music in Context and he answered questions from students, sharing his professional and personal experiences as a professional musician. 

“Music surrounds us,” Kim said. “If you walk into any library on the Georgetown campus, nearly every student is listening to music as they study. We all need music in our lives and without it, our existence is in danger of becoming a cultural wasteland. It doesn’t matter what genre we’re talking about….we all love music and it fills a place in our hearts.”

Kim spoke about his experience as a violinist and the upbringing that made his career possible. Kim’s mother, the first Korean woman to attain a doctorate in music outside of Korea, was intent on him becoming a concert violinist. 

“Music is second nature to me and the language that I have spoken my entire life,” Kim says. “But it is not everything to me and as an adult, I am catching up on all the activities that I missed out on as a child – mainly playing golf and archery deer hunting. I believe the fact that I have varied interests now helps keep my love of music fresh and vital.”

The Friday Music Concert Series, which has brought leading musicians to campus for more than 20 years, extends far beyond so-called ‘classical’ music. Just this semester, the Department of Performing Arts hosted diverse genres ranging from country to Go-Go to jazz, among other performances.  

“The Series brings musical artists of national and international reputation to campus to engage with students in the College of Arts & Sciences and beyond,” says DelDonna. “Many of the artists, including David Kim, also offer masterclasses, visit courses to work with students in our ensembles or engage in discussion to provide them with firsthand insights into the professional world.” 

Past performances have been co-sponsored by an extensive list of on-campus partners, including the Department of History, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, the Department of Anthropology, the Disability Studies Program and the American Studies Program.

“The intention is to bridge the academic curriculum with the broader scholastic missions of the College of Arts & Sciences,” DelDonna explains. “It is a tremendous satisfaction to curate the Friday Music Concert Series so that it reflects the interdisciplinarity of the music curriculum and faculty as well as our collaborations with other programs.”

by Hayden Frye (C’17)

Performing Arts