Young violinist Stephen Kim returns to Terre Haute to join the Terre Haute Symphony and conductor David Bowden for Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto in Tilson Auditorium on Saturday, September 28. Also on the program are “The Flight of the Bumblebee” by Tchaikovsky and Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 2.
The Bruch concerto is a very well known piece of the violin repertoire. There’s a traditional style of playing it, and you have to respect that. But I still think it is up to the artist to bring a fresh experience to the audience.
Kim just finished high school in California this past spring, spent part of the summer playing music in Aspen, Colorado, and this fall he’s beginning college at Curtis in Philadelphia. We caught up with him by phone as he was getting ready to move east. “I am making that transition to college life. For the first time I’ll be living independently. It’s an exciting time for me. There are lots of changes and new things to get used to.”
Although Kim is a very busy young man, in addition to his appearance with the symphony Kim will visit the schools. “I’ll be doing what I did two years ago, “he said. “I’ll play for the classes there and talk a little about what it’s like wanting to pursue classical music and keep the classical music world alive.“
Kim is also hoping to do a bit of one-on-one coaching in a master class setting.
“I’ve had many master classes in Aspen during the summers,” he recalls. “They were great and memorable. There’s so much to learn from all the teachers who did those master classes. It was important for me to get all those different aspects and opinions so that I could also make my own choices and develop my musicality. Maybe some students will play and I can give them some pointers or some advice, things to help them to get thinking more about their choices in music.”
Since Kim emphasized the word “choices,” we asked about choices in the concerto he’ll be playing with the Terre Haute Symphony.
“The Bruch concerto is a very well known piece of the violin repertoire. So, many people know it, have heard it or have played it,” he noted. “And I guess with a piece like this you could say there’s a traditional style of playing and you have to respect that. But of course I still think it is up to the artist to really make his own choices to present his own ideas in the piece. I like to add some of my own ideas to this piece and hopefully bring a fresh experience to the audience. I hope I can make it not just another Bruch performance.”