Nayoun Kim realized a childhood dream when she performed Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major at The Philadelphia International Music Festival’s October virtual master class.
“Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto was one of the pieces that led me into the musical world. It has always been my dream to play it,” the Academy of the Holy Angels junior said. “Every single moment I work with this piece is a cherished moment to me. This piece is known by a lot of people, including violinists and non-violinists, which means that it has to be played very well, and has to be precise and traditionally engaged while performing my own music. It is hard technically and musically, but I have always wanted to play this piece since I was little.”
In fact, Kim reported that playing the violin became her aspiration after she received a toy version of the instrument from her mother several years ago.
During the virtual master class, Kim and her peers from around the world performed for members of the prestigious Philadelphia Orchestra, including Assistant Concertmaster Marc Rovetti. Each instrumentalist received a professional critique.
Asked about the feedback she received, Kim said she would use the comments from Rovetti and the other instructors while she is practicing.
“Music is not like math or science. Sometimes, you can fully understand it verbally and even memorize the meanings, but can't get it out when you perform because the understanding behind it is not enough. You have to really look into what they have told you and make it a consideration and try to translate it into your own music, way, or word if necessary,” Kim said. “I am a soloist. (Rovetti) is an orchestral player. His advice helped me to think about how an orchestra would feel if I performed a solo part in certain ways.”
Kim added that Rovetti’s comments also opened her ear toward the orchestra’s part. While Tchaikovsky composed Kim’s dream piece, she also appreciates works by a range of musicians, including Debussy and Bartok. When preparing for a performance, she tries to stay focused and practices as much as possible.
“Yes, it is hard to stay on task for 4-6 hours a day, sometimes more, but even when I am not practicing, I try to put violin as my first priority,” she explained. A week or two before the event, she anticipates her concert day schedule and synchronizes her daily practices and meal times accordingly so she becomes accustomed to the cycle.
Commenting on the differences between in-person and virtual performances, Kim noted that she finds online events more comfortable and relaxing.
“At the same time, it is sad because when I perform on the stage all dressed up, I can feel more music and direct connections with the audiences, my pianist, and orchestra. When we do it virtually, it is hard to feel that. Also, there is no party, dinner, chitchat, and picture time after the performance.”
Kim studies violin with Li Lin from the Juilliard Pre-college Division and AHA Instrumental Music Director Mariann Annecchino.
Kim won the Juilliard Pre-college Tzigane Competition, performed at the opening ceremony for the Young Tchaikovsky International Violin Competition, and became a finalist in From the Top.
She has won competitions in Korea and was a top prize winner in the Fifth Hong Kong International Violin Competition. In 2019, she traveled to Germany to perform at the Louis Spohr International Violin Competition. Kim plays for the AHA Orchestra and the Academy’s Select Strings ensemble.