Yeesun Kim

Yeesun Kim

About Yeesun Kim

Hailed by the New York Times for her “focused intensity” and “remarkable” performances, cellist Yeesun Kim enjoys worldwide acclaim as a soloist, chamber musician and teacher. A founding member of the Borromeo String Quartet, Ms. Kim has performed in over 20 countries, in many of the world’s most illustrious concert halls and festivals.

Since making her orchestral debut at the age of 13 with the Korean Broadcasting Service Symphony, Ms. Kim has appeared at such premier venues as Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Jordan Hall in Boston, the Library of Congress and Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Her international appearances have included performances throughout Europe and Asia, including the Philharmonie in Berlin, the Tonhalle in Zurich, the Opera Bastille in Paris, Wigmore Hall in London, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Suntory Hall and Casals Hall in Tokyo, and the Saejong Cultural Center in Seoul. Currently living in Boston, Ms. Kim enjoys returning to her native Korea, where she is frequently invited to perform as soloist with the Korean Symphony, give recitals and teach.

A much sought after chamber musician, Ms. Kim has performed at such festivals as Spoleto in the United States and Italy, Ravinia, Marlboro, Santa Fe, La Jolla, the Prague Spring Festival, the Vancouver Chamber Music, the Stavanger Festival in Scandinavia and the Evian and Divonne Festival in France. Her frequent collaborations with other artists have included appearances with Joshua Bell, Christoph Eschenbach, Leon Fleisher, Gary Graffman, Menahem Pressler, Rudolph Serkin, Russell Sherman, and Richard Stoltzman, In addition to her extensive concert schedule with the Borromeo Quartet, she has concertized with members of the Guarneri and Julliard String Quartets, and appears frequently as a member of the Pamela Frank-Yeesun Kim-Wu Han piano trio.

As a member of the Borromeo Quartet, Ms. Kim has been part of the Ensemble in Residence for NPR’s Performance Today and has had extensive involvement with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Two Program. In this capacity, Ms. Kim has performed on all the series of the Chamber Music Society, including being featured on a “Live from Lincoln Center” broadcast. Her radio and television credits also include numerous appearances on WGBH in Boston, Radio France, and NHK Radio and Television in Japan.

A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, with advanced degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music, Ms. Kim currently serves on the faculty of the New England Conservatory in the cello and chamber music departments. Her teachers have included Minja Hyun, Hyungwon Chang, David Soyer and Lawrence Lesser.

Recipient of the Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award and Lincoln Center’s Martin Segal Award as a member of the Borromeo Quartet, Ms. Kim has garnered numerous awards individually as well, including winner of the Ewha and Jungagng National Competitions in Korea, and the Seoul Young Artists Award for achievement in music and academics.

Ms. Kim plays a Peregrino Zanetto cello, circa 1576.

New and Old — by Yeesun Kim

This summer I had two very different experiences performing contemporary pieces. The first piece, as it turned out, had several performances spread over two months. Two concerts included working with the composer prior to the concert. The second piece was set up to be only performed once, without the composer's presence and with only two days of rehearsing. Both pieces were quite difficult in their own ways. The first piece called for virtuosity, stamina and the ability to clearly outline the structure and narrative in order to hold the piece together. The second piece was almost the exact opposite. Short and obsessively detailed in its use of sound effects, it abounded in the use of extended techniques.  It employed extremely soft dynamics and seemed to purposefully obscure perceptible structure in [...]

Learning Through Listening — by Yeesun Kim

The other day in my studio class, an excellent question was brought up by one of the students.  How do we use the recordings of artists for study purposes? What is the right way and amount to listen to these recordings? How much imitation is acceptable? Can it be somehow detrimental? We had a wonderful discussion where everyone chimed in to share their experiences and thoughts about this question. It is a very important issue to be thinking about, considering how much easier it is to be downloading recordings than attending concerts these days. There are so many ways to collect many different versions of a piece one is interested in. Also, we can listen to it as many times and at any time of the day as we please. [...]

Putting Your Best Foot Forward in Auditions — by Yeesun Kim

Let's face it. A musicians life is full of auditions.  Even when you might not be taking a formal audition, each concert may turn out to be an audition for your next project. For many students, February in particular is a busy, stressful month filled with college auditions, summer festival auditions, recital juries and so forth. When you are a beginner, auditions generally represent a relatively encouraging nudge of  "Do your best." Later, they have greater consequences, and dealing with the pressure can become quite torturous.  Some are more at ease than others, but I believe it is safe to say that auditions are not activities anyone particularly enjoys doing. Of course listening to auditions is not so easy either.  One is asked to sit through 7-8 hours per day [...]

Seeing a Bigger Picture — by Yeesun Kim

As a young cellist, I gratefully accepted my teachers' generous offers of bowings, fingerings and phrasing suggestions to many  pieces I studied. These suggestions were well tested in numerous performances, were given thoughtful evaluation that took into account the personal convictions of many great musicians. At that time, I was not particularly in the habit of questioning and reasoning for myself. In a sense,  other than what I HAD to contribute, I trusted that all this work would and should settle into a successful interpretation. Since becoming the cellist of a professional string quartet (the Borromeo String Quartet), my attitude HAD to change completely. Now, it was not possible to participate in making music without evaluating ALL that was in the score. The pieces in the repertoire of the string [...]