2007-03-22 / News

Violinist inspires elementary students

By Sam Bari

Violinist David Kim talks with students at the Melrose Avenue School. Photo by Sam Bari Violinist David Kim talks with students at the Melrose Avenue School. Photo by Sam Bari Music came alive last week when a world class violinist visited the Melrose Avenue School.

David Kim, artistic director and founder of the Kingston Chamber Music Festival at the University of Rhode Island, dazzled the third and fourth grade students with his musical talents.

Kim, accompanied by pianist Audrey Kaiser, played, fielded questions, and inspired the youngsters learn about all types of music. The children were an enthusiastic audience.

The young students were fascinated by Kim's prowess on the violin. However, Kim was also surprised and delighted at the number of musicians in his audience and the extent of their musical knowledge.

When he asked the third and fourth graders if they knew the names of any composers, the students responded with Beethoven and Mozart, Duke Ellington and Ray Charles. He congratulated them for their "good answers." He noted that all the composers the children named were men, so he played a beautiful and moving composition titled "Sicilienne" by blind female Spanish composer Maria Theresa Von Paradis. All three pieces that Kim played were well-received with enthusiastic applause.

After each piece, Kim answered questions. He explained all the parts and functions of the violin and bow, and told them that his instrument cost over $1 million. He also explained that if they wanted to learn, they could rent an adequate instrument for $30 a month. He mentioned that as a professional, he needed an instrument like the one he was playing, but that his first instrument was very modest in price.

The children were amazed when they asked Kim how old he was when he started playing and he told them the story of his musical development. He said that he was 3 years old when his mother gave him a three-quarter-size violin and informed him that one day he would be a world famous violinist. He said that his entire life has been dedicated to playing the violin. All he did was practice. His mother even purchased a violin and took lessons so that she could practice with him.

He went on to say that he didn't participate in sports, watch television, or go to parties. All he did with his spare time was practice. He said that his parents sacrificed everything so that he could have the best instruction available. When asked if the personal sacrifice was worth it, he immediately responded with a resounding, "Yes. Absolutely," he said.

Kim started the school outreach program in 1990, the year after he founded the Kingston Chamber Music Festival, and is now known by a whole generation of young people in southern Rhode Island. Since Kim's appointment as concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1999, the festival has, in recent years, sent several other classical musicians and ensembles to tour the schools. This was Kim's first participation in the Outreach Program since the fall of 2002.

Kingston Chamber Music Festival board member Bob Kinzel was instrumental in getting Kim to perform at the Jamestown school. He has performed for well over 10,000 young people in Rhode Island. The 2007 Schools Outreach Program is made possible by a grant from the Ameriprise Financial Community Relations Program.

David Kim was born in Carbondale, Ill. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the Juilliard School in New York. In 1986, he was the only American violinist to win a prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.

He is artistic advisor for the Ocean State Chamber Orchestra in Providence, and resides in a suburb of Philadelphia with his wife Jane and daughters Natalie and Margaret.

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