Flash Mob, Fiddle Camp, Fall Foliage, and the Final Cut

Looking back at the last month, although my “plate overfloweth” in so many ways, there were such unforgettable and momentous events that it seemed to fly by, like watching a most beautiful bird…

At our final stop on our Knights “L’histoire” tour, we joined the brilliant John Heginbotham and a few of his Dartmouth dancers in a flash mob at the Baker-Berry Library in a choreographed (yep, us musicians too!) performance of Stockhausen/Shaw’s “Leo.”  From wearing music on our backs to crouching down on hands and knees, it was an interruptive moment for the ages!

John in action leading us through the flash mob flash rehearsal...
John in action leading us through the flash mob flash rehearsal…
Playing amidst the whirling dancers, following my "music stand" Eddie Burns...
Playing amidst the whirling dancers, following my “music stand” Eddie Burns…
And the final pose, crouching down to deliver the final "Leo the Lion" pizzicati to the dancers and the other Knights...
And the final pose, crouching down to deliver the final “Leo the Lion” pizzicati to the dancers and the other Knights…

I closed out October with some of my new favorite violinists and fiddlers; director Rick Manning put together the inaugural Ithaca Fiddle & Improv Workshop, which brought together violinists from all walks of the musical world.  Sara Caswell, a jazz genius, Duncan Wickel, a bluegrass, old time, and rock shredder, Joe d’Esposito, a chopping wizard, Susan Waterbury, my fabulous “sister from the other hill” and professor of violin at Ithaca College, and I made up the faculty for the workshop that ushered students through sessions in classical ornamentation, bluegrass tune-learnin’, bebop riffs, old time bowing techniques, practice techniques, and perfecting the chop.  We closed out the weekend with a down-home fly-by-the-seat show at the Carriage House that featured folk music from Bartok to Bill Monroe…

"Professor Wickel" at the blackboard, demo-ing his badass ear-training exercise...
“Professor Wickel” at the blackboard, demo-ing his badass ear-training exercise…
Director Rick Manning and Sara Caswell opening things up at the Carriage House show!
Director Rick Manning and Sara Caswell opening things up at the Carriage House show!
Playing some Bartok duos and an improv piece that I wrote ("For Leah") at the Carriage House show with the lovely Susan Waterbury...
Playing some Bartok duos and an improv piece that I wrote (“For Leah”) at the Carriage House show with the lovely Susan Waterbury…
Geeking-out, fiddle style, having a round-table talk on practice techniques, improv, and chopping...
Geeking-out, fiddle style, having a round-table talk on practice techniques, improv, and chopping…

There aren’t many words I could find to express the sheer beauty of autumn in Ithaca; grateful for the Indian summer we just had and taking in the glory of the walk to my office along the Cornell Arts Quad…

IMG_4339 IMG_4341

And the album is DONE!  After nearly a year, I am a bit delirious and rather excited to announce that my first solo album, Routes of Evanescence: Music for Solo Violin & Violin + 1 is ready to drop!  My brilliant engineer and producer, Leszek Wojcik and I worked on the final edits as I completed the album artwork and liner notes — and here we go!  Pre-release begins 11/22 in Ithaca, and the album release tour continues to the Twin Cities and NYC on 12/6 and 12/17, respectively…

The album cover art...
The album cover art…
And the album back cover art...
And the album back cover art…

YNK @ 70

I am just now beginning to come down from the surreality that was this past Sunday — it was, without a doubt, the most meaningful and magical day of my life.

In honor of my father’s 70th birthday, with the help of our distinguished guest violist Nobuko Imai and many others, we presented him — in-between quintets by Mozart and Mendelssohn — with a special, monogrammed Japanese piñata, a surprise visit and performance with my brother Daniel (who secretly flew in from New York), four secret commissions written in honor of the occasion by John Harbison, Steve Heitzeg, Peter Child, and Stan Skrowaczewski, and concluded the celebration with the YNK SSO — the “Young-Nam Kim Secret Surprise Orchestra” — comprised of 29 of his current and former students performing the slow movement of Mozart’s final quartet all together on stage.  There were and still are no words to describe the emotions of the day; I leave you with the photos and videos below.

Homemade sushi dinner, courtesy of the Ishidas!
A homemade sushi dinner in honor of Nobuko Imai, courtesy of Mr. & Mrs. Ishida!
A post-dinner hang with the incomparable Miss Nobuko Imai
A post-dinner hang with the incomparable Miss Nobuko
The Piñata Pull -- YNK with Miss Nobuko Imai and Mr. Takuzo Ishida, with the help of the lovely Eli Bissonett
The Piñata Pull!  YNK with guest Nobuko Imai and Takuzo Ishida, with the help of the lovely Eli Bissonett
The greatest viola trio ever created; Danny Kim, Nobuko Imai, and Sally Chisholm performing Tertis' arrangement of Beethoven's Op. 87 trio, in honor of YNK
The greatest viola trio ever created; Danny Kim, Nobuko Imai, and Sally Chisholm performing Tertis’ arrangement of Beethoven’s Op. 87 trio, in honor of YNK
Performing Harrison's "Aria: No Answer" for Papa Kim
Performing Harbison’s “Aria: No Answer” for Papa Kim
Performing Heitzeg's "Stone (Save the Boundary Waters)"
Performing Heitzeg’s “Stone (Save the Boundary Waters)” for Papa Kim
Performing, with brother Daniel, duos by Peter Child and Stan Skrowaczewski
Performing, with brother Daniel, duos for YNK by Peter Child and Stan Skrowaczewski
YNK SSO
The YNK SSO, Team Violins
The YNK SSO, Team Lower Strings
The YNK SSO, Team Lower Strings

Post-Concert with the stunned YNK =)
Post-Concert with the birthday boy =)
At the after-party with brother Daniel and the legendary Maestro Stan
At the after-party with brother Daniel and the legendary Maestro Stan

Stravinsky, Stockhausen, State College

Just began a 3-part tour of Stravinsky’s “L’histoire du soldat” and a fabulous septet (written for the same instrumentation) by Stockhausen, arranged by Caroline Shaw.  After some lecture/demonstrations at several of Penn State’s classes, we performed on their Classical Coffeehouse and Performing Arts Series. Getting to know these iconic composers and these works in a new way is deeply inspiring (and sweat-inducing)…now it’s off to Washington D.C. to take the program to Dumbarton Oaks…hopefully the hurricane won’t sweep us away =)

Deep in rehearsal conversations @ Penn State
Deep in rehearsal conversations @ Penn State
It's devil time...Stravinsky "L'histoire"-style
It’s devil time…Stravinsky “L’histoire”-style

Rite of Spring Dance Party, Glow Sticks and All…

I experienced one of the craziest and memorable nights last weekend — a benefit for Musicambia (a non-profit that brings music to U.S. prisons) — that was also a club-style dance party with a live band playing Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring.”  Danced by GroupMuse members who were perplexingly familiar with the score, the hot and humid evening at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple gave way to savage, visceral, and glow-necklace-laden dancers making their way through this iconic piece of music.  The deafening screams of appreciation transitioned into audience members lying amidst the orchestra for an encore of Schoenberg’s “Farben” from his “Five Pieces for Orchestra.”  The sacrificial lamb survived…this time.

Pre-Show @ Brooklyn Masonic Temple
Pre-Show @ Brooklyn Masonic Temple
GroupMuse on the frontline
GroupMuse on the frontline
The audience then came to join us, literally sitting and lying at our feet onstage, for the encore...
The audience then came to join us, literally sitting and lying at our feet onstage, for the encore…

 

Dog Days 2015 – A Recap

As I opened my office door at Cornell for the first time this year to welcome the Class of 2019 (yes, the incoming college freshman class was born in 1998…yowza), I couldn’t help but pause and look back at the wonderfully wall-to-wall summer of music making I just finished. Here are some highlights…

The summer began with a Knights tour of Germany and Austria (which concluded with a performance in the incomparable Musikverein), and unexpectedly continued onto Italy where I joined Brooklyn Rider and percussionist Ian Rosenbaum for an exhilarating concert at the American Academy in Rome featuring quartets by Andy Akiho and Paula Matthesun…

Gearing up for a concert at the Musikverein
Pre-concert @ the Musikverein, Vienna
Rome, from the balcony at the American Academy in Italy
Rome, from the balcony at the American Academy in Italy
La cisterna - an underground cistern that was the inspiration for Paula Matthesun's quartet
An underground cistern that was the inspiration for Paula’s 4tet…
Post-quartet concert in Rome with Brooklyn Rider + AK
Post-quartet concert in Rome with Brooklyn Rider + AK in the gorgeous lemon garden

June brought our final concert of the 2015-2016 season with the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota featuring music by Paul Schoenfield, then the glory of Arvo Pärt’s double violin concerto, “Tabula Rasa” (which I had the pleasure of learning alongside the fabulous Tessa Lark), and a visit from my incredible parents, Ellen and Young-Nam (we had a lovely evening with two of my favorite ladies, Ieva and Alma, and even found time for a beach day!)…

Beach Day @ the beautiful Greenwich Point Park, CT
Beach Day @ the beautiful Greenwich Point Park in Greenwich, CT
Stopping for dinner with the fam to bid farewell to the lovely Ieva & Alma
Dinner with the fam to bid farewell to the lovely Ieva & Alma

July was packed with another Knights tour to the Ravinia Festival, serving on the faculty (for the first time – it was divine!) at the Crowden Music Center’s Summer Chamber Music Institute in Berkeley, CA (where I even had a bit of time to catch up with old friends and family), album editing (albeit at a glacial pace), a little “Spanish immersion” as The Knights explored a program of Latin music, and a couple of great birthday hangs…

Ladies' day out - a sushi lunch to celebrate mama's & Auntie Susan's birthdays!
Ladies’ day out – a sushi lunch to celebrate Mama Kim & Auntie Susan’s birthdays!
Birthday balloons @ Peter Lugar for Shane & Kaoru's birthdays!
Birthday balloons @ Peter Lugar for Shane & Kaoru’s birthdays!
Post-Peter Lugar decompression with the adorable Shinobu...
Post-Peter Lugar digestion & decompression with the adorable Shinobu…
A day in LA with my fabulous cousin Eugene and his lovely wife Liberty
An unexpected day in LA with my fabulous cousin Eugene and his lovely wife Liberty
My super cute and crazy talented Dvorak F minor trio group
My super cute and crazy talented Dvorak trio group @ Crowden
A little Mozart K. 174 is always a beautiful thing
A little Mozart K. 174 is always a beautiful thing – post-concert @ Crowden
An East Bay lunch break with my dear friend Christina's little ones...
An East Bay lunch break with my dear friend Christina’s little ones, Carsten & Sammy

August began with one of my favorite weeks of the year, PACO Camp! It’s an intensive chamber music festival out in the Redwood Forest in California where talented and dedicated Bay Area students come together to eat, sleep, and breathe quartets. With a few days off in-between to get some record editing done, it concluded with 8 special days up in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota for the Northern Lights Chamber Music Institute, where I played, coached, and made my “debut” as a “percussionist” playing a little cajon (whoa, boy) with the kids on Colin Jacobsen and Siamak Aghei’s “Ascending Bird”….

Coaching Haydn's "Emperor" quartet outside under the magnificent Redwoods
Coaching Haydn’s “Emperor” quartet outside under the magnificent Redwoods
Hand-crafted and personalized PACO hoodies made with love by the Chin girls
Hand-crafted and personalized PACO hoodies made with love by Tessera & Delenn
Post-concert with my Haydn "Emperor" crew
Post-concert with my Haydn “Emperor” crew

I said goodbye to summer with Labor Day weekend 2015 spent with two very dear friends, Larry and Trudy Rankin in Lakeland, FL; with an evening at the sea and a house concert to honor our beloved Corry Rankin, a classmate of mine who passed away in 2002, it was a beautifully powerful time of remembrance and fellowship.  I made my way back to Ithaca to finalize the details of having 71 violinists (!) on campus this year and hit the ground running with my fabulous new studio of fiddlers and chamber ensembles…

The healing waters of the sea and a gorgeous sunset in Sarasota, FL
The healing waters of the sea and a gorgeous sunset in Sarasota, FL
With Larry Rankin, Corry's father
With Larry Rankin, Corry’s father
With Trudy Rankin, Corry's mother
With Trudy Rankin, Corry’s mother

And here we go, off to the races for Fall 2015!

Love from 149th Street…

Ariana