Jonah Kim
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Jonah Kim cello


"Think Lang Lang, think Yuja Wang. Jonah Kim, the 22-year-old cellist who gave a recital at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater on Sunday afternoon, is cut from the same cloth... Kim can do pretty much what he wants on a cello. He played with a lot of finesse and a lot of intensity… across a fair spectrum of styles. He flirted with the line, shaped it, wrapped it around his fingers, pulled it out in a new dimension, all with practiced ease. Kim showed that he has all the goods to excel and to entertain."
–Anne Midgette, Washington Post

Jonah Kim made his debut with Wolfgang Sawallisch and the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2002 after winning the top prize at the Philadelphia Orchestra's Albert M. Greenfield Competition. He also performed with the National Symphony Orchestra as a "Star of Tomorrow" in 2003. Joseph McLellan of the Washington Post called him simply, "the next Yo-Yo Ma." Mr Kim graduated from the prestigious Curtis Institute in spring of 2006 while still only 17 years old. He has appeared as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, New Philharmonia Orchestra, Symphony of the Americas, Palm Beach Symphony and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra among others. He has performed recitals at the Kimmel Center (Philadelphia), the Kravis Center (West Palm Beach), and the Kennedy Center (Washington, DC). He has also appeared in radio and TV programs on WETA, WHYY, WITF, MPBN, WXEL, NPR, NBC and CBS. During summers, he has played at the Atlantic (Maine), Lancaster (Ohio), Encore (Ohio), Killington (Vermont), Sarasota (Florida), and Kneisel Hall (Maine) music festivals and has taught students from all over the world at Palm Beach Atlantic University's "Stringendo" summer music program.

Born in Seoul, Korea, Mr Kim immigrated to the United States at the age of seven. His father, a pastor at a Korean Presbyterian Church in New York, introduced Mr Kim to the cello that same year. Despite having no formal musical training, his father, who possesses a keen ear for music, coached his son's practice sessions. Mr Kim figured things out quickly by watching and imitating Pablo Casals from VHS tapes of his performance of Bach’s solo cello suites. Within a year, he was accepted to the Juilliard School Pre-College Division with a full scholarship where he began his professional training with the veteran pedagogue Ardyth Alton.

During his first year at Juilliard, Mr Kim was unsure whether the cello and classical music were really for him. He was attending a New York City public school, learning to speak English, and adjusting to life in the United States. Mr Kim and his father wrote to Janos Starker at Indiana University for advice. Starker's invitation for Mr Kim to play at his masterclass that summer was pivotal, inspiring the young cellist to continue with renewed motivation. Starker later remarked, "Jonah is an exceptional talent. He is at the top of his generation."

Two years later, just before his tenth birthday, Mr Kim was accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. During his six years there, he studied under Peter Wiley, Lynn Harrell, and Orlando Cole, who wrote, "[Jonah] is one of the most accomplished cellists I have taught in my sixty five years on the Curtis faculty." He also received high praise in masterclasses with cellists Joel Krosnick, Timothy Eddy, Stephen Isserlis, Gary Hoffman, Marcy Rosen, Andre Diaz, and Ron Leonard among others. Mr Kim also discovered his passion for chamber music at an early age through constant collaborations with his friends at Curtis where he performed most of the standard piano trio literature with violinist Chen Xi and pianist Yuja Wang. His coaches at Curtis include Jaime Laredo, Joseph Silverstein, Aaron Rosand, Ida Kavafian, Gary Graffman, and Seymour Lipkin, as well as the Guarneri, Emerson, Vermeer, and the Takacs string quartets.

After graduating from Curtis, Mr Kim spent a few years wandering through Europe, living mostly in the UK, Italy and the Czech Republic. He returned to the United States at the invitation of South Florida's Lynn University to join the studio of his mentor and friend, David Cole. At the same time, Mr Kim was Principal cellist for the Miami City Ballet, and recorded for many pop artists at the Hit Factory in Miami. He has also played in live concert with pop figures such as the Beach Boys, Andrea Bocelli, Cristian Castro, Vic Damone, Regis Philban, Kenny Rogers, and the Tran-Siberian Orchestra. In addition to his solo engagements and collaborations with leading artists across an array of genres, Mr Kim is currently an associate Principal Cellist for San Francisco Ballet, of which he is the youngest member.

For additional information, please visit Jonah Kim's website,