Sujean Kim was appointed Concertmaster of the SSO in 2003. Widely praised for her dynamism as a concertmaster, chamber musician, and soloist, since the age of ten she has appeared on television programs such as Johnny Carson's "The Tonight Show" and "That's Incredible!" and has played in concert venues such as Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, and at the White House. She has worked under the batons of Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Valery Gergiev, Mariss Jansons, Zubin Mehta, Sir Georg Solti, and Hugh Wolff, and has performed for audiences throughout North America, as well as in Austria, Denmark, Germany, Russia, and Korea.
A love of chamber music has shaped much of Ms. Kim's musical career. In 1996, she co-founded the Corigliano Quartet. The quartet garnered praise from the New York Times and The Strad for its early performances. During Ms. Kim's years with the group, the quartet won the Fischoff Competition, the Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition, and was a finalist in the Naumberg Competition. Also during that time, the quartet participated in the Isaac Stern and Juilliard seminars; was in residence at Indiana University, the Steans Institute at the Ravinia Festival, Music in the Mountains, and the Great Lakes Music Festival; and recorded on the Aguavá, Bayer Records, and Indiana University School of Music labels.
Ms. Kim began her musical studies on the violin when she was three years old, followed by the piano two years later, in Los Angeles. She was a pupil of Alice Schoenfeld under the auspices of the Colburn School for the Performing Arts and the Young Musicians Foundation. Her first solo performance with orchestra came at age ten with the University of Southern California Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Herbert Zipper. Other solo appearances included concerts with the Brentwood-Westwood Symphony and the Marina del Rey-Westchester Symphony. She was a top prizewinner in competitions of the American String Teachers Association, VOCE, and the Korea Times, as well as the Pasadena Instrumental Competition and the Sigma Alpha Iota Competition. In 1986, the Korean Arts Community of Los Angeles presented Ms. Kim with a special award for outstanding musical achievement.
A 1987 ARTS awardee, Ms. Kim headed to Princeton University at age sixteen, one of the youngest matriculating members of her class. Wanting a change of direction, she put aside the violin and obtained a degree in Psychology with a focus in Neuroscience. A respite before continuing with medical school plans resulted in a Master of Music degree with Pi Kappa Lambda honors at Northwestern University – where she studied with Blair Milton – on a fellowship from the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. She became co-concertmaster of the Civic Orchestra, whose members voted her the recipient of the Louis Sudler Award. Ms. Kim has stayed the musical course and is now pursuing a doctoral degree in violin at Indiana University under the tutelage of Mauricio Fuks and Franco Gulli.
Music education and outreach have long been a vital facet of Ms. Kim's career. As a youth, she was a musical ambassador on the Emmy Award-winning "Musical Encounter." More recently, as Strings Director of the Columbus-Indiana Philharmonic, she oversaw programs that brought children and the community at large in more informal contact with professional musicians. She also helped stabilize and expand the enrollment and curriculum of a strings program for the two low-income elementary schools in Columbus. In addition, Ms. Kim was a Visiting Lecturer at Indiana University and Adjunct Lecturer at Indiana University-Purdue University at Columbus. She is currently an Artist On Tour with the Cincinnati Arts Association with a program that presents musical narrative for school children.
Before coming to the Springfield Symphony, Ms. Kim was concertmaster of the Columbus-Indiana Philharmonic and the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra. She soloed with both orchestras and the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra. At Indiana University, she gave the world premiere of Augusta Read Thomas' Spirit Musings with the New Music Ensemble. She has participated in the summer festivals of Aspen, American Russian Youth Orchestra, Schleswig-Holstein, and AIMS in Graz.
Ms. Kim's most rewarding collaboration these days is with her husband, composer and cellist Isaac Watras, and their sons, Elliott and Benjamin. They live in Cincinnati, where Ms. Kim has played with the Cincinnati Pops, the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, and the Cincinnati Ballet. She teaches violin for the Contemporary Performer's Workshop, a nonprofit music organization founded and directed by her husband. Although she misses the produce and beaches of her home state, this Dodgers and Lakers fan enjoys Findlay Market, the Cincinnati Zoo, and watching the barges on the Ohio River with her family.