Classical pianist Jeeyoon Kim delights audiences with her sensitive artistry, colorful musical expression and insightful commentary from the stage.
Her most recent album, “10 More Minutes,” was released in December 2016. The album is a collection of encore pieces that Jeeyoon has performed over the years when both the audience and the performer long for “10 more minutes” of connection before the concert concludes.
Today, as a classical concert pianist, Jeeyoon performs for audiences in concert halls all over the United States, from San Francisco to New York, the Mozarteum Festival in Salzburg, Austria, the San Diego Symphony Chamber Music Series, and the La Jolla Music Society Discovery Series. As an active chamber musician, she has collaborated with other soloists including violinist Phillippe Quint, Ning Feng and Cellist Johannes Moser.
Jeeyoon Kim began studying the piano when she was just four years old. Her love of music and the piano propelled her through her undergraduate studies in piano performance in Korea, and onto Indiana University’s renowned Jacob School of Music where she earned a Master’s Degree in Music Education and a Doctorate Degree in Piano Performance. She will make her Carnegie Hall debut on December 14, 2017, playing selections from her “10 More Minutes” album in a concert presented by Captivate Artists.
So you’remaking your big debut at Carnegie Hall in December. What are your sentiments about your upcoming debut?
Carnegie Hall is probably one of the most desired venues to perform at for any musician in the world. “I’m very excited” or “I’m thrilled to be there” is an understatement. Also something about playing there for the first time makes the experience extra special. The combination of New York City and Carnegie Hall is just dreamy. I know that many of my supporters and fans will actually fly to New York from many different cities to be with me at Carnegie Hall. I just can’t wait. If I could, I don’t ever want to wake up from that dream!
Canyou tell us a bit about your concert program?
This is my “10 More Minutes” concert tour. “10 More Minutes” is the title of my album that was released last December with a collection of my favorite pieces in a feeling of audiences wishing ‘ten more minutes’ at concerts. I’ve been performing these concerts entitled “10 More Minutes” since then.
A part of the program is from the album, but not all. In these concerts, I give a personal commentary from the stage for each piece on what it means to me and what the audience could listen for, and my entire list of the program is given after the concert, not beforehand. That is my intention and I hope to have the audience more engaged with me in that journey. There is no intermission nor my disappearing backstage.
Do you prefer a live performance or a recording?
This is an interesting question. Even if it may not be note perfect, I always prefer a live performance. In a live performance, it becomes a shared experience. Each individual in the space makes the moment unique and special. We are different on each day and in every moment. Even if I play the same piece twice back to back, it is never the same. I believe that music is a living organism and I love it in the most fresh stage of live performances. In a way, I’ve wanted to create an album as close as possible to my live performances as I realized that with an album I can share music with more people.
In my “10 More Minutes” album note, I wrote , “Even if it happens once and never again, I want you to spare an hour from your life, find a quiet place and listen through my album with headphones, reading my notes along for each piece.” I imagined meeting them in their quiet time in spirit through the album. At this point, many people have listened to the album and even came to my ‘10 More Minutes’ concerts, then still choose to come to the concert again. I believe that they experience something very different in each live performance.
What are some activities that you enjoy outside of music?
I enjoy working out; I do long distance swimming, working out at a gym, and nowadays I am getting more into doing yoga. I think I am finally starting to understand the beauty of yoga. My yoga teacher once said to me that the hardest pose in yoga is ‘Savasana’, a corpse pose, which is where you relax in a lying down position, allowing your body and mind to let go. I thought that she was joking, as I thought that it could be the easiest pose in the world. Then when she put the blanket over my body and covered my eyes, telling me to imagine as if I would be in a moment before death, and try to let go of everything. Then I understood the difficulty of the pose… I practice each day to be more peaceful, to be more awake and to be more grateful, living fully as if today is the last day of my life.
Can you name three ingredients for success in piano?
Perseverance, passion, empathy
What do you hope to accomplish in the next 10 years?
I would like to create more albums and give more concerts. Through that process, I hope to lift people up through my music making, connecting and sharing more classical music. I would like to continue to be a classical music ambassador who spreads the beauty of it through my performances and projects. I hope to be remembered as a pianist and person whom they can gain energy and courage from for their life through my music making, and also a musician that they always want to listen to more. Perhaps always wishing “10 more minutes” of my music… (wink wink)
Would you like to share your future plans and projects in the works?
This would be the first place that I am sharing my idea for my next project in my mind for 2018. I am thinking to create an album with an idea of ‘soaring’. I would like to give a sense of flying, weightlessness, looking up, going beyond, and lifting people up.
Also I hope to collaborate with nature photographers with Brahms’ original theme variation, subtitled as ‘Philosophical Variation’, pairing one nature photo for each movement.
Jeeyoon Kim performs on Thursday, December 14, 2017 at Carnegie Hall. For tickets, click here. Learn more about Jeeyoon Kim and sign up for Jeeyoon’s newsletter through her website or follow her social media at Facebook or Instagram.