James Jihyun Kim

Oboe

Hometown: Seoul, Korea
Alma maters: The Juilliard School, B.M.; Stony Brook University, M.M.; Yale School of Music, A.D.
Awards/Competitions: Honorable Mention, 2013 IDRS Fernand Gillet-Hugo Fox International Oboe Competition
Appearances: Pablo Casals Music Festival, France; Norfolk Chamber Music Festival; Aspen Music Festival
Musical origins: I started to play the oboe at the age of 15. I used to play violin and piano before but it never became serious. I always wanted to play a wind instrument but I never knew about oboe until I heard it for the first time. The sound was so attractive and I felt like it changed the mood of the entire music when the instrument was played. That’s how I started to play oboe, and it was after a couple of years later when I found out that the hardest thing about this instrument is that I have to make my own reeds. It was too late to change my instrument when I found it out. Now I am happy that I didn’t change my mind to play another instrument. Making reeds is always challenging but it is surely rewarding.
What inspired you to audition for TŌN?  My teacher and friends introduced me to TŌN. I heard about the program from them and I loved the idea that it is designed to educate exceptional orchestral musicians. Performing with great conductors and colleagues is always inspiring. 
Favorite piece to play: Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin
Favorite fact about your instrument: The reed is almost like another instrument itself. It has its own pitch and tone.
Favorite non-musical hobby or activity: Watching a movie by Christopher Nolan
Favorite painting: Café Terrace at Night by Van Gogh
Piece of advice for a young classical musician: Find a great teacher. It will change your motivation.

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