DAVID HYUN-SU KIM has distinguished himself as one of the most thoughtful and distinctive musicians to emerge from the newest generation of American pianists. His concerts have been praised as “emotionally expansive” and “idiomatically perfect,” his interpretations as “spectacular,” and his Schumann playing has been singled out as “splendid and moving … His Florestan was elegantly calamitous, and his melodies representing Eusebius were like a dear friend whispering arcane truths to only you.”
Born in upstate New York to Korean immigrants, David’s early interests were in math, philosophy, and chemistry, and he matriculated at Cornell University as a Presidential Research and National Merit Scholar in chemistry. He never seriously considered music until a life-changing encounter with Beethoven’s piano sonatas convinced him to trade the lab stool for the piano bench. He launched himself into music, working at Cornell with Malcolm Bilson and James Webster, before heading to Europe where he made his orchestral debut in Vienna and continued his musical studies in Germany as a Fulbright scholar.
He returned to the United States to complete his training, and earned degrees in music from Yale, Harvard, and the New England Conservatory. These studies overlapped with an increase of his activity as a performer, and he is now primarily a concert artist. He has performed as a concerto soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician in Australia, South Korea, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom, as well as completing multiple east and west coast tours in North America. A frequent guest artist, he has conducted residencies at Stanford, Bucknell, Indiana-Bloomington, Duke, and Pennsylvania State Universities, the Universities of Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, Colby and Bowdoin Colleges, was a speaker and performer at the University of Michigan Piano Festival and the University of California-Berkeley’s Piano Institute, and has also appeared at the Banff Centre, Orvieto, and Norfolk Music festivals.
David has also undertaken two recording projects. His recently released solo debut CD of Mozart and Beethoven sonatas performed on a historically-appropriate Viennese 5-octave piano (available for purchase here) was critically acclaimed, with special praise for its ”great sensitivity to the music’s rhetoric, [yielding] movements that come across as journeys of discovery.” His second project, a much-anticipated all-Schumann CD on a Viennese 6 1/2-octave piano, is set to be released in 2019. (A sample is available here.)
In addition to his performance activities, David is also active as a musical thinker and scholar. He has won two international IES research grants, and written articles and chapters on early recordings, musical notation, piano organology, and improvisation. One of his earliest projects argued for a new understanding of hairpin notation, and points to the radically different interpretive practice suggested by the performances of Brahms’ closest students and colleagues. (For more on this, click here.) His current musical research centers on interdisciplinary approaches to interpretive process.
A sought-after pedagogue and adjudicator, David has taught at Yale and Harvard Universities. His students have gone on to win prizes in international competitions and been accepted for graduate study at Oberlin, the University of Michigan, and similar institutions. He currently serves as Associate Professor of Music at Whitman College (WA).
Last updated: September 2020 and valid for use until 1 July 2021. Please discard previously dated materials.