Whether playing in the intimate setting of a string quartet or performing a concerto on the stage of a concert hall, Benny Kim’s “emotional depth and musical carriage are his real drawing cards. His is a style that touches the peak of romantic violin playing.” (The Washington Post) Known for his versatility as soloist, chamber musician and teacher, Mr. Kim has been described as having “titanium technique” and producing “exquisite, pearly colorations.”
Benny is a proud product of the Suzuki Method, which he began at age 10 with Doris Preucil. He continued his violin studies with Almita Vamos and at the age of 15 won the Chicago Symphony Youth Symphony Auditions, making his solo debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. One year later he won the St. Louis Symphony Youth Auditions and the Julius Stulberg Auditions. Kim went on to graduate with a Bachelor and Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School where he studied with legendary pedagogue, Dorothy DeLay. In 1983, Mr. Kim won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions at the age of 20. While at Juilliard, the residents of Macomb, IL, Benny’s hometown, heard the news that he was preparing to purchase a violin. This small community, along with faculty members of Western Illinois University, began a fundraising campaign to contribute to the purchase. In 1987 he acquired a 1732 Stradivarius violin.
Collaborating with long-time friends plays an important role in Benny Kim’s musical career and has resulted in two EMI recordings with Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Bella Italia and Night and Day, frequent performances with the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, and many engagements with his brother, cellist Eric Kim. In past seasons, Benny has performed in concert with violinist Daniel Hope at the Savannah Music Festival, Norway’s Trondheim Chamber Music Festival, Queen Elizabeth Hall in London and most recently at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center in New York, NY.
Benny has performed with the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Boston, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Detroit, and internationally with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Orquésta Sinfonica Nacional de México, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the major orchestras of South Africa. In recital, Kim has performed in virtually every major city in the United States, including critically acclaimed engagements at New York’s 92nd St. Y and at Washington DC’s Kennedy Center.
Mr. Kim is first violinist of the Miami String Quartet, winner of the prestigious Cleveland Quartet Award, and Quartet in Residence at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. Highlights of recent seasons include performances on the Quartets Plus Series at Carnegie Hall and the Fortas Chamber Music Series at the Kennedy Center. The quartet has also enjoyed working with student in limited residencies in Hong Kong and Bogota, Colombia. The ensemble’s commitment to new music has led to many commissions and premieres, including Concierto de Cámara by Roberto Sierra, Septet by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Angels by Joan Tower and Green Sneakers by Ricky Ian Gordon.
Benny spends most summers playing chamber music with friends at festivals around the world, including the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire, Bravo!-Vail Valley Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, Mecklenburg and Schleswig –Holstein Festivals in Germany and the Bristol Festival in England.
Benny and his golden retriever, Cubby, make their home outside Kansas City on the Falcon Ridge Golf Course.