Pacific Overtures: September

Here’s the latest edition of my newsletter.

Contents:

  1. September Concerts Roundup
  2. Interview: Dennis Kim
  3. Interview: Meredith Crawford
  4. Listen to This: Boléro
  5. Single Tickets
  6. Connections Series Renamed
  7. Video: Festive Overture
  8. Essential Books (4)
  9. Miscellany

Pacific Overtures. September, 2018.

Interview: Dennis Kim, concertmaster

By TIMOTHY MANGAN

Dennis Kim is the new concertmaster of Pacific Symphony, named in April to the position after a long search, replacing Raymond Kobler, who retired in 2016 after 17 years with the orchestra. Kim just moved to Irvine the other day, but already looked like a local as he waited for a reporter to arrive: athletic shorts, a logo T-shirt and neon-colored running shoes. Sitting on a bench outside a coffee and bagels place, he was checking his cell phone, just like natives everywhere. The only thing that gave him away as a foreigner was the logo on the shirt. It belonged to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Born in Korea, Kim moved to Toronto when he was three months old, grew up and learned to play the violin there. He’s moved here from Buffalo, where he served as concertmaster of the Buffalo Philharmonic for the last three years and drove regularly to Toronto (90 minutes away) to teach there at the Royal Conservatory of Music, his alma mater. He starts his new job in September. You’ll see him in the first chair for the annual Tchaikovsky Spectacular on Sept. 8, at Pacific Amphitheatre, and then at the opening concerts of the indoor season Sept. 27-29, at Segerstrom Concert Hall. In the latter concerts, the audience will get to hear Kim as a soloist in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, K. 364.

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Strauss conducts Strauss

Richard Strauss conducts his own “Till Eulenspiegel.” This is a clip from the documentary “The Art of Conducting: Great Conductors of the Past.” The first voice you hear speaking is Yehudi Menuhin’s.

Carl St.Clair conducts Strauss’s “Ein Heldenleben” this week, doubtless with more enthusiasm.

 

Pacific Symphony names new concertmaster

After more than a yearlong search, Pacific Symphony music director Carl St.Clair named violinist Dennis Kim as the orchestra’s new concertmaster today. He replaces concertmaster Raymond Kobler, who retired in the summer of 2016 after 17 years in the position.

“In Dennis Kim, I welcome a brilliant violinist, consummate musician and a dedicated musical partner,” St.Clair said. “As one who has been concertmaster of leading international orchestras, he is just the right artist to lead Pacific Symphony and its wonderful musicians toward all our musical aspirations.”

“I am excited and honored to take this important position with Pacific Symphony,” Kim said. “When Carl and I first worked together, there was an instant spark and both of us knew there was a special chemistry in our music making.”

Kim, a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Yale School of Music, will assume the Eleanor and Michael Gordon Concertmaster Chair in September, at the beginning of Pacific Symphony’s 40th anniversary. He has already been playing with the orchestra, however, appearing as concertmaster in its three performances at Soka Performing Arts Center this season. 

In concerts June 14-17, Kim will perform as concertmaster-designate in a program that features Richard Strauss’s “Ein Heldenleben,” a work with extensive violin solos.

Born in 1975 in Korea, Kim is currently concertmaster of the Buffalo Philharmonic under music director JoAnn Falletta. He has also served as concertmaster of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Seoul Philharmonic and the Tampere Philharmonic (in Finland). Additionally, Kim has performed as a guest concertmaster with a number of orchestras, including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Helsinki Philharmonic among others.

“Dennis is such a great match for Carl’s passionate approach to music making,” Pacific Symphony president John Forsyte said. “He possesses experience with such a wide range of orchestral, solo and chamber repertoire. We welcome him and his family to Orange County and wish him a long and artistically rewarding tenure.”

Kim’s teachers have included Jaime Laredo, Aaron Rosand and Peter Oundjian. He plays a violin with a distinguished pedigree, the 1701 “ex-Dushkin” Stradivarius, once owned by the violinist and Stravinsky collaborator Samuel Dushkin.