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Jonah Kim

Jonah Kim is an artist of great charisma and originality. Kim’s beauty of tone is immediately distinguishable by its signature sweetness. He invites the listener in with “the cozy warmth of a well-loved cashmere sweater" (Gramophone), then “dives into the music with courage underpinned by formidable technical prowess, with which he achieves a dazzling performance” (All About the Arts). 

Kim made his solo debut with Wolfgang Sawallisch and the Philadelphia Orchestra at 12 years of age, and has since captured the hearts of audiences around the world. Beyond the stage, his newest recording of the Kodaly Solo Sonata is being praised for “[capturing] the very elusiveness that gives the music its substance” (Gramophone) and “flawless delivery of its Herculean technical demands” (The Strad).

As artist-in-residence at San Luis Obispo's Festival Mozaic beginning fall of 2022, Kim produced and performed a series of multidisciplinary programs he titled Songs That Make Us Dance. He also composed a new chamber work and created a new ballet with choreographer and dancer Wei Wang and his wife, Julia Rowe, from the San Francisco Ballet. With original and traditional music, paintings, dance, and more, these programs are a powerful demonstration of how the arts bring communities together.

Kim is a cellist in Trio Barclay, the first Ensemble-in-Residence of Irvine Barclay Theatre in Orange County. Since their inception, they have commissioned a new work from a living composer for every concert they have performed on their home stage. They have also concertized across the United States and South Korea, with the Korean News calling him, “a true genius.”

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Kim taught himself cello by watching VHS tapes of Pablo Casals. He was awarded a full scholarship to The Juilliard School at seven. That same year, Kim became pen pals with Janos Starker who invited him to Bloomington. He would continue to travel to Indiana to study with Starker even throughout his career at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he enrolled at eleven. At Curtis, he was the first fellow to train with all of the instructors: Orlando Cole, David Soyer, Peter Wiley, and Lynn Harrell. Kim defines a truly American school of cello by reconciling the Italian, German, Russian, Franco-Spanish, and Hungarian lineages. 

“One of the very finest American cellists, he brings out things that you possibly never realized were in [the music]. He has that indefinable ‘it’ " (Art Music Lounge).