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David Kim

A Q&A with Concertmaster David Kim

Posted by:  The Philadelphia Orchestra on May 28, 2024

In celebration of Concertmaster David Kim's 25th anniversary with The Philadelphia Orchestra, we asked him a few questions.

What are some of the standout moments from your 25 years in the Orchestra?

For me, the friendships and relationships with colleagues, music directors, guest conductors, and soloists stand out as particularly meaningful and memorable. And yes, that means even more than the music itself. I have encountered such extraordinary human beings who, apart from their otherworldly musical talents, are the most kind, caring, and genuine people who I can honestly call friends. 

To you, what makes The Philadelphia Orchestra so special?

The history and tradition of the institution are second to none. It really is the unique depth and quality of the ensemble sound that I find unmatched on the world's stages.

How has the Orchestra changed since you started in 1999?

When I first entered the Orchestra in 1999, there were fewer women and minorities represented in the ranks of “the band” as we call it in the business. I love how we are now a true rainbow of artists from around the globe. Like a fine wine that is formulated with a perfect combination of grapes combining to create complexity and beauty, so goes The Philadelphia Orchestra. The collection of talent on that stage makes the music-making a beautiful mosaic of colors and voices. 

How have you grown personally over the last 25 years with the organization, and how has your leadership as concertmaster changed?

When I first started, I was so full of ambition, pride, and most of all, insecurity. I thought I had to be the most revered, the most respected … the hero. Oh, how foolish I was. But with a wise wife, caring colleagues/friends, and mentoring conductors gently guiding me, slowly I was able to learn from my many mistakes and learn how to do my job—with only the betterment of the institution and “product” in mind. 

What do you like most about your role?

To be honest, and this might sound very petty, but on tour, I really appreciate having my own dressing room. All the travel is stressful and tiring. I love having a place to be in a quiet space before the concert, preparing for the musical journey that is to come that evening. 

What do you hope to see in your next 25 years?

Twenty-five years? LOL I will be long gone well before then, handing the reins to a well-deserving … and nervous violinist. At least for the foreseeable future, I hope for a continued emphasis on touring, each season taking our beloved Orchestra to adoring audiences not only around the Delaware Valley but throughout the United States and beyond. 

Photo: Allie Skylar Photography

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