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Biography
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. Together, Benny and Eric have performed their signature piece, the Brahms Double Concerto, numerous times and were the featured soloists in this piece at the 2011 American String Teachers Association National Convention with the UMKC Conservatory Orchestra in Kansas City. In February 2011 they were guest artists at The Colburn School Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, playing chamber music with faculty and students in Zipper Concert Hall. In 2010, Benny performed in concert with violinist Daniel Hope at the Savannah Music Festival, Norway’s Trondheim Chamber Music Festival and at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London.

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, 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, whose members participate as faculty members and Quartet in Residence at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. Highlights of 2010 include performances on the Quartets Plus Series at Carnegie Hall and the Fortas Chamber Music Series at the Kennedy Center. 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 country, including the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire, Bravo!-Vail Valley Music Festival, and Chamber Music Northwest. During the year, he is associate professor of violin at the University of Missouri/Kansas City Conservatory of Music.

Benny is a golf fanatic and has become accustomed to traveling with a violin case in one hand and his clubs in the other. Some of his favorite courses include Pine Valley Golf Club in Pine Valley, NJ; The Honors Club in Ooltewah, TN; Hudson National Golf Club in Croton-on-Hudson, NY; and Blackwolf Run in Kohler, WI. For many years, he has coordinated an annual golf outing in Hilton Head, South Carolina, in which 12-16 friends, all musicians from around the country, gather to eat, drink and, of course, play golf. (Bringing instruments is frowned upon!). He and his golden retriever, Yogi, make their home outside Kansas City on the Falcon Ridge Golf Course.
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