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Jonah Kim, Cello and Miles Graber, Piano
October 30, 2018
Jonah Kim, Cello and Miles Graber, Piano

Johannes Brahms

Cello Sonata in E Minor, Op. 38

Cello Sonata in F Major, Op. 99

Grammy-winning artist Jonah Kim made his solo debut with Wolfgang Sawallisch and the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2003. The same year, he also appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra where the Washington Post music critic Joseph McLellan called him simply, “the next Yo-Yo Ma.” Mr. Kim has soloed with the Atlantic Classical Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, New Philharmonia, Orquestra Sinfônica Nacional, Orchestra Filarmonica, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Symphony of the Americas and many others. He has played in prestigious venues such as New York City’s Carnegie Hall and Merkin Hall, Wigmore Hall in London, California’s Montalvo Arts Center, the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, the Kravis Center in Palm Beach, the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, the Phillips Collection and the John F. Kennedy Center in DC where Anne Midgette of the Washington Post praised, “Kim flirted with the line, shaped it, wrapped it around his fingers, pulled it out in a new dimension, all with practiced ease.”

Highly sought after internationally as a chamber musician, Mr. Kim is a founding member of the “hip, unstuffy, and malleable group” Ensemble San Francisco. He frequents festivals like the Atlantic Music Festival, Bari International Music Festival, Cactus Pear Music Festival, Chamber Music Silicon Valley, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Music in May Santa Cruz, and San Luis Obispo’s Festival Mozaic. As a fellow at the Curtis Institute, he formed a piano trio with Joel Link, currently first violinist of the award-winning Dover Quartet, and international piano sensation Yuja Wang. Coached by some of the leading musicians of their day, they explored the piano trio literature extensively. Since then, Mr. Kim has collaborated with world-class artists on four continents, sharing the stage with Elmar Oliveira, Jon Nakamatsu, Martin Beaver, Ian Swensen, Scott Yoo, Chee-Yun Kim and Romie de Guise-Langlois in recent seasons. In a review of his Debussy cello sonata with Ensemble San Francisco at Alliance Français’ French Festival, San Francisco Classical Voice critic David Bratman exclaimed: “this was an excellent performance, the best I’ve heard of this piece.”

Born in Seoul, Korea, Mr. Kim immigrated to the United States in 1995. His father, a Protestant pastor, possessed a keen ear for music despite no formal musical training and introduced him to the cello through VHS tapes of Pablo Casals playing the Bach’s Solo Cello Suites. Learning strictly by imitation, the seven-year-old was invited to train at the Juilliard School within the year. So began his professional training at Juilliard, but it was not until he met world-renowned soloist and pedagogue Janos Starker the following summer that he became certain music was his calling. Attending a New York City public school, learning to speak English, and adjusting to life in the United States was not always easy. Starker’s invitation to come study with him was pivotal, inspiring the young cellist to continue with renewed motivation. Starker later remarked, “Jonah is an exceptional talent. He is at the top of his generation.”

Mr. Kim graduated with top marks at only seventeen years of age from two of the most prestigious conservatories in the world on full scholarships, The Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music, regarded as two of the most exclusive educational institutions in the world. His biggest musical influences include Janos Starker, Mstislav Rostropovich and Yo-Yo Ma. He has also studied with cellists Peter Wiley, Orlando Cole, David Soyer, Joel Krosnick, Aldo Parisot, Lynn Harrell, violinists Jaime Laredo, Aaron Rosand, Joseph Silverstein, Arnold Steinhardt, and pianists Leon Fleisher, Gary Graffman, Seymour Lipkin, Claude Frank, and Edward Aldwell.

A fixture at top studios such as Skywalker Sound and the Hit Factory, Mr. Kim has won two Grammy Awards. He records across a spectrum of genres and has collaborated live in concert with artists like Andrea Bocelli, Vic Damone, and Kenny Rogers. Mr. Kim is also very active in community engagement, dedicated to sharing music and reaching out in ways that positively impact and heal people in need. He volunteers at schools, hospitals, assisted living facilities, religious institutions, and even juvenile detention centers. His masterclasses have been described as “captivating and hilarious… relevant to not only musicians, resonating with all walks of life.” Mr. Kim became the youngest instructor at CelloSpeak, a cello retreat at Bryn Mawr College, where he has lectured and experimented with new, innovative methods of cello playing since 2010. Last summer, he was invited to join the illustrious faculty at Interlochen Center for the Arts Summer Camp where he returns this summer. He plays a Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume cello made in 1845 generously on loan, as well as a 2016 Haide Lin, an award-winning instrument at the Indianapolis Violin Society of America Competition. His bow was made in 1904 by Jules Fetique à Paris.

Miles Graber received his musical training at the Juilliard School, where he studied with Anne Hull, Phyllis Kreuter, and Louise Behrend. He has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1971, where he has developed a wide reputation as an accompanist and collaborative pianist for instrumentalists and singers. He is a member of the chamber groups Trio Concertino, MusicAEterna, and the Sor Ensemble. Mr. Graber has been associated with many ensembles in the bay area including the San Francisco Chamber Soloists, Midsummer Mozart, the Oakland-East Bay Symphony, and the California Symphony. He has accompanied master classes by such artists as Midori, Nadia Salerno-Sonnenberg, James Galway and Lynn Harrell.