South Korean-born New Zealand pianist Somi Kim has travelled the world in her career as a musician. After training at the Royal Academy of Music, she’s performed in countries from France and Italy to Poland and the UK. In 2019, she joined the NZTrio, one of New Zealand’s most well-known trios, and is currently touring the country as part of the group’s InterFusions tour. Here, Kim takes some time out to answer a few quick questions for the AMC.
When did you start playing the piano and what’s the first memory you have of playing piano?
I started playing the piano when I was five. My mum used to take me to these interactive keyboard lessons in Korea, where we just had a lot of fun and I think that’s when my love for music blossomed!
Being born in South Korea, has the country had much influence on your music career?
We immigrated to NZ when I was very young, aged seven. I would love to go back and explore South Korea again as an adult, but I haven’t had the chance to do so yet.
What are you most proud of in your career? And what’s been the most difficult thing you’ve faced in your career?
Music has helped shape me into the person that I am today – I am most proud of the musical personality that I’ve developed over the past decade or so. Living abroad for the last seven years have opened up my eyes and ears to the wealth of artistry there is in the world.
There are so many difficulties you face as a musician, but I’ve found that being thankful for the hardships, embracing your flaws and overcoming your fears only makes you stronger as an artist.
How does performing in New Zealand compare to some of the other countries you’ve performed in?
Music is such a universal language – there are similarities in the way it reaches out to audiences wherever you are in the world. I am feeling extremely grateful to be New Zealand during these unprecedented times – during our recent tour around the country we were greeted by warm audiences, lovely halls and some stunning pianos!
Tell me about your upcoming show with the NZTrio, InterFusions – how did this come about? How were the pieces for the show selected?
Our show offers an intriguing exploration of ancestry, diversity and heritage. Our concert begins with a powerful masterwork from Beethoven in a toast to his enduring influence on European music traditions. Then we swerve off into radically diverse realms – each a visceral mosh-pit of geographical, cultural and religious influences.
InterFusions tours the globe through rich combinations of Greek-Canadian, Sri Lankan-Canadian and Japanese-Kiwi flavours, returning to Europe for the equally aromatic masterpiece of Ravel.
What’s your favourite piece of music?
I like to treat everything that I am working on at the moment as my favourite piece of music! In saying that, I’ve listened to a lot of Bach, Ravel and Rachmaninoff this year.
NZTrio perform their concert InterFusions at the Auckland Town Hall’s Concert Chamber on 18 October & at the Hawkes Bay Festival on 25 October. Full details and more concert dates at: https://nztrio.com/event-directory/
– Asia Media Centre
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