Summer festival with serious musicians

Thursday, June 19, 2008

To find a professional orchestral performance in the Midwest is a rarity, but the Southern Illinois Music Festival is raising the bar, bringing a series of prestigious concerts to the area.

The festival is in its fourth year, and coordinator Andrew Martin said it's the largest one yet.

With 59 performances over a 19-day period, the festival is keeping the coordinators and musicians busy. It started June 12 and members of the Chicago Chamber Orchestra accompanied by other musicians are performing Wednesday in Cape Girardeau.

Both coordinators said they are excited for the festival's first time appearance at Southeast Missouri State University's River Campus.

"After visiting the River Campus, I said it was the nicest venue in the Western Hemisphere," said Stephen Jones, a coordinator of the festival.

"I was very impressed with everything."

David Kim will be joining members of the orchestra to perform "Scottish Fantasy," which is written specifically for a violin virtuoso.

Kim fits the role: He has been playing violin since the age of 3, received his master's at Julliard and is the only American violinist to win a prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.

Kim is the concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra. The concertmaster holds a great responsibility as the first chair violin player who leads the string instruments.

"This is a very prestigious position, especially if it is for one of the top 10 orchestras in the world," Jones said.

Kim said he loves playing concerts and classical music is his livelihood.

"I would venture to guess that if you asked the majority of classical musicians who make their living performing classical music, a lot of them have stories that tell it is a lifelong passion," Kim said.

The cost of the concert is $15 for the public and $6 for students. To purchase tickets or to learn more about the festival and David Kim, visit

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