Acclaimed violinist performs at River Campus

Thursday, June 26, 2008
KIT DOYLE ~ Award-winning violinist David Kim spoke with colleagues and fans following his performance with the Southern Illinois Music Festival Orchestra Wednesday evening at the River Campus in Cape Girardeau. Kim is concertmaster with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

David Kim, acclaimed violinist and a native of Carbondale, Ill., returned to the area Wednesday night to perform a solo with the Southern Illinois Music Festival Orchestra and get in touch with his roots.

The concert at the River Campus began at 7:30 p.m. and lasted for about an hour and a half. The same concert was held Tuesday night in Carbondale. The orchestra, which included members of the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, came to Cape Girardeau because Edward Benyas, artistic director and conductor for the orchestra, wanted to play at the new River Campus.

"It's a gorgeous hall," he said.

The orchestra performed Gioacchino Rossini's Overture to "Semiramide," "Scottish Fantasy" by Max Bruch and Franz Josef Haydn's Symphony No. 96, or the "Miracle Symphony," so known because a chandelier fell before its first performance in London but no one was hurt.

Kim performed his solo during "Scottish Fantasy," which he says he performs regularly.

"I love it," he said about the piece. "It's so warm, friendly."

Kim contacted Benyas in 2005 about performing in the festival. He was born in Carbondale, but his parents moved away when he was 2 weeks old. "I'd never been here," Kim said.

Kim's parents came to the United States from Korea in 1962. His parents received degrees in music and journalism from Southern Illinois University. Kim said he wanted to return to Carbondale and see where his parents lived and understand their lives.

"I wanted to walk in their footsteps," he said.

Kim attended the Juilliard School in New York City, where he received his bachelor's and master's degrees. He was the only American to receive a prize in the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1986. In 1990, he received an award at the International Violin Competition in Indianapolis, Ind.

Kim was a guest performer Wednesday night; he is usually the concertmaster for the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Thin crowd at the River Campus

Only about 50 people attended the concert at the River Campus Wednesday night. The low turnout was a concern that almost caused the concert to be canceled.

Benyas said he had hoped to not lose money on the concert but that he thought he would.

"But that's OK," Benyas said. "The important thing is to play music for the people."

Bob Cerchio, assistant director for the school of performing arts at Southeast Missouri State University, said he was not pleased with the turnout. He said one reason might be that the concert was held on the same night as other concerts in Sikeston and Jackson.

But he thought the crowd that attended was engaged with the orchestra. He hoped the crowd that came Wednesday will come again and spread the word to others in the area.

"There have to be 200 to 300 in Cape -- at a minimum -- classical music fans," he said. Members of the concert audience expressed enthusiasm for classical music.

Jane Stephens of Cape Girardeau, who used to attend concerts regularly when she lived in Philadelphia, came to the concert with her neighbor, Frances Brockett.

"I love the music," Stephens said.

Ron and Karen Demmin of Cobden, Ill., who were celebrating their 37th wedding anniversary, had never been to the River Campus before and were excited to see Kim perform. Ron Demmin started learning to play the violin 3 1/2 years ago, and his teacher was in the orchestra.

335-6611, extension 197

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Violinist David Kim

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