Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant

AHA Violinist Performs ‘Dream Piece’ at Philadelphia International Music Festival’s Virtual Master Class

Demarest, NJ: Nayoun Kim realized a childhood dream when she performed Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major at The Philadelphia International Music Festival’s October virtual master class.

“Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto was one of the pieces that led me into the musical world. It has always been my dream to play it,” the Academy of the Holy Angels junior said. “Every single moment I work with this piece is a cherished moment to me. This piece is known by a lot of people, including violinists and non-violinists, which means that it has to be played very well, and has to be precise, and traditionally engaged while performing my own music. It is hard technically and musically, but I have always wanted to play this piece since I was little.”

In fact, Kim reported that playing the violin became her aspiration after she received a toy version of the instrument from her mother several years ago.

During the virtual master class, Kim and her peers from around the world performed for members of the prestigious Philadelphia Orchestra, including Assistant Concertmaster Marc Rovetti. Each instrumentalist received a professional critique.

Asked about the feedback she received, Kim said she would use the comments from Rovetti and the other instructors while she is practicing.

“Music is not like math or science. Sometimes, you can fully understand it verbally and even memorize the meanings, but can't get it out when you perform because the understanding behind it is not enough. You have to really look into what they have told you and make it a consideration and try to translate it into your own music, way, or word if necessary,” Kim said. “I am a soloist. (Rovetti) is an orchestral player. His advice helped me to think about how an orchestra would feel if I performed a solo part in certain ways.” Kim added that Rovetti’s comments also opened her ear toward the orchestra’s part.

While Tchaikovsky composed Kim’s dream piece, she also appreciates works by a range of musicians, including Debussy and Bartok.

When preparing for a performance, she tries to stay focused and practices as much as possible.

“Yes, it is hard to stay on task for 4-6 hours a day, sometimes more, but even when I am not practicing, I try to put violin as my first priority,” she explained. A week or two before the event, she anticipates her concert day schedule, and synchronizes her daily practices and meal times accordingly so she becomes accustomed to the cycle.

Commenting on the differences between in-person and virtual performances, Kim noted that she finds online events more comfortable and relaxing.

“At the same time, it is sad because when I perform on the stage all dressed up, I can feel more music and direct connections with the audiences, my pianist, and orchestra. When we do it virtually, it is hard to feel that. Also, there is no party, dinner, chitchat, and picture time after the performance.”

Kim studies violin with Li Lin from the Juilliard Pre-college Division and AHA Instrumental Music Director Mariann Annecchino.

“Nayoun has a very intense relationship with her music and she expresses her understanding of music with thoughtfulness and maturity,” Annecchino shared.

Kim won the Juilliard Pre-college Tzigane Competition, performed at the opening ceremony for the Young Tchaikovsky International Violin Competition, and became a finalist in From the Top. She has won competitions in Korea and was a top prize winner in the Fifth Hong Kong International Violin Competition. In 2019, she traveled to Germany to perform at the Louis Spohr International Violin Competition. Kim plays for the AHA Orchestra and the Academy’s Select Strings ensemble.

Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious high school serves young women from a broad spectrum of cultural and religious backgrounds. Over time, thousands of women have passed through AHA’s portals. Many go on to study at some of the nation’s best universities, earning high-ranking positions in medicine, government, law, education, public service, business, arts, and athletics. The Academy’s current leaders continue to further the SSND mission to provide each student with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential—spiritually, intellectually, socially, and physically, by offering a first-rate education in a nurturing environment where equal importance is placed on academic excellence, character development, moral integrity, and service to others.

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