about me.

Hailed for possessing “admirable purity of tone and accuracy” (James Oestreich, The New York Times), James Kim has performed with orchestras such as the Boston Symphony and Royal Philharmonic. He has worked with conductors including David Zinman, Michael Sanderling, Alexander Shelley, Keith Lockhart, Tan Dun, Matthias Bamert, Frank Braley, Benjamin Zander, and others. These concerto appearances have led him to Carnegie Stern Auditorium and Zankel Hall, Boston Symphony Hall, Jordan Hall, and Metropolitan Museum of Art. He has given solo recitals at Carnegie Weill Hall, the Midday Masterpieces Series at the Greene Space, McGraw Hill Young Artist Showcase hosted by Robert Sherman, Garden City Chamber Music Series curated by Bruce Adolphe, and Beautiful Thursday Series of Kumho Art Hall. His performances have been broadcasted on radio stations NPR and WQXR.

In his native Korea, he has appeared as soloist with Daegu, Korean, Gwacheon, and S.O.N.G. Symphonies; Incheon, Daejeon, and Goyang Philharmonics; and TIMF and KBS orchestras. These engagements have taken place at Seoul Arts Center, Lotte Concert Hall, Tongyeong Concert Hall, and Daegu Concert House.

He is a champion of Korean composer Shinuh Lee. In 2021, he premiered her Cello Concerto (1999/2021) with Wonju Philharmonic Orchestra. In the same year, Sony Classical released his album Death and Offering presenting her works. The disc features her title piece for cello and piano (with pianist Ilya Rashkovskiy) and Caprice No. 3 “Tangy” for cello and soundtrack, both dedicated to him, as well as Psalmody (2016) and Expression (1993) for solo cello. It is found on iTunes, Spotify, and other music platforms. In December 2023, he will perform works from the album in recital at IBK Chamber Hall at Seoul Arts Center.

His performances have garnered rave reviews, among them from Harris Goldsmith of New York Concert Review, who attended his Carnegie Weill Hall debut in 2013:

“There are debuts and debuts: the blood bank of human endeavor is forever bringing new musical talent to the fore. But I daresay, the recital of a 19-year-old cellist at Weill Hall on February 3rd was more than merely excellent, it was an historical coming of a fully honed master virtuoso; one is compelled to formulate new standards for the golden instrument. But all of this foregoing is commonplace: after a few astonishing and beautifully tapered, long spun phrases of Schubert’s ‘Arpeggione’ Sonata, D. 821, this astonished and experienced connoisseur realized that James Kim is a miracle. Never mind my hyperbole; the absolute perfection of his playing, technically, musically and, had me recalling Casals, Fournier, Rostropovich and Tortelier (of a very different school) but likewise, Feuermann, Yo-Yo-Ma, Miklós Perényi, Heifetz (of a closely analogous virtuoso persuasion), and of course Kim’s mentors, Starker and Parisot. Never before, have I encountered such winged ease, such airborne joy, such silken smooth bowing and tone production. All of these facets were present at the service of stylistic knowledge, bracing rhythmic thrust and most importantly, an inviting warmth and modest honesty.”

His interpretation of Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto on his debut at Carnegie Stern Auditorium with David Zinman and The Juilliard Orchestra in 2015 was also met with praise:

“. . . Instead, Mr. Kim was deft, thunderous when needed, and in that extraordinary polyphonic cadenza, he did something rare. Yes, it was performed without a hitch, it was transparent, vital, lyrical. But Mr. Kim never seemed to find its agonizing difficulty. He never sculpted out its passions. Rather, he played that cadenza with a brooding, sensitive, exceptional expression. With Mr. Zinman directing the complex orchestral part behind him, it was a noble and memorable performance” (Harry Rolnick, ConcertoNet).

He is a recipient of Salon de Virtuosi’s Sony Career Grant and a top prizewinner of Isang Yun and David Popper International Cello Competitions. From 2016 to 2021, he performed on a Matteo Goffriller cello from Venice ca. 1715, generously loaned by Samsung Cultural Foundation and Stradivari Society® of Chicago, Illinois.

In 2022, he served as guest principal cellist of Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. He is a member of Sejong Soloists and Ensemble DITTO.  

His edition of Pietro Locatelli’s Sonata in D Major for Two Cellos, co-edited with Daniel Morganstern, was published by International Music Company in 2020. Its preface includes his technical guidance on upbow staccato. 

He regularly gives guest lectures and leads seminars and workshops at Seoul National University’s College of Music. His private students have won top prizes at major international cello competitions in Europe and Asia.  

He holds an Artist Diploma from The Juilliard School, where he served as Studio Teaching Assistant to Joel Krosnick, and a Doctor of Musical Arts from Manhattan School of Music, where he was a Teaching Fellow. His teachers include Susan Moses, Janos Starker, Laurence Lesser, Aldo Parisot, Joel Krosnick, and Philippe Muller.