Michelle Kim

Music is my life path. Each person has the power and responsibility to use their talent and skills to help others. Through music, I hope to unite and inspire people to understand and improve the world that we all live in.
I was born in Seoul, South Korea and started piano lessons when I was five before switching to violin. My family moved to southern California and I made my solo orchestra debut at age 10, playing Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto with the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra.
Throughout my high school years, I studied music at the Colburn School and, in the summers, at Idyllwild Arts. But I promised my family – and myself – that I’d give up the violin for something more practical. I majored in Statistics at the University of California at Berkeley, but continued violin lessons with San Francisco Symphony members. I played in the UC Berkeley Symphony for four years and won the music department’s concerto competition twice. And I received the Alfred Hertz Memorial Scholarship to study music independently.
I realized that I could not give up my passion for music. I decided to give my everything to becoming a professional musician. After my Berkeley graduation, I moved to New York to study on scholarship for two years at the Manhattan School of Music with Laurie Carney of the American String Quartet.
Immediately after graduating with a Master’s Degree, I won the first violin section position at the Washington National Opera Orchestra under Placido Domingo at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Since choosing my path, I’ve attended the Aspen Music Festival, the Salzburg Mozarteum Academy Festival, Music and Sound at the Banff Centre, and the New York String Quartet Seminar. In 2015, I gave a recital at the In Spiritum International Festival in Porto, Portugal.
As a member of Musica Aperta, I’ve introduced and taught classical music to young students in the DC Public Schools. I have also given private lessons at the Holton Arms School in Bethesda, Maryland. In 2016, I spoke on “Everything is a Remix of Creativity and Innovation” to a Social Entrepreneurship class at George Washington University, and in 2017 gave a chamber music master class at Georgetown University.
At Carnegie Hall, I was guest concertmaster of the New England Symphonic Ensemble in the world premiere performance of Oh My Son. In 2012, I played with visiting musicians from Tunisia to commemorate the Jasmine Revolution in their country. This inspired me to start Culture Saves, a humanitarian organization that restores hope and promotes peace in troubled areas through the arts. In 2014, I performed for then Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and then South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo at the US Institute of Peace.
Working closely with world-renowned tenor Placido Domingo, my mentor who was Director of the Washington National Opera, and with world-class musicians at the Kennedy Center further inspired me to grow as a musician and to find my own voice. I started to compose and arrange music and got my first electric violin in 2013.
Playing the electric violin and creating my own sounds have transformed me. I’ve performed at the International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings, at the National Association of Health Underwriters Annual Conference, as well as at a Dewey Beach, Maryland dance party playing Electronic Dance Music with a DJ.
At the Italian Embassy in Washington, I’ve played in three annual Becky’s Fund Walk This Way Fashion Shows raising $440,000 to stop domestic violence. In 2017, I performed my own piece Con Spero at the United Nations in New York. Later that year, I founded and now lead Electric Fantasy, a six-piece instrumental band with multi-genre musicians from the Washington National Opera, that has performed twice at the Kennedy Center.

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