Korean-born clarinetist WONKAK KIM has captivated audiences around the world with his “excellent breath control” (The Washington Post) and “exuberant musicianship” (Fanfare). Kim appeared as a soloist and chamber musician at major venues throughout the United States such as Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and Constitution Hall as well as in Paris, London, Madrid, Ghent, Geneva, Seoul, Osaka, Costa Rica, and Brazil. A Naxos Recording Artist, he has garnered international acclaim through his extensive discography: Gulfstream, a collection of new American chamber music, was named “Music US Choice” by BBC Music Magazine and praised for its “very highest quality” (Gramophone, UK). The Clarinet lauded Kim’s “sensitive playing, a lovely sound and consummate facility” in François Devienne: Clarinet Sonatas. On his recent Naxos release of Stephen Krehl’s Clarinet Quintet, American Record Guide wrote: “Kim renders the Clarinet Quintet with a clear and nicely rounded timbre…with seamless blend and excellent legato.” Kim’s live and recorded performances have been featured on Radio France, Swedish Radio, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, CJPX Radio Classique Québec, Hong Kong RTHK-HK, Korean Broadcasting System, and NPR stations around the US. Kim is Buffet Crampon, Silverstein, and Vandoren Performing Artist and plays exclusively on Buffet Tosca Clarinet and Vandoren products.
An avid chamber musician, Kim has been invited to OK Mozart, Norfolk, Osaka, and South Korea’s ISCM Pan Music festivals, working with members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Tokyo, Artis, Brentano and Hayden string quartets. Kim is a founding member of enhakē (www.enhake.com), the award-winning clarinet-violin-cello-piano quartet in its 9th season and praised for its “rock solid rhythmic integrity” as well as “strength in balance, intonation, and musicality” (The New York Concert Review). With enhakē, Kim has given over 150 performances and toured throughout the world, most notably at NYC's Weill Recital Hall, Osaka’s Izumi Hall, Seoul Arts Center, International ClarinetFest, and the Promising Artists of the 21st Century Series in Costa Rica under the auspices of the US Department of State. His latest CD with enhakē entitled Prepárense: The Piazzolla Project on MSR has been described as “positively delightful…[t]he sense of ensemble is near-miraculous” (Fanfare) and received high praises from Gramophone: "The playing throughout is sublime...The intensity is real, the sounds gorgeous, the rhythm infectious...this version strides proudly alongside the legendary recording by Piazzolla himself." Kim regularly collaborates with renowned composers such as Edward Knight, Libby Larsen, Peter Lieuwen, Steve Reich, Peter Schickele and Ellen Zwilich, commissioning, premiering or recording their new works.
Currently, Kim is Associate Professor of Clarinet at Tennessee Tech University, where he has been a recipient of Derryberry Faculty Award and the QEP Award for Excellence in Innovative Instruction. Kim is the principal clarinetist of Bryan Symphony Orchestra and performs with Cumberland Quintet, both faculty ensembles-in-residence at Tennessee Tech. Starting 2012-13 Season, he was appointed the principal clarinetist of the Albany Symphony Orchestra in GA by invitation. He has served as a summer faculty or guest artist at Chapel Hill Chamber Music Workshop, Southeast Chamber Music Institute, Ethos Music Festival, and Interlochen Summer Camp. Kim is regularly invited as a guest artist and teacher at world’s renowned institutions, including the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and many universities and conservatories throughout the US, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. In 2013, Kim was named a College Music Society Ambassador to Korea.
Kim’s recent engagements include a nationally broadcasted performance of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto on basset clarinet with Seungnam Philharmonic Orchestra in South Korea (the first Korean clarinetist to do so), the world premiere performance of Steve Landis’s Thronateeska Concerto with enhakē and Albany Symphony Orchestra as a soloist, the world premiere performance of Peter Lieuwen’s Bright River for Clarinet and Piano in Washington D.C. and London (European premiere), solo appearance at International ClarinetFest 2015 in Madrid, Spain, and a collaboration with Mirus Trio on Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time at Seoul Arts Center’s IBK Hall. In the previous season, he has also appeared as guest artist at the University of Texas-Austin, Michigan State University, Utah State University, Colorado Mesa University, James Madison University, University of Northern Iowa, Fort Lewis College, Troy University, and Silla University. Notable performances during 2016-17 season include “Tokyo to New York” Series at Bargemusic NYC, Mozart's Clarinet Quintet on basset clarinet with Attacca Quartet, chamber music residency in Santa Fe, ongoing collaboration with the Mirus Trio (Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time), solo appearance with Inter>CAMARETA at the Clarimania in Wroclaw, Poland, and artist residencies in Seoul and Busan, South Korea.
Kim is a recipient of numerous awards: the Presser Music Award (2010), First Prize at the Mary Graham Lasley Competition (2010), First Prize at the Richard B. Salsbury Young Artist Competition (2008), and Grand Prize at the Washington Metropolitan Young Artist Competition (2007); Laureate of the 9th Osaka International Chamber Music Competition and Festa (2011), First Prize at the Yellow Springs International Competition (2009), Gold Medal at the International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition at Carnegie Hall (2008), Judges Special Prize at Plowman Competition (2008) as a member of enhakē; winner of the University of North Carolina and Florida State University Doctoral concerto competitions. Additionally, Kim received fellowships and grants from the American Composers Forum, Chamber Music America/National Endowment for the Arts, Norfolk/Yale School of Music, and the Presser Music Foundation.
A native of South Korea, Dr. Wonkak Kim grew up in Seoul and Paris and moved to the United States at the age of 15. The same year, he began studying clarinet with Kenneth Lee, a disciple of the legendary pedagogue Leon Russianoff. Kim subsequently attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a distinguished scholarship, where he studied clarinet with Donald Oehler and received degrees in Mathematics (BA) and Music (BM). He continued his graduate studies with Dr. Frank Kowalsky, earning MM and DM degrees at Florida State University. In 2014, Kim was inducted into FSU's Thirty Under 30 and became a recipient of Governor Reubin O'D. Askew Young Alumni Award, "the highest honor bestowed upon its young alumni" (FSU Alumni Association). Kim obtained the "Extraordinary Ability (EB1-A)" Green Card in 2012 and lives with his wife Grace and daughter Tayeon in Cookeville, TN.
To learn more about Wonkak Kim, please visit his website: www.wonkak.com.
Last Updated - 4 October, 2016
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