The piano part is an arrangement of America The Beautiful in an extremely Romantic manner, à la Chopin and Rachmaninoff; it can stand alone as a solo piano piece. This neo-Romantic piano writing is juxtaposed against an aggressive string trio that tries to attack it – a musical version of Lucho Fontana’s experimental works, in which the canvases have cut scars. The collocation of these two contrasting layers suggests the polarization in the USA that is more visible these days; this piece is my attempt to reflect on this phenomenon.
Texu Kim is “one of the most active and visible composers of his generation,” (San Francisco Classical Voice) writing music that’s fun, sophisticated, and culturally-connected. Drawing on his personal affinity for humor, his background in science, and his fascination with everyday experiences, Kim’s work radiates positivity, offering “major-league cuteness” (Broadway World) while demonstrating “surprising scope.” (San Diego Story) As a Korean-American, Kim explores the localization of imported traditions, incorporating cross-cultural elements into his work in “impressive and special” ways, so that “many orchestras and conductors around the world are taking an interest in [his] music.” (KPBS) By highlighting the interaction between folk culture and external influences, Kim creates meaningful depth while maintaining a signature playfulness and exuberance that is both listener friendly and engaging. Characterized by “exuberant, colorful washes of sound… punchy bass lines, snappy brass fanfares, and suave... solos,” (San Diego Story) Kim’s music is at times “explosively virtuosic” (Wall Street Journal) but always uplifting and rewarding for both listeners and performers.
Kim’s work has enjoyed an impressive international performance history from a roster of top orchestras and ensembles, including the New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, the New World Symphony, Oregon Symphony, National Orchestra of Korea, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Ensemble Modern, Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble Reconsil Vienna, New York Classical Players, Ensemble 212, AsianArt Ensemble Berlin, Ensemble Mise-en, Fear No Music, Ensemble TIMF, Northwestern University New Music Ensemble, Indiana University New Music Ensemble, C4: Choral Composer/Conductor Collective, NOTUS, Red Clay Saxophone Quartet, Verona Quartet, and more. Having served as the Composer-in-Residence of the Korean Symphony Orchestra (2014-18), Kim has appeared at Yeowoorak Festival, Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival, PyeongChang Music Festival and School, Bruckner Festival, SONiC Festival, Mizzou International Composers Festival, June in Buffalo, Aspen Music Festival, SCI National Conferences, Composers Conference, and Oregon Bach Festival. The Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, and the Piece & Piano Festival featured Kim’s balanced and well-crafted arrangements, which may also be heard on numerous commercial albums. A frequent collaborator with choreographers, filmmakers, and educators, Kim has received awards and honors from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, American Modern Ensemble, Copland House, SCI/ASCAP, and Isang Yun International Composition Prize, to name a few, in addition to winning a Silver Medal in the 1998 International Chemistry Olympiad (Melbourne, Australia).
An assistant professor of music at San Diego State University, Kim formerly taught at Syracuse University, Portland State University and Lewis & Clark College. Kim is also serving as a director of the Korean Symphony Orchestra’s Composers’ Atelier program, educating and commissioning yet-to-be-established composers; co-directed Ensemble 212’s ‘New Music for Young Audience’ series; and acted as a curator and board member for the Korean Cultural Society of Boston’s ‘New Music Symposium.’ Having earned his D.M. from Indiana University and prior degrees from Seoul National University, Kim’s greatest mentors include Unsuk Chin, David Dzubay, Sven-David Sandstrom, Claude Baker, and Sangjick Jun.
As the artistic director of Center for Musical Excellence, I am always on the look out for new and undiscovered talents. They come to me, sometimes, by my colleagues’ recommendations and other times through young artists’ own research about our organization. Tyson Davis and Andrew Bambridge are currently on our roster of CME Young Artists, whom we mentor. Patricio Molina is a CME alumnus. Theo Chandler, Ji-Young Ko, and Daniel Newman-Lessler applied for our Grant program, and I got to know their work through that process. I decide on young artists when I notice a deep passion and drive within them, plus a certain kind of sparkle in the personality and lots of humility. In addition to musical talents, I believe these are the qualities that will take the young artists far. CME’s motto is "Moving Musicians Forward". I’ve chosen our Discovery Composers based on these qualities, whom we felt we could easily move forward.
- Min Kwon