© 2019 by Yoon-Jee Kim

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Introduction

Welcome to my site.

In 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea, setting off a war that ravaged the Korean peninsula for three years. When the uncrossable line was drawn forcibly between the two Koreas in July 1953, my grandfather, who originated from the north, happened to find himself in the south. Two years later, my mother was born in Seoul. 

The glittery facade of present-day Korea makes it impossible for me to imagine how desperately poor Korea was at the time. The country that previously suffered from colonization and war had no choice but to be callous toward anything that didn't directly feed starving mouths. Classical music, this new, exotic, unknown seed that was just barely introduced in this fallow reality, certainly had no chance of blossoming. So it still fills me with awe and reverence that music met and touched my mom. She became so deeply engrossed in classical music that she acquired every recording and went to every available concert; music, in the bleak milieu of post-war Korea, became her place of refuge. It was she who surrounded me with music constantly ever since I was not bigger than a cell. Thus, aspiring to become a musician was never a conscious choice on my part--it was rather an inevitable outcome. 

I grew up in many different countries throughout my formative years, thanks to my diplomat father. Amid having to shuffle among different cultures and languages, I clung fiercely to music, as it was the only language that stayed constant in my life, providing a sense of continuity in my jarring personal narrative. My own cosmopolitan journey, combined with my mom's profoundly Korean one, fueled my belief that classical music is timeless, that it is relevant to anyone, to any culture, to any era. My mission as a musician, therefore, is not only to create beautiful sounds but also to ponder upon classical music’s relevance, impact and future and to help promote it. 

Yours, 

Yoon-Jee