Pianist Eunbi Kim (pronounced OOn-bee, like book) is creating new ways of experiencing concert music as a performer, speaker, and arts advocate. Through these avenues, Kim shapes the concert experience on and off the stage by seeking interdisciplinary collaborations, commissioning new works, and mentoring the next generation. Her adventurous performances are characterized by their vividly personal themes ranging from dreams to mental illness to familial memories to finding meaning within life. For her efforts, Kim has received international recognition on television and in print, including from the BBC, I Care If You Listen, the Houston Chronicle, The Japan Times, and NHK Television.
In 2017, she released her debut album, A House of Many Rooms: New Concert Music by Fred Hersch on Albany Records. The album features a collection of premiere recordings of relatively unknown contemporary classical works by the luminary jazz composer. The album was celebrated as “superb” by textura Magazine and by Mainly Piano as “an impressive debut [of] skill, heart, and technique”.
Always looking to create innovative new work, Kim collaborates regularly with some of today’s leading composers. She has subsequently become one of contemporary music’s most sought after performers, having performed Daniel Bernard Roumain’s (DBR) dedicated work “It Feels Like a Mountain, Chasing Me,” over 50 times across the United States, including its premiere at The Kennedy Center. Other performances of her unconventional and immersive performance concepts have been presented at The Kennedy Center, 92nd Street Y, Asia Society Texas Center, le poisson rouge, Korean Cultural Center NY, the PianoForte Foundation, Georgetown University, Bennington College, and many more.
Kim is most known as the creator, performer, and producer of Murakami Music, a music-theater work inspired by the novels of Haruki Murakami. Murakami Music enjoyed multiple sold-out performances, garnering national and international press, and enjoyed a featured appearance within an official NHK documentary on the acclaimed author. As a result of the critical and commercial success of the production, Kim is recognized as an expert on Murakami’s use of music in his novels, regularly receiving invitations to speak at numerous media outlets, universities, and academic journals, including Pace University, NHK, Hazlitt, TV Tokyo, and many more.
After being one of only 50 artists selected for the New York Foundation for the Arts’ 2012 “Artist as Entrepreneur” program, Kim has developed equal focus to creating impact off the stage. In 2018, Kim launched bespoken alongside co-founder Gina Izzo. bespoken is a music mentorship program providing mentorship, workshops, and strategies to elevate the visibility of women in the classical, contemporary, and jazz industries. The program provides female musicians with the necessary tools and leadership skills to create rewarding careers, develop their creative and artistic visions, while helping them navigate challenges they may face in the industry.
Outside bespoken, Kim is often recognized for her advocacy and entrepreneurial leadership. She is invited to be a speaker, mentor, and coach at organizations and institutions, including the Chamber Music America National Conference, the Asian-American Arts Alliance, the Manhattan School of Music, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and New Music Gathering. Her 2017 TEDx talk, “Performing Through Fear,” discusses conquering performance anxiety through learning to trust.
Originally from Maryland, Eunbi Kim is based in New York City. She holds a Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music, where she also held a coveted fellowship in the institution’s Center for Music Entrepreneurship. She is grateful to her former and current teachers, Elena Arseniev and Anthony de Mare respectively.
Photo credit: Shervin Lainez.