Eloise Kim, Pianist

2009 Outstanding Achievement in the Performing Arts

Article Contributed by Carol Cartier, CATATILLA Design, LLC

Music Biography 

Eloise Kim, seventeen years old, was born in Seoul, Korea. Currently a senior at Valley Catholic High School in Beaverton, Oregon, she has been studying piano with Dr. Jean-David Coen. 

Eloise has already achieved numerous musical achievements. Among these achievements include first prize at Pinault International Piano Competition which allowed her to perform at Carnegie Hall at the age of eleven, third prize at the Lennox International Piano Competition, Special Director’s Prize at the Kingsville International Piano Competition, and first prize at the Jefferson Symphony Young Artists International Piano Competition. 

For three consecutive years, Eloise was selected as one of the scholarship recipients for the prestigious Chopin Foundation of the United States and in 2007–08 she was named a Chamber Music Northwest Young Artist Fellow. In addition, Eloise has been awarded numerous significant scholarships including a $500 award from the Beaux Arts Society in honor of her talents and achievements, and a $1000 scholarship from the Beaverton Arts Commission (BAC), recipient of their “Outstanding Achievement in the Performing Arts by a High School Student Award”. 

As a freshman in high school, Eloise won first prize Champion of the OMEA State Solo Competition in 2007. She was also the first place winner in the 2004 Oregon MTNA Baldwin Junior Piano Competition. In 2001 Eloise won first place in the OMTA Trula Whelan Concerto Competition. 

Eloise has been a featured recitalist in OMTA Portland District programs for two years in a row, She performed in master classes for John Perry, Catherine Kautsky, Paul Roberts, Sofia Gilsom, Susan Dewitt Smith, Yakov Kasman, Roberto Plano, Ruth Slenczynska, Karen Shaw, Andre-Michel Schub, Anne-Marie McDermott, Luiz de Moura Castro, Philip Kawin, Richard Egarr, Sara Davis Buechner, Orli Shaham, Eric Himy, Jacques Rouvier, Lee Kum Sing, Marc Durand, among others. 

Eloise studied at the Aspen Music Festival in 2002 and 2003 and recognized as the youngest pianist to perform in the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen. She was offered a full scholarship to return to Aspen in 2008 and study under the renowned pianist, John O’Conor. She performed in Seattle and Portland for the Pacific Northwest Korean-American Youth Concert, celebrating the centennial year of Korean immigration to the United States in 2003 and was invited to perform in the Wonder Kids Musical Prodigies Program in Salem, Oregon, at the Historic Elsinore Theatre. 

In 2004, she was selected as a competitor in the Gina Bachauer International Junior Piano Competition in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2006, Eloise was selected as the youngest finalist in the New York Piano Competition. In October 2007, she was invited to perform alongside the Columbia Symphony to perform the whole Grieg Concerto. In November 2007, Eloise was the winner of the Sonata/Concerto Category of the World Piano Pedagogy Conference Most Wanted Piano Competition (dedicated to Leon Fleisher). She was awarded winner of the Vancouver (USA) Symphony Young Artist Competition at the young age of thirteen, where she performed the first movement of the Chopin Concerto No.1 alongside the Vancouver Symphony. In March 2009, Eloise performed the entire Beethoven 4th piano concerto with the Jefferson Symphony as their young artist winner.

Artist Interview

Date: May 20, 2009 
Award: Outstanding Achievement in the Performing Arts By a High School Student 

At what age did you get involved in art?
I started playing when I was 6-1/2 years old. In the beginning, I didn’t really know how serious I would be at playing. It’s very typical for students to begin with piano since it’s such a basic instrument. 

My mother is a professional singer and she guided me, along with my father and instructor. Together, we all decided to begin with piano. As I got more involved in playing, I realized the power that music had over me personally—what it could do for me.

Describe your earliest recollection of your own artistic talents.
My teacher and parents said they began to see various qualities and potential in me for music; they gave me great support and encouragement. 

Music began to touch me emotionally as I continued to play. I would imagine stories behind every piece. I was able to relate the piece I was playing to my own life, through my experiences of hardship and joy.

Do your family members have a story about your early artistic efforts? 
I was able to grasp the different styles of music at an early age because my mother sang along with my piano playing. During the first few years of my initial experiences with the piano, her singing helped me in many ways to understand my piece more musically. My father used to take me to competitions and music festivals (music camp). They recognized my talent at an early age. 

What different areas of art are you involved in? 
Besides music, I enjoy all kinds of art—including writing, which I enjoy occasionally, although not as serious as I am about piano. I do Chamber music (trios or duets) with Portland members.

What has this talent done for you, personally?
Piano has given me a way to express my passion to the world in a way that I could not before in everyday life. I am a quiet person—one who doesn’t necessarily express. 

I’ve also developed a strong sense of discipline; it has helped me deal with the more difficult things in life. 

How did you get involved in this particular field? (award)
My parents consulted with the Oregon Music Teacher's Association to obtain a few names of piano teachers for me to begin private lessons. I became more involved and mature in my knowledge about the piano as I learned from many great teachers. Currently, I am currently studying with Dr. Jean-David Coen, Professor at Willamette University. 
Who or what played a major role in choosing this field of art?

My mother played a large role in my life of music. As a musician, she understands how to accomplish certain things that enable a person to express in a specific way. My teachers also played a crucial role in my music—they taught me in great detail, which gave me profound understanding of each piece. 

Also, I found that my ability to choose music strengthened after attending music camps and festivals. I attribute this to the many great new friends who shared the same passion as I, learned from great master classes, and met many professional musicians while attending concerts at each camp. 

What are your favorite methods for clearing your mind to prepare yourself and immerse yourself in your art?
Actually, I really enjoy performing. Before the performance I become nervous—and it’s difficult to concentrate. However, when I walk on stage, a feeling comes over me—a feeling that I cannot describe completely. When I am playing, I focus on the possibilities. I am excited that am given the talent in music to possibly make a difference to someone’s life, someone who is listening at that moment in time. I have the ability to change a person’s life through my music. It’s my gift to my audience.

I cherish the thought that the audience is there to listen and receive the gift I have to offer them. When I perform it’s actually more enjoyable than when I practice because I am excited and more involved in the music.

What are your favorite methods for learning new skills?
Year after year, I am learning new pieces. Before I get to know the piece completely, I enjoy listening to various recordings of it and sometimes analyze my music away from the instrument. When I have the opportunity to relax, I cherish the feeling and the presence of my own music inside my head. This helps me mature the piece and can, at times, provide very profound results. 

There are periods that I need to give it a break—and to see a different perspective so that I can develop a new expression to the piece. That’s my favorite part of learning new music and study. Perhaps six months to one year break, or even two weeks can bring a new perspective and maturity to the piece.

If you could do anything in the world with your art, what would it be?

Music has the power to change the world. 

Change people. I hope that my music brings that side of the world to busy people, who oftentimes don’t have the luxury to stop and experience the beauty and love they may be missing.

Importantly, I seek to bring hope to those who have lost everything. 

Think back to a time that you were very proud of something you did using your artistic talents and skills. What was that?
There are many different experiences we go through in life, and I am always hoping my music makes a difference to someone out there. So when I win a prize in a specific competition, I usually donate at least fifty percent to cancer funds or nursing homes. 

I believe that I have been given this talent through God’s will. I recognize that when I win prizes in competition, it is God who gave me the ability to have such a talent, and empowered me to win the prize. It’s through God’s will that I win, and so I want to share the wealth.

Was there something or an event in your life that played a major role to help you achieve this award?
I was very thrilled to learn about this award. Dan Schauffler, Director of Bands at Valley Catholic High, nominated me for this award. He sent my bio, and supported me in so many ways. He knew of my achievements and I represented my school for State competition. 

What would you like to do with your music abilities? (for example, to make a living, or to feel inspired and personally satisfied, or other) 

My main goal, whether I become a world pianist or play only locally, is to make a difference to someone out there—to bring someone’s emptiness to fulfillment.

It would be very nice if I do become a classical pianist and play all over. It does something to me, being out on the stage, and playing with different instruments. The orchestra and chamber music are a special passion for me—I just love how these different instruments contribute so beautifully to one story.

What do you feel is the best way to promote your talent?
I feel the best way to promote a performing artist would be to perform in various places. I would love to have the opportunity to play my music at fundraising events—to share with the world. Other ways to promote would be to share my musical ideas and teaching other people about the different vocations of style. 

What was your reaction to being awarded this honor?
I was thrilled. The scholarship helped my family in so many ways. Paid for entry fees to competition, and festivals (music camp). Attended concerts where I learned from music masters.

Times are tough now for my family, as it is for many other families.
How has the Commission impacted you in realizing your goals?

Through this scholarship, it gave me a higher level of confidence. I want so much to make a difference and allow my music to do something for others. This award has raised my confidence that I can achieve my goal.

If you could ask the Commission to provide or do something in particular to inspire artists in the community to be the best they could be, what would that be?
For musicians, giving some kind of performing opportunities, such as fundraising, would motivate musicians to work harder, and therefore develop maturity in their skills. Exposure to different types of audiences gives musicians the ability to reach a level of maturity they may not otherwise be able to achieve. 

How do you see yourself using art in the future? (i.e, self-satisfaction, entertainment, career, sales, stress management, family activity, home décor, helping others)
To bring more joy, love and greater fulfillment to others.