Phila. Orchestra concertmaster rehearses with Penn Symphony Orchestra
Kim, also a prize-winning violinist, will accompany the PSO for the first time as a soloist on Oct. 25
October 7, 2013, 10:29 pm · Updated October 8, 2013, 12:08 am·
Andres De los Rios | DP
As David Kim walked into Irvine Auditorium for a Penn Symphony Orchestra rehearsal last night, he was ready to get to work. “Let’s do this,” he announced to the seated musicians, who applauded his arrival.
Kim, a prize-winning violinist and concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, will accompany the PSO for the first time as a soloist on Oct. 25.
The PSO, founded in 1878 and comprised mostly of non-music majors, performs an extensive repertoire from the 18th through 20th centuries. The ensemble’s rehearsal last night — the first of two rehearsals in which Kim himself sat in with the PSO — was spent performing German composer Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, which will be played at the Oct. 25 concert along with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.
Penn Symphony’s conductor, Brad Smith, began the rehearsal at 6 p.m., with Kim arriving slightly later due to the unfortunate combination of heavy traffic and inclement weather.
The rehearsal went smoothly, as Kim occasionally stopped to pay compliments and to give suggestions and advice to his fellow musicians.
“For a university orchestra, it’s superb,” Kim said of the PSO after the rehearsal. “Right up there with some of the other excellent school orchestras I’ve played with.”
The collaboration between the Philadelphia Orchestra violinist and the PSO is a joint effort of Kim and Smith, who are good friends. Kim described how it seemed natural teaming up with Penn, given that both the orchestras’ goals are “very much connected at the hip,” he said.
However, while this is Kim’s first time playing as a soloist with the PSO, he has performed at Penn in smaller settings before. Recalling a past visit to campus a few years ago in which a number of students recognized and enthusiastically greeted the violinist as he was walking, Kim said he was “so happy to see so many Penn students are lovers of classical music and of fine art.”
Penn also has a history of collaboration with the celebrated and nearby Philadelphia Orchestra, explained the Department of Music Performance Coordinator Veronica Jurkiewicz. The University holds the collections of Leopold Stokowski and Eugene Ormandy, two distinguished conductors of the world-famous orchestra.
Describing the importance of classical music in the modern world, Kim compares the place of great works in the genre to that of classics in literature. “There’s a reason this music has lasted for so many centuries,” he said. “There’s something so stirring about seeing it live.”
He explained that while it’s something of a fashion among his colleagues to lament the falling popularity of classical music among young people, the attendance of many college students — from Penn and other schools — at the Philadelphia Orchestra’s performances is telling.
“I think our future is bright,” he added.