Stephen Kim (violin) was one of our youngest contestants, winning the Khuner Competition at age 11 in 2007. He began playing violin at the age of three, and studied with Bettina Mussumeli at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music since age eight. When he was 10, he won the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra concerto competition. In 2009, he made his Carnegie Hall debut. In 2010, at age 15, he was named Third Laureate in the Stradivarius International Violin Competition with his performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor at Davies Symphony Hall, winning rave reviews. When he was 18, he played Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto in D Major in the final of the 2014 Menuhin Competition in Austin. He placed fourth, alongside the first place winner, Stephen Waarts, who was the 2010 Khuner Competition winner. In 2015, at age 19, Stephen was one of six finalists in the Seoul International Violin Competition in Korea. By the time he graduated high school, he had won three violin competitions at the International Music Competition in Aspen.
Most recently, Stephen gained international recognition winning the 3rd Prize at the 2019 Queen Elisabeth International Violin Competition, 3rd Prize at the 2018 Premio Paganini International Violin Competition, and 2nd Prize at the 2016 Sendai International Violin Competition.
Presented in venues across North America, Europe, and Asia, Stephen has appeared as a soloist with the Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège, Brussels Philharmonic, Belgian National Orchestra, l’Orchestra del Teatro Carlo Felice, Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra, Bucheon Philharmonic Orchestra, Suwon Philharmonic Orchestra, Curtis Chamber Orchestra, Carmel Symphony Orchestra, Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra, Austin Symphony Orchestra, and the Aspen Music Festival’s AACA and Philharmonic orchestras, among others.
In recent seasons, Stephen embarked on a two-month tour across the United States performing Mozart Violin Concerto No. 5 with the Curtis Chamber Orchestra, as part of the all-Mozart Curtis on Tour. He donated a performance in Seoul for the Viva Chamber Ensemble, an orchestra comprised of disabled young musicians, as well as working in masterclasses in an effort to inspire and spread a passion for music. Stephen was also featured in the recital series of the Stradivari Society, the Verbier Festival Academy, return performances in Japan, and with violist Roberto Díaz as part of Curtis on Tour in Shanghai and Hong Kong. In June 2018, Stephen performed at the Award Presentation Ceremony of Korea’s prestigious Ho-Am Prize. Upcoming engagements include appearances at the Kingston Music Festival and multiple concert tours in Belgium, Korea, Macao, and Hong Kong.
As a teen, Stephen won major prizes at the 2015 Seoul International Violin Competition and 2014 Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition, and he has the distinction of being the first person in the Aspen Music Festival’s history to win all three of the festival’s violin competitions: 2014 Brahms Violin Concerto, 2013 Dorothy DeLay Memorial Fellowship, and 2011 AACA Mozart Violin Concerto.
Stephen studied at the Curtis Institute of Music with Shmuel Ashkenasi, Aaron Rosand, and the late Joseph Silverstein. In 2018, he was awarded the Curtis/Milka Violin Artist Prize. Stephen currently studies at the Juilliard School with Hyo Kang.
Stephen plays the 1725 “ex-Moller” Guarnerius del Gesù, on generous loan from the Samsung Foundation of Culture of Korea and the Stradivari Society of Chicago.
Combining a distinctive ability of “holding an audience spellbound” with his expressive qualities as “a fire-breathing, passionate communicator” (Indiana Tribune-Star; Aspen Times), violinist Stephen Kim is continually praised for his originality and honest performances.