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Check Out Eloise Kim’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Eloise Kim.

Hi Eloise, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
Since a young age, music has always been my source of joy, an expression of love, and a deep language of communication in my life. Growing up with a singer mother, hearing her sing in our home played a huge role in sparking my interest and passion for music.

I started piano lessons at the age of 6 1/2 years old, and I immediately fell in love with the vast colors of sound that the piano is capable of. Whenever I heard a favorite tune, I would run to the piano and try to imitate the music completely by ear. This was a fun ‘challenge’ for me to do in my free time. I was also very fortunate to meet wonderful and supportive piano teachers along the way who truly guided my upbringing and music career to this day. As a classically trained pianist, I grew up partaking in many national and international piano competitions during my pre-college years. This opportunity enabled me to meet fantastic colleagues and musicians, and I also got to perform many solo piano repertoires in various concert stages. Preparing for competitions helped built grit inside of me to push myself to the next level and never give up.

The moment that really set my heart to choose music as a lifetime career is when I began to collaborate actively in chamber music. In my hometown in Portland, Oregon, I was in a piano trio group in which we took masterclasses together with Chamber Music Northwest guest artists and performed locally together. This was truly an inspiring chapter in my life, and to this day, I feel most alive when I get to work with other equally passionate musicians.

I went on to earn my bachelor degree in Piano Performance from The Colburn Conservatory of Music here in Downtown Los Angeles, my Master of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music in New York City, and my Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. I have had the privilege to perform in incredible venues across the nation including Carnegie Weill Recital Hall and at Aspen, Orford, Banff, and Lake George summer festivals.

I currently started working with new composers around Los Angeles, performing their arrangements of movie and video-game soundtracks. I just started a new YouTube channel that shares some of these works! This has been a super exciting project so far. I also currently actively teach throughout the Los Angeles area. I teach students from early beginning age to adult level and have a deep connection with each one of them. As an educator, it is my duty to really inspire the gift of music into others’ lives. I believe that music is a heart-to-heart language that brings out the true beauty and creativity of each individual, and my goal is to do everything I can to inspire others to find that passion inside them through my performances.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Pursuing a career in music is certainly not an easy road. It takes a lot of perseverance, hard work, and tough skin. Most importantly, the love and passion for what I do is what kept me going to this day. The biggest challenge was when my family went into financial hardship after my father’s business went down. My father had to make the difficult decision of selling nearly everything we had, including my own grand piano. And I was without an instrument to practice at home for a very long time. I was fortunate to still be able to practice in outside facilities with the help of others, but going on and about with my own life when my family was struggling so much was an incredibly challenging time. Rather than focusing on competitions and building a performance career as a solo pianist like I had originally wanted to, I shifted my focus on what enabled to help make a living for my family. During this time, I faced many challenges and questions to myself asking whether it was ‘really worth it’ to pursue my passions on a career that does not necessarily guarantee financial stability.

However, because of this challenge, it allowed me to develop ideas on how to become economically wise while building entrepreneurship skills as a musician. I was also very lucky to receive full scholarships during all my education from college. The Colburn Conservatory is a full-tuition room and board for all students admitted there. During my Master’s, I received the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s support that funded $100,000 to my graduate studies. And at USC, I was fortunate again to be selected as one of the graduate teaching assistants. Through this teaching assistantship award, not only did it greatly financially support my studies but also getting the opportunity to work with wonderful non-music and music-major students really sparked a new inspiration inside me in becoming a meaningful teacher.

Challenges is what make us all stronger, and I call these a ‘healthy’ experience that all of us must face at some point in our lives to open new doors of opportunities and a broader outlook into life. Although the personal challenge I faced was an incredibly hard time for me, I am grateful for this blessing too because it allowed me to become who I am today.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am a performing pianist, chamber musician, and music educator. Recently, I have started to collaborate with new composers, performing their arrangements of movie and video-game soundtracks. I just started a new YouTube channel that shares some of these works! This has been a super exciting project.

I also actively teach throughout the Los Angeles area and have a deep connection with each one of my students. I strongly believe that we as humans all have a natural musical instinct and a hunger for the arts inside us. But oftentimes, we are not aware of this until we learn how to let it shine out of us. As a piano teacher and educator, I seek to help students to find their own unique voice through performance, and most importantly, achieve an appreciation of music for a lifetime. In my teaching philosophy, it is very important to meet every individual student’s needs and respect their stage of learning experience.

I also love to collaborate with other musicians in chamber music, as this is what really inspired me from a young age to set a career in music. Working together with passionate minds is one of the greatest joys of being in this music field. It is a privilege and gift to be a musician, and my duty to share this immense beauty of music with others around me.

Do you any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
My favorite childhood memory is when I had my first piano performance. My piano teacher was having a studio recital for her students, and despite the fact I was only seven years old, I still remember everything vividly: the piano there, the audience, and the atmosphere. I played one solo piano piece by Kabalevsky and also accompanied on piano with my mother singing. That was really my first ever ‘collaborative’ experience duet-playing with my mother, and it was such a special memory to share the stage with her. I felt incredibly honored too, and very thankful to my teacher then in enabling that performance to take place.

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