Noted by The New York Times for giving “the proceedings an invaluable central thread of integrity and stylishness” and having “played with soulful flair,” violinist Ariana Kim made her New York recital debut at Carnegie’s Weill Hall during her graduate studies at Juilliard and is now a tenured professor at Cornell University. Together with the Aizuri Quartet, she was awarded the Gold Medal at the 2017 Osaka International Competition, the 2018 M-Prize, and a 2019 GRAMMY nomination for their debut album, Blueprinting. At 16, Ariana made her debut with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and at 24 was appointed acting concertmaster of the Louisiana Philharmonic in New Orleans and has since become one of the most respected artists of her generation.
A recipient of a Cornell University Affinito-Stewart Faculty Grant and a Society for the Humanities Grant, Ariana released her first solo album Routes of Evanescence in December of 2015 which features works for solo violin and violin + 1 written by American women composers including Ruth Crawford Seeger, Augusta Read Thomas, and Jennifer Curtis. While on sabbatic leave from Cornell in 2016, Ariana lived and worked in Italy, teaching at l’Istituto Stradivari, performing with Milano Classica, and curating a cultural diplomacy public art project involving the Cornell Composition Department, the Cornell Architecture Department, and a group of North African and Mid-East refugees. She performed two solo recital tours in Northern and Central Italy featuring works from J.S. Bach to Elliott Carter to bluegrass fiddle tunes; she is set to return to her “home away from home” this coming summer for a solo appearance with Milano Classica at the Paesaggi Musicali Toscani—a festival for which she became the newly appointed Co-Artistic Director in August 2019.
Ariana now marks her 17th season with The Knights, a New York-based imaginative and diverse musical collective that performs programs ranging from string quartets to bluegrass tunes and world folk music, to the great chamber orchestra masterpieces of the 20th century. Though the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 brought most live projects to a hault, the Knights are thrilled to announce a new partnership with the 92nd Street Y beginning in the 2021-2022 season. In January of 2015, the group released its seventh album, …the ground beneath our feet—a collection of live performances from a recent U.S. tour—for Warner Classics, on which Ariana is a featured soloist in Steve Reich’s Duo for two violins and strings, alongside Guillaume Pirard; that track has since received much acclaim and was chosen as one of NPR’s “Songs We Love” for 2015.
Ariana also served 10 seasons as a member of the New Yorker-acclaimed New York new music ensemble, Ne(x)tworks, which made their international debut at the John Cage Festival in Berlin performing Cage’s “Song Books” to a packed house alongside the Maulwerker Company in March 2013. Their dedication to the interpretation of graphic scores, open notation and collective improvisation led to a rare recording of the chamber music of Earle Brown, available on MODE Records.
Raised in Minnesota by parents Ellen and Young-Nam who were her teachers from age 3 to 17, Ariana finds another musical home in her native Twin Cities as she is now in her 18th season with the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota. Recent collaborations have included performances with Robert Mann, Fred Sherry, Peter Wiley, Samuel Rhodes, Nobuko Imai, Charles Neidich, and Leon Fleisher. The proud educational wing of the Society, CMSMnext brings her to Twin Cities schools, conservatories, and community programs to offer presentations, outreach workshops and master classes. She joined her father Young-Nam in a Co-Artistic Directorship of the CMSM in the 2019-2020 season.
Ariana has spent summers at Ravinia’s Steans Institute, Yellow Barn, and Orford Centre d’Arts. A passionate pedagogue, Ariana spends much of the academic year teaching and mentoring a full studio of talented collegiate students at Cornell; this summer, she will join the faculty of the Palo Alto Chamber Music Workshop for the 20th consecutive year, the Northern Lights Chamber Music Institute for the 13th time, and the Crowden Music Center Chamber Music Institute for the sixth time. She volunteers annually with the Title One school, Castillero Middle in San Jose, CA and has presented master classes throughout the U.S. and abroad at such institutions as Kent State University, The MacPhail Center, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Ariana received her masters and doctorate from the Juilliard School under the tutelage of the late Robert Mann, her undergraduate degree from the San Francisco Conservatory with Ian Swensen and Camilla Wicks, and usually co-resides in Ithaca and New York City. During the 2021 calendar year, she will be living and working in Seoul, South Korea studying ancient traditional Korean instruments and music, teaching as a visiting artist at Seoul National University, and rock-climbing many mountains.