Newberg youth wins prestigious competition in New York
For many in the select group of musicians granted the honor of performing at New York Citys Carnegie Hall, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Fourteen-year-old Newberg resident Nathan Kims first appearance at one of musics most hallowed halls, on the other hand, truly was his debut the first of more to come as he has already been invited to perform there again this spring.
Just a day after competing at the winners recital Feb. 16 and earning the grand prize at the American Fine Arts Festival International (AFAF) Concerto Competition, Kim learned that he had placed second in the American Protégé International Music Competition, which will hold its winners recital at Carnegie Hall April 20.
That was very unexpected because I knew that I had entered, but playing Carnegie Hall twice is beyond something Id imagine, Kim said.
Kim won first place in his division (ages 7 to 13) of the AFAF competition for his recording, accompanied by his teacher Renato Fabbro, of the first movement from Prokofieffs Piano Concerto No.3 in C-major, but performed Liszts Hungarian Rhapsody No. 15 at the winners recital.
I like fast pieces and this just matches with me, Kim said. Its a demanding piece because at the end I was sweating. There are a lot of big reaches.
Kim said he couldnt really put into words what was going through his mind during the performance, but that despite playing in front of a relatively small audience, the legendary venue, as a setting, actually delivered on the high expectations that are natural to lifelong dreams.
Everything was perfect: the stage, the piano, the acoustics. Everything, Kim said. The people were perfect too.
Still floating from the experience of performing, Kim was caught off guard when it was announced that he had been awarded the competitions grand prize, which he shared with violinist Hina Khuong-Huu and flautist Yibiao Wang, both of whom hail from New York.
Just playing at Carnegie Hall was enough for me, Kim said. The grand prize was a good cherry on the top, a good finish.
Kim submitted solo recordings of Hungarian Rhapsody and Emma Lou Diemers Tocata to the American Protégé competition and will perform the former again at the recital in April.
Fabbro, a professor at the University of Portland, said that Kims resume is both impressive and ever growing, and that wins like the AFAF will only open more opportunities for him moving forward.
Its very exciting to see how far hes come since I started teaching him, Fabbro said. Its rewarding to see all the hard work and increases in musicianship and technique hes acquired.
Kims performance M.O. is all about intense focus, so he said that having performed at Carnegie once already wont really change how he approaches his second appearance.
I dont think Ill be comfortable because I cant really let my guard down, Kim said. I cant get into my comfort zone because (when) I am in my comfort zone, Ill get more easily distracted and I might make mistakes.
Kim has no competition plans for the near future, but not surprisingly, he will still be spending a lot of time seated at his piano in the coming months.
I will just be practicing every day getting ready for the next one, Kim said. Hopefully the outcome can be as good as the Carnegie Hall experience.