David Kim

David Kim
Viola
Member since 2009
Hometown: Memphis, Tennessee  

Musical beginnings:
I began playing the violin at the age of 5 and continued to play through early college, where I was a math major. I discovered the viola quite late, at the age of 21, and immediately fell in love with its dark, mellow sound. The decision to switch to the viola changed my life and allowed me to find my true musical voice. 

Important musical influences:
Nobuko Imai, Kim Kashkashian, and Carol Rodland were not only my main viola teachers, but also huge influences on my sensibilities as a musician and even as a person. Also, as a I child I remember my father playing the traditional Korean flute as well as singing Korean folk songs. 

Favorite composers:
My favorite composers are Bach, Beethoven, and Bartók. But Bach is, for me, the ultimate composer.

On being a member of the SFS and playing in an orchestra:
The San Francisco Symphony is a very warm, welcoming environment. I feel lucky to be a part of this musical family, especially the viola section. I’ve realized that my awareness of sound, of being able to listen to everything in complete harmony, is growing with each concert. It’s really about being able to anticipate and to open your ears.

Advice for aspiring professional musicians:
Spend as much time as you can doing what you love to do. If that means traveling, studying abroad, joining a quartet, do whatever it takes to have the most fulfilling musical experiences you can.