With the 2017 ARD International Violin Competition entering its Final stages this week, VC recently caught up with 2013 joint-top prize winner VC Artist Bomsori Kim to get a better understanding of her time at the competition – and the opportunities the event has presented.
VC ARTIST BOMSORI KIM | BRAHMS VIOLIN CONCERTO | ANTONIO MÉNDEZ & BAVARIAN RADIO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA | 2013 ARD INTERNATIONAL VIOLIN COMPETITION | JOINT-TOP PRIZE
"After getting a chance to perform with amazing orchestras such as Finnish Radio Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, NDR Radiophilhamonie with Maestro Sakari Oramo, John Storgårds and Hannu Lintu, I was very much hoping to work more with such great musicians as I strongly believed that these experiences will make me grow into a more mature musician.
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Runsfunks was (and is still) definitely my dream orchestra to work with and that was one of the biggest inspirations for me to apply to the 62nd ARD competition in 2013 as I found that there will be a chance to play with them if I pass through the final stage in this historical competition. So, I did not hesitate at all to go to ARD competition.
The procedure to get ready for ARD competition was challenging because of the repertoires. Not just because of the large number of works that we had to prepare as there were four rounds (while most of the international competitions have three), but the contemporary works that they required us to perform were one of the most challenging ones. Back then, I was studying in Seoul National University with Young Uck Kim and he recommended me to choose Berio without doubt as he found Berio a great, interesting and unique composer. So, I chose Luciano Berio's Sequenza Vlll among the list that they gave us in addition to the commissioned piece, Ulrich Leyendecker's Sonata for solo violin. It took me a long time to just figure out the fingerings and bowings to make the millions of notes.
The third stage required us to play one concerto by Mozart or Haydn with Munich Chamber Orchestra and the newly commissioned piece and they select only three people to perform in the final round with BRSO. Somehow, I felt the most pressure in this round and I recall that the pressure was coming from the hope that it will be the round that could lead me to perform with BRSO.
The rehearsal for the final stage was like being in a dream. I really enjoyed the sound of this amazing orchestra and Maestro Antonio Méndez making Brahms Concerto. Especially Brahms Concerto is like symphonic music so I was the one who was privileged to play the most beautiful symphony with one of the greatest orchestras in the world. On the final stage, I was able to forget that I was in a competition. I was deeply moved by the orchestra’s sound and truly happy to make music together with them. This ecstatic experience gave me a new vision of being a musician and since then it still gives me enormous energy and I am sure that this memory will be constantly inspiring me for my entire life.
When the winner was announced, they announced first in German so I did not understand right away about what was going on. Since there were just two second prize winners, me and Christel Lee, and neither first prize awarded nor third prize winner. It was a great joy to hear that I won the competition and I was even happier when they awarded me special prize for the best contemporary music performance which I struggled with for a long time to prepare.
The other special thing about this competition is that participants get to broaden their network as ARD competition hold competitions for different instruments at the same time. In 2013, there were competitions for violin, viola, bassoon and piano trio. I met some of the winners of the other instruments from different places all over the world and I am always very happy to reunite with them. It gave us such a strong feeling of connection through the competition. In 2016, when I participated in the Wieniawski International Violin Competition, I had to play Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola with orchestra and the official violist was Katarzyna Budnik-Gałazka who was the 3rd prize winner of the 62nd ARD competition for the viola section. I figured this out when I went to rehearse with them and it was a huge surprise to reunite with her in such an unexpected situation. We had a truly great time together on the stage. This remained as a memorable and happy gift from ARD competition.
After winning the competition in 2013, it opened up a new chapter of my life. I started to get concerts throughout Europe and Asia including large amount of local media in my native country, Korea. Also, so many people who watched the competition not only in the concert hall but also on TV broadcasted by BR broadcasting company sent me encouraging messages and emails. I was very grateful to realize that even though we have a huge diversity of things to entertain people nowadays, people still need and enjoy classical music.
I wish the best of luck to all of this year's participants.