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(PC: Taeuk Kang and Tricia Koning)

San Francisco Symphony Hires New Principal Musicians

Yubeen Kim will take on the principal flute position, while Katherine Siochi becomes the principal harpist


The orchestra and its music director Esa-Pekka Salonen have welcomed two new musicians to the group.

Katherine Siochi will join the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) as its principal harp in September 2023; Yubeen Kim will begin his role as principal flute as of January 2024. 

Siochi succeeds Douglas Rioth, who retired in December 2021 after 40 years with SFS, and Kim will succeed former SFS principal flute Tim Day, who retired at the end of the 2020/21 season after a 14-year tenure.

After four rounds of auditions, Kim and Siochi were selected out of 160 applicants for the principal flute position and nearly 130 candidates for principal harp.

Serving as principal flute of Konzerthausorchester Berlin since 2016, Kim has also been a guest principal with the Berlin Philharmonic. He has performed solo with the Seoul Philharmonic, Korean Symphony, Prague Spring Festival, EuroArt Prague, and ARKO Contemporary Orchestra Music Festival, among others.

A graduate of the Lyon Conservatory, Paris Conservatory, and the Hanns Eisler School of Music Berlin, he was a major prize winner at the 2022 ARD International Music Competition, 2015 Prague Spring International Music Competition, and the 2014 Concours de Genève.

Siochi was previously the principal harp of the Minnesota Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, and Sarasota Orchestra, plus a guest with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and New York Philharmonic. She has performed in China, Hong Kong, Israel, and Chicago as a soloist. 

She has served as artist-faculty at the Aspen Music Festival and School and as a concert artist for the American Harp Society. A Juilliard School graduate studying with Nancy Allen, Siochi also studied piano as a secondary instrument. In 2016, she was the gold medalist of the USA International Harp Competition.

“I feel so incredibly lucky to be joining the musicians of the San Francisco Symphony,” Siochi expressed. “To make music with an orchestra of this caliber and with Esa-Pekka Salonen, whom I’ve admired for a long time, is a dream come true — especially in a city as unique, beautiful, diverse, and culturally vibrant as San Francisco.”

“The American Dream, which was my dream, has come true! I am so glad to join the wonderful San Francisco Symphony,” said Kim. “I’m honored to be able to make music with these great musicians and artists, and am greatly looking forward to working with Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen. I’m also looking forward to getting to know the San Francisco Symphony audiences, and I hope to see you often at Davies Symphony Hall. Please keep an eye out for me in the center of the orchestra!”

In September 2023, the SFS will announce more new musicians, who will join the orchestra throughout the upcoming concert season.

Founded in 1911, the SFS comprises over 80 musicians. In the 2020/21 season, the orchestra appointed conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen as its 12th music director — a partnership that has since led them to create an artistic leadership model anchored by eight Collaborative Partners, including Nicholas Britell, Julia Bullock, Claire Chase, Bryce Dessner, Pekka Kuusisto, Nico Muhly, Carol Reiley, and esperanza spalding.

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