After signing with Deutsche Grammophon (DG) earlier this year, Korean violinist Kim Bomsori released her very first album with the label on June 18. She became the third Korean artist to sign an exclusive deal with DG after pianist Cho Seong-jin and soprano Park Hye-sang.
After winning the ARD International Music Competition in 2016, the 31-year-old violinist began a tour of Europe, until the start of the pandemic. Instead of resting, Kim recorded her first DG album.
Entitled “Violin on Stage”, Kim mainly presents violin arrangements of opera and ballet pieces. The album has nine tracks.
It opens with “Polonaise Brillante No.1 Op.4” by Polish composer and violinist Hengryk Wieniawsk, followed by “Pas de Deux” from “The Nutcracker” by Tchaikovsky. The album also includes “Carmen Fantasy” by Franz Waxman and “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso Op. 28” by Saint-Saëns. It ends with “Légende Op. 17” and “Fantaisie sur des themes du“ Faust ”by Gounod, op. 20. ”
“Legendary twentieth-century violinists such as Kreisler and Heifetz arranged opera arias or ballet music and performed them,” Kim said, adding that she recorded the album as if to “preserve this tradition “.
According to Kim, a friend listened to the album before release and described the experience similar to a thrilling action movie like “The Bourne Identity”.
“My friend told me that it was impossible to turn off the music even for a bathroom break because it was like watching an exciting, thrilling action movie that condensed emotional scenes,” said Kim. “I was quite happy with the feedback.”
The experience of recording the album, Kim says, was also “thrilling like an action movie.”
The NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra accompanied the violinist under the direction of Giancarlo Guerrero at the National Music Forum in Wroclaw, Poland. To get to Poland from Germany, Kim usually takes a plane. But after finding out that international flights were impossible due to the pandemic, Kim and his team drove. Some members of the orchestra, as well as the conductor and soundmaster, tested positive for the coronavirus, so recording Kim’s debut album seemed like a “mission impossible.”
It continued to be delayed but eventually, “like a miracle” Kim recorded the album last December.
For her latest outing, the violinist said she wanted to describe what it feels like to “sing along with a violin”.
“While I was studying at the Julliard School in New York City, I got to see a lot of operas at the Metropolitan Opera House,” she said.
“Watching opera singers use their bodies as an instrument has inspired me a lot about the way I play the violin. I want to sing along with my violin.”
Kim said she feels so used to her violin that she can use it as her own voice.
“I decided to reflect the vocal qualities of the violin in the arrangements for the album,” Kim said. “I hope my performance can help listeners imagine scenes from operas and ballets and enjoy a moment of freedom through music.”
To promote her album, Kim toured the country with Russian pianist Ilya Rashkovsky on June 22, ending with a concert in Seoul on Saturday.