Isaac Kim


Photo by Matt Dine


Plano Symphony Orchestra, section, 2019–21; Richardson Symphony Orchestra, substitute, 2018–21; Prisma Festival, Canada, 2019; Music Academy of the West, 2018; Summit Music Festival, New York, 2017

What is your earliest memory of classical music?

Attending the ballet The Nutcracker in Novosibirsk, Russia when I was around six years old.

When did you realize you wanted to pursue music as a career?

When I saw cello for the first time.

How did you hear about TŌN? What inspired you to apply?

My friend told me about the program. I really liked the blue that the orchestra was wearing. (I don’t understand why orchestras always wear black tuxedos.)

Who is your biggest inspiration?

Rostropovich, Yo Yo Ma

Which composer or genre of music do you feel you connect with the most?

There are a lot, actually: Shostakovich, Brahms, Chopin, and Mahler, to name few.

What has been your favorite experience as a musician?

Playing a concert where I feel like I am not being judged

Favorite non-classical musician or band

Bill Evans and Lincoln Center Orchestra

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?

Nothing, I was born to be a musician.

Which three people, dead or alive, would you like to have dinner with and why?

Leonardo DiCaprio, he seems to be a fun person to hang out with. Richard Strauss, to ask him to make his cello parts a bit easier. Astor Piazzolla, I would have loved to play in his band.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us

I can speak Russian.

Piece of advice for a young classical musician

Try to enjoy life more, practicing is not everything.