Philadelphia Orchestra Concertmaster and renowned violinist David Kim performed with noted pianist Dr. Ronald A. Matthews, president of Eastern University, at Villa Maria Academy High School on Tuesday, November 19. The performance celebrated the dedication of Villa Maria’s new Yamaha C2X grand piano. The musicians played selections by Handel, Beethoven, and Bach, and more, taking time to share some thoughts about the pieces.
Villa Maria’s new grand piano, a Yamaha C2X, was purchased with the help of generous supporters of Villa Maria’s music program. The evening’s program began with a prayer service thanking the supporters and the performers. The piano enhances Villa Maria’s music program, which includes classes in music theory, history, composition, and technology, and offers opportunities for solo and group performance as well as weekly private instruction in multiple instruments.
The evening held special meaning for Villa Maria Director of Music Leah Kim. In introducing the performance, she noted that both musicians had been inspirations and mentors to her in her own musical career. She recounted that as a child in South Korea, she and her mother traveled to see David Kim perform. “I had taken a 6-hour train ride to attend his recital with my mother on a very cold winter day, and waited for 3 hours at the ticketing line to get a seat. I was so moved by his sound. His sound was so full of energy. I don’t think I closed my mouth the whole time I was at that recital.”
Leah Kim’s parents were so inspired by the Juilliard-trained violinist that they moved to the United States so that their daughter could also eventually study at Juilliard.
Leah Kim, who is a former faculty member of Eastern University, also thanked Dr. Matthews for his mentorship in her career. “He was the first person in my life who started a job interview with prayers. I was very blessed to have worked under Dr. Matthews leadership. Since meeting him he has been somebody I looked up to spiritually and musically.”
David Kim appears as soloist with The Philadelphia Orchestra each season, as well as with numerous orchestras around the world. He also appears internationally at such festivals as Arizona Musicfest, Kingston Chamber Music Festival, and Taipei Music Academy and Festival. Mr. Kim began playing the violin at the age of three. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School. Mr. Kim has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from Eastern University in suburban Philadelphia, the University of Rhode Island, and Dickinson College.
Dr. Ronald A. Matthews is the president of Eastern University. Dr. Matthews has served as Professor of Music, Chair of the Music Department, and Executive Director of the Fine and Performing Arts Division. Dr. Matthews has conducted, recorded, and performed in France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Switzerland and the Vatican, and is a commissioned and published composer. From 2005 until 2018, he was the Pastor of Worship Arts at Church of the Saviour in Wayne, PA.