“Learning an instrument instills so many things that people need everywhere: Discipline, attention to detail, working with other people,” said Julie Kim, a second-semester freshman at Mannes. “It’s just one of those things that you need a lot of life skills to be able to do well.”

In talking to Kim, you find that she is far wiser than most 18-year-olds. She exudes a warmth and grace not only through her persona but through the way she plays the cello. She began her musical career at the age of 5,  when her mother signed her up for piano lessons. By the age of 8, she had moved on from the piano to the violin, before finally settling on the cello. Though she was born in Secaucus, New Jersey, Kim was raised in Cupertino, California. (Yes, Cupertino like from the weather app. She gets a good laugh out of that.)

She comes from a family of musicians — her mother a pianist, her father a trumpet player- and was introduced to and surrounded by classical music very early on. When asked why she chose the cello, she said that she didn’t feel coordinated enough for the piano and couldn’t stand the screeching of the violin, so the cello sort of “picked her.”

“When I was younger, I played the Bach cello suites and I hated it,” she said, “I thought it was so boring but the more I played it, the more I came to appreciate it and now I love it. That’s when I realized that this was something that I wanted to be doing for the rest of my life.”

The prospect of making it in the music world is a little daunting to her, but she said that she’d rather know that she tried and failed than to have never tried at all.

“When people think of musicians they think of what happens on stage, the performance but what people don’t see is the thousands of hours of work and sweat and blood and tears that goes into it. That’s the part that’s really formative. Dedication to anything to get to a certain level is going to take work,” Kim said.

“I think music is really -it’s a good teacher.”

Though she often sticks to classical music, she loves contemporary music and can be found listening to Weezer or Muse -whom she loves –on her headphones. If you’d like to see Julie perform in person, she will be playing with the school in the Mannes Spring Chamber Music Bash on Sunday, April 23rd and with the Mannes Orchestra at Carnegie Hall the following Tuesday, April 25th for their centennial celebration.


with reporting by Hannah Emmert

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