ISABEL MONTELEONE ’16
The Fred is filled with many talented students from various social niches and artistic interests. Many of them served as mentors in the InterArts seminar, one of the four gateway programs offered to first-year students. Davis Kim was one of these mentors for the seminar, “Art and Society.” Kim isn’t only a phenomenal pianist, but also a friend to all in the Fred and is partially responsible for gracing the Fred’s third floor with music. This past Sunday, Kim eagerly agreed to take some time out of his busy schedule to discuss his musical journey from childhood to now.
Davis Kim is a double major in music and neuroscience. His artistic journey began with his parents’ decision to place him in piano lessons at the age of five. What started as a forceful beginning with music later blossomed into one of his passions. He soon realized that music had a huge potential in being a fundamental aspect of his academic and social life. In his younger years, Kim primarily played the piano because of his parents. It did not take long for them to realize that he was different from his peers. Kim learned at an exceptional pace and proved to be very good indicator that he was ready for private lessons. In his years of taking these private lessons, Kim was exposed to many opportunities to showcase his ability to play. These experiences allowed him to win many competitions as a young musician. However, with time, both Kim and his parents realized that he was a little fish in a big pond with many other talented performers who outperformed him.
When Kim talks about his exposure to music and the piano, he can’t forget about the immense support he receives from his parents. Up until the ninth grade, Kim continued to play because his parents told him to. It wasn’t until his three-year hiatus from piano that brought him to the realization that he truly loved it. During those days, he reflected on the many years he had spent playing. Senior year of high school was a turning point for him. Kim came to terms with his passion and started to play again.
Coming to Trinity, Kim “didn’t really know what to expect.” He was aware of Trinity’s small music and theatre programs, but regardless of their size, he was able to find many ways to thrive. Trinity gave him the opportunity to do more with music than he had ever done before. It allowed him to become multi-faceted in the arts, from joining choir to being involved in major stage productions, along with private piano lessons. “It really opened my eyes,” he said. Kim participated in the Chapel Singers and the Jazz Ensemble since his sophomore year. He has also been taking lessons since the second semester of his freshman year with Paul Bisaccia and is part of a musical group called, “The Boulevard.” In addition to these clubs, Kim attributes much of his involvement in the theatre department to Gerald Moshell, a music professor. He states “Gerry has given him many opportunities.” Kim has played the piano for the productions of “Rent,” “New Brain,” and the upcoming muscial, “Parade.” His involvements with these activities has deepened his passion for the arts.
Last fall, Davis spent the semester abroad at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, a music conservatory in Copenhagen, Denmark. He describes it as an incredibly fruitful experience that strengthened his talents and challenged him, “it was really different being in an environment where everyone is top notch and wants music performing to be a career. It’s really humbling to go to a conservatory.” While at the conservatory, Kim spent two to three hours a day the piano. He is especially grateful for the professional leadership he was exposed to. Kim’s teachers at the conservatory focused on using individualism and interpretation in creating and playing music. These were two concepts that profoundly influenced his music; “what I got out of the conservatory was a sense of individualism in my music and I feel like that that’s almost much more important to me than being technically proficient.”
Reflecting on his college experience, Kim is thankful for his professors’ guidance, “the thing about Trinity is that it’s given me so many opportunities to grow as an artist. I’ve almost learned to appreciate music even more now.” Trinity has provided him with a variety of ways to create music and share his passion with others, “I’ve been able to collaborate more here with people in The Mill, a Capella, the Fred, and of course with InterArts.” The InterArts seminar was a strong component in helping him improve his musical abilities during his first year.
Recently, Kim is working to enhance his improvisation and jazz music skills. “Being around people who love to sing and play instruments has really allowed me to play more freely… not being constrained by the sheet music.” Kim is a remarkable example of the enjoyment that can come with hard work. His passion is reflected in his commitment and devotion to strengthening the art scene on campus.
For the past few weeks, Kim, along with the entire cast of “Parade,” has been hard at work in preparations for what is sure to be a spectacular show. Performances will be held in the Austin Arts Center. The musicial will premiere on Thursday, February 13th at 7:30 p.m. and again on the 14th and 15th, an excellent chance to see great talent in action!