Senior Recital: Steve Kim ’11

Resonating and rich tunes of the oboe enveloped the intimate audience at the Senior Recital featuring Steve Kim ’11 this past Sunday in the Timken Room.

Kim began his recital on a strong and vibrant note as he played Bach’s “Concerto for Oboe and Violin in C minor,” accompanied by violinist Stephanie Liu ’11, Kevin Qian ’11 on the harpsichord and Peter Oswald, Teaching Fellow in Music, on the cello.

While all the instruments harmonized through the jovial allegro movement, Kim’s oboe sang clear and smoothly as it danced up and down through the lively and upbeat notes.

In the next piece, Henri Dutilleux’s “Sonata for Oboe and Piano,” the audience delved into a new wave of emotions as Kim’s oboe graced the room with somber tones.

The sonata featured three movements that had Kim transcend between numerous rhythms and melodies.

In some scenes, the graceful notes of the piano accentuated and contrasted Kim’s sad and melodious oboe, while in others, Kim’s mastery of the oboe shone through as he dramatically and perfectly tackled fast and oscillating notes.

A single lonesome sharp note on the oboe rang clear as Kim reached the climax of this piece.

The audience could feel the height of the emotion as the note shrilled in their ears.

“I haven’t been playing the oboe for very long and I switched to the oboe basically because of two pieces I played today, [the Dutilleux and the Saint-Saëns sonatas],” said Kim. “The Dutilleux is just a fantastic and beautiful piece.”

After a brief intermission, the audience was surprised by a unique piece, Benjamin Britten’s “Phantasy Quartet,” featuring Kim, violinist Esther Muradov ’11, celloist Oswald and Emily Scoble ’11 on the viola.

The piece traveled through a distinct blend of rich chord repetitions and string plucks, pausing to accentuate the solo oboe melodies.

It briefly passed by piercing intensive notes, finally ending with the dramatic and more classical rhythms.

“The quartet was a really different style and I liked how the oboe worked with all the other instruments, especially the string instruments,” said Hannah Lee ’12.

Christopher Walter, Instructor in Music, said, “It made for a very interesting selection and nice variety because there was a string trio with it, so it was a wonderful piece.”

In his finale, Kim mirrored the merry emotions at the start of his recital with Camille Saint-Saëns’s “Oboe Sonata in D.”

Playing high and light notes, Kim captured the touching and mellifluous rhythm of the piece. Even as the tempo increased dramatically, Kim was able to keep up with the climbing rhythms and tempos.

The sonata proved to be a great finale for Kim’s music career at Andover as it showcased not only Kim’s dexterity on the oboe but also his emotional understanding of music.

Despite having played for an entire hour, Kim never faltered a note, and sustained the vibrant and sonorous music of his oboe until his very last breath.

“It was really challenging to play for an hour straight by myself,” said Kim, “[The oboe] is just a really tiring instrument and you have to blow into something with a tight so that was exhausting.”

Walter said, “[The recital] went wonderfully well and every one of those pieces was very challenging.”

“I know I could have done better, but I don’t think it’s really about the quality of the performance…Senior recitals are just a great time to reflect upon the four years that I’ve been here, and it’s a great opportunity to have other people join in. It’s just a great moment,” said Kim.