MEMORIES UNSETTLED from Navona Records explores music that has too often been marginalized from the historical musical canon. Sun Min Kim and Hilary Glen joined forces during the height of the pandemic, forming the Gibbs Street Duo, an ensemble that demonstrates the power and relevance of music as a catalyst for change throughout this album.
Today, Sun Min Kim is our featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our composers and performers. Read on to learn about the inspiration he finds in the Rocky Mountains, and his love for the travel aspect of being a musician…
When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?
When I started learning piano at age 7, I immediately fell in love with the instrument. Even though I didn’t have any idea about what I wanted to do when I grew up, I never wanted to part from it. I kept playing it, and here I am. I never had a “grand” moment when I decided to become an artist. It just happened.
What was your most unusual performance, or the most embarrassing thing that happened to you during a performance?
Once I was playing a recital with a cellist, and I played a piece in the wrong order. The piece had a long piano introduction. Of course, the cellist was surprised and was looking at me, but I thought she was enjoying my playing very much. When it was her time to enter, she didn’t come in. I looked at her, and she told me that I was playing a wrong piece.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Probably watching Romantic comedy movies or very very sappy movies/TV shows. Watching these tear-gas-like movies is cathartic.
If you could make a living at any job in the world, what would that job be?
Probably a pilot. I love traveling, visiting new places, eating new food, and meeting new people. That is one of my favorite parts of being a performing musician. The lifestyle of constantly visiting new places sounds very appealing to me. I am sure the reality of the job isn’t as idealistic as I think it is though.
If you could spend creative time anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. I love the climate, landscape, and hiking. I spent six summers in Aspen, and I absolutely loved the experience of being in the mountains and making music. These mountains inspire me to want to keep creating art.
If you could instantly have expertise performing one instrument, what instrument would that be?
Violin. I always loved how expressive the instrument can be. It is the timber that touches my heart the most. As a pianist, I am envious of their ability to create real legato.
What does this album mean to you personally?
It is my first time playing a program written by living composers, even though Dorothy Rudd Moore passed away in March 2022. I absolutely enjoyed working with the composers to find the true meanings of their work.
The classical music field has only played a small selection of compositions for more than 100 years. I am glad that I was able to be a part of a movement that includes works by non-European composers. I also enjoyed working with the cellist Hilary Glen. She is a dynamite musician and a wonderful person. She brought many good ideas to this project and has a great interpretation of these works.