Gloria Chien, founder and director of String Theory at the Hunter, along with her husband Soovin Kim, have been named artistic directors of Chamber Music Northwest to succeed current Artistic Director David Shifrin. A husband and wife team, both are internationally-renowned performers – Chien a pianist and Kim a violinist – and experienced music presenters.
“Soovin and I are honored to have been chosen to succeed David Shifrin in his extraordinary 40-year tenure as the artistic director of the Chamber Music Northwest Festival,” said Chien. “We look forward to continuing his legacy as well as bringing our own vision to the festival.”
Chien formed Sting Theory in 2009 at the Hunter Museum of American Art in downtown Chattanooga to expose new audiences to chamber music, invigorate the local classical music scene, and cultivate a future generation of music lovers.
“I am sure a big part of why we were chosen to be the next directors of CMNW is because of the reputation String Theory has built over the last 10 years,” said Chien.
Chien and Kim are co-artistic directors of the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, founded by Kim in 2008. In addition to her leadership of String Theory, Chien has been director of the Chamber Music Institute of the Music@Menlo Festival since 2010. She also serves as an artist-in-residence at the Lee University School of Music in Cleveland and is a Steinway Artist.
“From a field of exceptional musicians and artistic leaders, we are confident we’ve made the best choice for Chamber Music Northwest’s next chapter,” said CMNW Executive Director Peter Bilotta. “We are thrilled to have Gloria and Soovin on our team.”
Chien made her orchestral solo debut at the age of 16 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She regularly performs in the United States at venues such as Alice Tully Hall, Jordan Hall, the Library of Congress, and the Phillips Collection. She has also recently performed abroad at the Dresden Chamber Music Festival, Seoul Arts Center, and the National Concert Hall in Taiwan.
The New York Times noted her piano playing as containing “elegant ripples and shadings,” and the Boston Globe selected her as one of its Superior Pianists of the year, “…who appears to excel in everything…her performance had it all, and it was fabulous.” She is a prizewinner of the World Piano Competition, Harvard Musical Association Award and the San Antonio International Piano Competition, where she also received the prize for the Best Performance of the Commissioned Work.
“I thank my String Theory board and patrons for all their support over the years,” said Chien. “This new appointment will not only give String Theory a broader reach musically but also more exposure to audiences around the country. I hope many of our String Theory patrons make Portland a summer destination so we can introduce Chattanooga to many people as well.”
Kim enjoys one of the broadest musical careers as a recitalist, concerto soloist, chamber musician, presenter, and educator. His international concert career was launched after winning first prize at the Paganini International Competition when he was 20 years old. He subsequently was the recipient of such distinguished prizes as the Henryk Szeryng Career Award, the Avery Fisher Grant, and the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award.
He dedicates much of his time to his passion for teaching. He has been on the faculties of Stony Brook University and the Peabody Institute, and now he teaches exclusively at the New England Conservatory in Boston.
Chien and Kim will perform under Shifrin’s artistic leadership at CMNW’s 2019 and 2020 Summer Festivals and then succeed him as artistic directors in the fall of 2020. In the interim, they will begin their own artistic planning for their first Chamber Music Northwest Summer Festival in 2021.
“I have worked with both Gloria and Soovin on many occasions,” said Shifrin. “I am confident they will bring the greatest music and finest musicians to Portland for years to come.”
Now in its 49th season, Chamber Music Northwest serves thousands of people in Oregon and SW Washington with exceptional chamber music through over 100 events annually, including its flagship five-week Summer Festival, concerts in alternative venues, outreach activities, educational programs, broadcasts, and innovative collaborations with other arts groups. CMNW is the only chamber music festival of its kind in the northwest and one of the most diverse classical music experiences in the nation, virtually unparalleled in comparable communities.