Young Artist Project: Jamie Kim

By Julie Riggott

Photo of Jamie Kim holding a flute in front of a colorful illustrated background.
Design by Mingmei Li.

In the third of four profiles, meet a Thornton alum who is highlighting women and BIPOC composers for her Young Artist Project.

Episode one of the podcast “Have Ya Heard” begins with the famous opening bars of Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” …suddenly interrupted by a buzzer. 

“No, no. That’s not what we’re going to be listening to today,” says Winds & Percussion Department and Music Industry alumna Jamie Kim (’22), who goes on to introduce her podcast. 

“This is ‘Have Ya Heard’ with Jamie Kim, a podcast where I will be going against the natural grain of classical music and bringing in new and exciting composers that hopefully you haven’t heard from before. These artists will be women composers, composers of BIPOC backgrounds and more. 

“So say goodbye to Chopin, Mozart and Bach while we delve into the world of the brilliant musicians who have been hidden or overlooked in our canon. And who knows? By the end of this, you might be ignited by curiosity to further explore the undiscovered potential of the musical past and future.”  

Photo of Jim Walker performing with his flute in concert attire on a classical performance stage.
At USC Thornton, Kim studied flute performance with Catherine Karoly and former faculty member Jim Walker (pictured above). She is pursuing a master’s degree in performance at Juilliard with the goal of winning a seat in a major orchestra — and keeping classical music alive. (Photo: Lawrence K. Ho)

Kim came up with the idea for her Young Artist Project at USC Thornton not because she knew all about composers outside the canon but because she didn’t. She saw the project as a way to expand her own horizons.

“Honestly, it’s a little embarrassing to say that before this project I had that very closed-off mindset to new music and music outside the white, European canon,” she said. “This project really opened up my ears and eyes to what else there is in music history and music that’s being published and created now.” 

During her research, Kim discovered Late Romantic female composers like Teresa Carreño and contemporary composers like George Walker.

The project gave her a new outlook on the future of classical. 

“It’s helped me realize that everything else is being advanced — like society and technology. And if we have that closed-off and very historic mindset of classical music too, that’s what’s going to make classical music die.”

“That project really taught us to take the initiative ourselves and find out what we’re passionate about, versus the faculty giving us boundaries within which we would have to complete our project,” she added. “It was nice having that endless creativity to do whatever we wanted.”

Kim, who studied flute performance with Catherine Karoly and Jim Walker, is pursuing a master’s degree in performance at Juilliard with the goal of winning a seat in a major orchestra — and keeping classical music alive.

“Have Ya Heard” with Jamie Kim – Podcast Episodes
Photo of a smiling music student holding a violin.
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TAGS: Music Teaching and Learning, Winds and Percussion,

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