The South Korean violinist talks to Andrew Mellor about competitions and her experience so far of life as a professional solo violinist

Bomsori Kim

Photo: Karol Solokowski
Bomsori Kim performs with the NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero for streamed music service DG Stage in September 2020

The following extract is from The Strad’s June issue cover feature profiling the rising star violinist Bomsori Kim. To read it in full, click here to subscribe and login. The June 2021 digital magazine and print edition are on sale now

‘I have started to enjoy the process,’ Kim says of turning up in a new city to work with a new group of colleagues for a week. ‘It’s always refreshing to be exposed to new ideas, that two people can interpret things so differently. There are more questions I’m not afraid to ask now, and I am more open to listening to opinions, to seeing if it works for me and if I can apply it to my own music making. Anyway, answers in music are never a hundred per cent clear; things are always open-ended.’

It was a string of prizes at numerous international competitions that brought Kim to prominence in the mid-2010s, including a shared second prize in the violin category at the 2013 ARD International Music Competition in Munich (first prize was not awarded that year) and eleven prizes at the 2016 International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition. What she learnt above all from the competition circuit was stamina. ‘You’re there for a month, you’re putting all your efforts into each round. It was helpful for me to learn about that strength, in preparation for becoming a professional concert violinist.’


Read Bomsori: Singing from the heart

Read The Strad June 2021 issue is out now!

Watch Bomsori plays Wieniawski Violin Concerto no.2

Read Violinist Bomsori Kim signs to Deutsche Grammophon


Is the professional life a little easier than endless competitions? ‘No, it’s worse. It’s really a lot worse!’ In what sense? ‘Because there’s all the travelling and all the stress, and the people you meet don’t know what situation you are in. At least in a competition, people know you’re in a competition: that you’re in the third round or fourth round. When you appear somewhere to give a concert, they don’t know where you’ve been the week before. You are there just once, and maybe you will never be invited back, so you have to give your best all the time – to everybody.’