Paul Kim (pianist)

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Paul Kim is an American classical pianist.

Kim began his musical training in southern California and continued his studies at The Juilliard School. At the Manhattan School of Music he received his undergraduate and graduate degrees, and went on to earn a Ph.D. from New York University. Among his teachers include Paul Jacobs, Gary Graffman, Solomon Mikowsky and Jerome Lowenthal.

Kim has received attention for his performances with his musical family. With his wife Judith Jeon, a soprano, Kim has performed widely in lieder recitals. In 1995, he and his son Matthew Kim made their debut as a father-and-son piano duo with a sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall. The duo has expanded with the addition of Kim’s younger son, James. The trio of pianists, Paul Kim & Sons, has since performed throughout the world, often in benefit concerts for various social and charitable causes.

In addition to his performing career, Kim is president and co-founder of the Music Angels International Foundation. A profile of Kim's spiritual journey in music was featured in the book Creative Spirituality: The Way of the Artist written by Robert Wuthnow.

Kim currently serves as a professor of piano and music history at LIU Post.


Olivier Messiaen[edit]

Kim is recognized as one of the leading specialists on the music of the French composer Olivier Messiaen. Among Kim’s most notable achievements is his seven CD recording series comprising the complete piano works of Messiaen, released on the Centaur Records label from 2001 to 2005. Included in the series are Messiaen’s major compositions such as Catalogue d'oiseaux, Vingt regards sur l'enfant-Jésus, and the two-piano work Visions de l'Amen recorded with his son, Matthew Kim, who was 15 years old at that time.

Critics have noted Kim’s interpretations with references to his scholarly perspectives, athletic and poetic pianism, and spiritual qualities.[1][2][3][4] The pianist Yvonne Loriod, the late composer's wife and the foremost interpreter of his music, described Kim's performances as "perfect in every way — technique, rhythm, color, sonority, emotion."[5]


Kim is currently in the midst of a multi-volume recording series of the complete cycle of Beethoven's Nine Symphonies in his original transcriptions for the piano. The first volume, the Ninth Symphony (in an arrangement for two pianos), was recorded with his son Matthew and released in 2008 by Centaur Records. To date, the subsequent volumes in the series include Symphonies Nos. 1-3.

Victim of Fraud[edit]

In 2007, it was revealed that Kim was among the classical pianists victimized by the recording scandal of Joyce Hatto.[6] It was discovered that Hatto’s recording of Messiaen’s Vingt regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus was in fact Kim’s recording of the same released by Centaur Records in 2002.[7][8] A 2009 documentary film produced in the UK entitled The Great Piano Scam investigated the fraud scheme and its impact on the world of classical music and the artists who were victimized.[9][10]


Messiaen: Complete Works for Piano (2001-2005)[edit]

Centaur Records

  • Vol. 1: Birdsong Compositions (2001)
  • Vol. 2: Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus (2002)
  • Vol. 3: Visions de l’Amen, Quatre Études de rythme, and Cantéyodjayâ (2003)
  • Vol. 4: The Early Works (2005)

Beethoven: Complete Symphonies (2008-present)[edit]

Centaur Records

  • Vol. 1: Symphony No. 9 (2008)
  • Vol. 2: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2 (2010)
  • Vol. 3: Symphony No. 3 and 15 Variations with Fugue (2013)

Other Recordings[edit]

  • Stravinsky: Firebird and Petrouchka Suites, New York Philharmonic (LP, live recording 1978)


  1. ^ Jed Distler. "Review of Messiaen’s Early Piano Works". ClassicsToday. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  2. ^ Dominy Clements. "Review of Messiaen’s Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus". MusicWeb International. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  3. ^ Anne Midgette (28 February 2005). "Spiritual Offering at the Altar". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  4. ^ Dominy Clements. "Review of Messiaen’s Visions de l'Amen". MusicWeb International. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  5. ^ Paul Kim. "Liner Notes, Messiaen's Birdsong Compositions". Centaur Records CRC 2627/2628. 
  6. ^ Esther Bintliff (27 May 2007). "Grand Theft Piano". Newsweek. 
  7. ^ Denis Dutton (26 February 2007). "Shoot the Piano Player". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ "Joyce Hatto - The Ultimate Recording Hoax". Pristine Classical. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  9. ^ "The First Cut: The Great Piano Scam". Channel 4. 31 July 2009. 
  10. ^ "Classical Music: How Simple Tinkering with Tempo Took in the Top Critics". The Scotsman. 29 July 2009.