Brian Kim 2018

Brian Kim. Photo: WinkiPoP Media

An interview with Brian Kim


Flautist Brian Kim, winner of the 2018 Sydney Eisteddfod NSW Drs Orchestra Instrumental Scholarship, talks about his inspiration  and gives some first hand insight into the world of a flautist. Kim was also the winner of the Sydney Eisteddfod Alf & Pearl Pollard Memorial Instrumental Awards for Performance Excellence in 2011 and participated in numerous other Sydney Eisteddfod competitions thereafter. 

What inspired you to start playing the flute?

A short performance at church by my first flute teacher, Beth Hwang, inspired me to start playing the flute. At the time, the sound was just so beautiful and it made me want to make that sound myself. Then, what made me seriously take on the flute was its unique playing qualities. Unlike other instruments where there is a reed, bow or mouth piece, the flute is played directly from the air of the player. I think the flute allows the audience to see the person behind the flautist: his/her thoughts, emotions, character and philosophy. This is what makes flute performances so special and interesting to me! 

Can you tell us a bit about the pieces you chose to perform for the final?

My first piece was Agrestide by Eugène Bozza, a piece composed for the Concours of the Paris Conservatoire. It is an absolutely beautiful pastiche of my favourite French sounds: Debussy, Ravel, Gaubert… You can hear them all!!! Agrestide is a journey of countless colours and emotions that ultimately finish with a lively dance! My second piece was Rondo in D major by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, originally for violin and orchestra. This sweet and charming number embodies all the drama and the rapid mood changes you would expect to hear in Mozart. My final piece was the fiery Earth Dance, which is the 3rd movement of Ross Edward’s Nura for flute and piano. It is inspired by Australian nature and culture: the bird calls, the sensuous ocean sounds, and Indigenous dance rhythms. 

Which other performers do you most like to listen to, and why?

In terms of flautists, when I started playing the flute, I loved listening to Jean-Pierre Rampal. His simple yet incredibly charismatic approach to each piece he played was so captivating to listen to. At the moment, I love listening to Emmanuelle Pahud and Philippe Bernold because of their unbelievable versatility of tone colour. In terms of other instruments, I love listening to David Oistrakh on the violin and Eric Le Sage on the piano: their playing just really captivates me each time I listen to them.

What have you learnt from your Sydney Eisteddfod experience?

I would say the Sydney Eisteddfod has been a great motivation for me throughout my musical development. I really acknowledge my experience with Sydney Eisteddfod as it has had a huge impact on me as a musician. Firstly participating in the competition as a primary school student, I loved being able to play in front of an audience and to listen to other flautists and instrumentalists, which added to my determination and perseverance. These are two qualities which I believe to be extremely important in a musician. Then, winning these sections were big achievements in my life and a incredible boosts to my confidence as a musician. It helped me to continue what I love doing the most: playing my music to others! Overall, I had so much enjoyment throughout the years and feel that this program has contributed significantly to my development as a musician.

What would you say to a young musician who was thinking about entering Sydney Eisteddfod?

Go for it! As a young musician (or a young anything!), you gain so much from giving it a go. If a you are thinking about it, then there is most likely that little part of you that wants to try it and see how it is. For me, it was an absolute blast of fun and they remain as great memories and achievements. 

What do you hope to achieve next?

I hope to develop as a musician and as an individual in society! In the long run, I hope to pursue a career in music and to earn a place in an orchestra is ultimately my dream. Playing together with other great musicians who love music as much as me as an occupation would be an absolute dream! I hope to become a reputable soloist also! 

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