Pauline Kim Residency Time at Bloomingdale School of Music

Katie Cox

Starting in October 2019, Pauline Kim was Composer-in-Residence at Bloomingdale School of Music (BSM), kicking off the eleventh round of the EtM Con Edison Composer Residencies. Bloomingdale has been a long-time partner of this residency program, which provides six months of free workspace for our composers. Below Pauline talks about her residency time and BSM.

While in residence through the EtM Con Edison Composer Residencies at Bloomingdale School of Music (BSM), I was commissioned by the BSM to write a new work for their annual Album For the Young (A4TY) Concert at Symphony Space, directed by Margalit Cantor.

A Fragile State for 5 Violins was written for violin faculty, Naho Parrini and her violin class.

At the beginning of my residency at BSM, school was not yet in session. And, the concert hall was being renovated for TV (then still a secret project) George To the Rescue [watch the entire episode by clicking here].

So, the building was pretty much empty.

I finished writing this piece in December of 2019 while in Singapore. By the time I got to hear it for the first time, it was just days before the premiere and toward the end of my EtM residency at BSM. The ensemble had been working hard at it though and I was blown away by their commitment and delivery.

It was a challenging piece in that the rhythmic feel was in 5:4 with a perpetual motion of quintuplets being passed between individual players and pairs of violins from start to finish. We worked with great focus on timbres by use of extended techniques to create an array of harmonic sounds and pitches. It was an exhilarating experience witnessing these young artists discovering all the possibilities.

It occurred to me that I was just about their age when I moved to NYC to attend Juillard pre-college and to study with Dorothy DeLay. I lived in a townhouse on the Upper East Side with a renowned concert pianist where I had a fold-out bed in the office and walked their beautiful golden retrievers twice a day while attending the Professional Children’s School during the week. There were salons and pop-up concerts, sometimes daily.

After the premiere, I immediately wrote Margalit to see if it would be possible to invite some of the students to participate in the Public Program I was to present as part of my EtM Con Edison Composer residency at BSM. The pandemic hit right at the time of our planning, bringing it to PAUSE. But, I am grateful to have the opportunity to present the concert sometime in the future when it’s safe for us all to gather again. So, stay tune!

This is a video of one of the two scintillating performances by the young artists of A Fragile State on the day of the premiere.

If you would like to follow or support this project, please visit my website at or follow me on Instagram @paulinekimharris.

PAULINE KIM HARRIS, aka PK or Pauline Kim is a Grammy- nominated violinist and composer. The youngest student to have ever been accepted into the studio of legendary violinist Jascha Heifetz, she has since appeared throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia as soloist, collaborator and music director. Known for her work with classical avant-punk violin duo String Noise, she has toured extensively with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and continues to collaborate with leading new music ensembles in New York City. Pauline Kim was the first Music Director for the Bill T. Jones/ Arnie Zane Dance Company and has been the featured artist for choreographers David Parker and Pam Tanowitz. As a composer, Pauline searches for a tactile connection between memory and sound. Her music creates a multi-dimensional sonic matrix through composition, transporting the listener to an alternate co-existence. She introduces an environment that alters the listener’s emotional identity to what they are experiencing. Most recently, Pauline Kim was an associate artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts and had her debut residency at the Stone – New School. In addition to being a fellow at the Mabel Residency, a new work commissioned by the Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players will premiere this fall. Her most recent work 100 Thimbles In A Box for String Noise x Syrinx (acoustic synthesizer) premiered at Roulette in June 2019 along with an innovative new work Sparkle for 10 Tap and 8 Pointe Shoes which was developed and premiered by David Parker’s The Bang Group in February 2019, to be set to movement and space in 2020. Pauline’s debut album, Heroine — a reimagining of the Bach Chaconne and Ockeghem’s Deo Gratias will be released on Sono Luminus with worldwide distribution on September 27, 2019.


Post a comment