FeaturedInterviewsIssuesMay 2022

Seohyeon Kim 2nd Prize Winner Nielsen Flute Competition 2022

Korean flutist, Seohyeon received her Bachelor and Master's Degrees in CNSM de Paris.  Currently, she is the Principal Flutiste in Zurich Philharmonie Opera house and studying for her Advanced Diploma in Performance at CNSM de Paris. She is the 2nd Prize Winner of the 2022 Nielsen Flute Competition.


Can you give us 5 career highlights?

Top on the list is passing bachelor entry exam in 2015 and having graduated my master with the highest note with unanimously voted in September of 2021. I would say I just arrived at the starting line of career as musician.

Another is my first audition of principal flute in Gürzenich Orchester Köln. It was my first big step for becoming an orchestra player which has been a dream of mine since I stating to play flute. It was such a joy to be able to share the moment and collaborate with such remarkable colleagues. And my recent audition of principal flute in Zurich Opernhaus, I Passed the audition of my current orchestra Zürich Opera with a unanimous vote in January of 2022. I remember the moment they were welcoming me after the results announcement of the audition, I could say it was the best moment of my life.

My other career highlights occurred as I got 2nd prize in Nielsen competition with two special prizes from Odense Symphony Orchestra and from the young jury ! Everyday I learned so many things in each round, from my colleagues and from each round. We are most importantly challenged and competing against ourselves. I believe that we all made such a big step in our careers as musicians. I felt really loved and it was nice to meet such a fantastic people.

How about 3 pivotal moments that were essential to creating the artist that you've become?

When I was 8, I attended my first symphony concert. They were going to be playing every Beethoven symphony. after that concert I directly fall in love with the flute sound and then I bought every ticket to here until 9th symphony. And the moment I heard last movement of 9th symphony; I was sure that flute playing is my destiny and starting to learn seriously.

I passed the entry exam of CNSM de Paris with heights note with unanimity vote when I was 14. I was not sure about my playing and for my future as a musician. But the comments from every jury member after the exam made me feel comfortable and helped me gain more confidence. I still remember everything that they said, their words are my still lighthouse when I feel lost.

Meeting such amazing people while I am studying in Paris. These people that I met help me when I am struggling, they always support me, and they help me with everything I need and always try to find a way to recuse me. I am thankful to them for always having my back.

What do you like best about performing?

I really love the moment when the stage door is opening. In that moment I feel such a strong connection with the audience, the applause, with the stage lights, with the Orchestra. Everything about it gives me such an adrenaline rush !

What does your schedule look like for the next 6 months?  

First, I will continue to play as an orchestra player with Opernhaus Zurich and keep studying what I would like to study more : music theory(ex. History, analyzation). And beside that I have several solo concerts coming up in France. Currently, I am working on my debut album project which consists of impressionist French composer music combined with a very famous Korean folk song “Arirang”. My project was selected by the support program from my conservatory. I planned to play some new pieces and do some interesting arrangements. Also, I’ve been working with several illustrators to rich a goal : bring a music and a story to audience using everything I can. It will be the fusion of Korean folk song, history, and classical music. The recording will be finished in May 2023, this album will represent my identity as person and as a musician.

What are your goals personally?  Professionally?

For both personal and professional : my goal is to be an all-around person. For me it’s important to be able to do many different things and have a wide variety of skills. The versatility allows me to get the most out of the workforce and get a different and wider point of view. For this year, I have spent my time improving my German. As well as my physical, mental health by working out daily and meditation. I will also take more time to improve my piano and singing.

What inspires you the most in life?

Talking and creating something new with my friends who are such creative and brave artist. Another inspiration of mine is teaching.

Who were your music mentors?  and what did you learn from them?

I had three mentors, whom I am so lucky to have met and studied with. Soyoung Lee, my first flute professor, has influenced so much in my playing. I am so grateful for her guidance and support. Philippe Bernold and Florence Delepine Souchard in CNSM de Paris for my bachelor and Masters. They were such a delightful people and they have really helped me in finding my own music and my personality.

Can you give us 5 quirky, secret, fun, (don't think too much about this) hobbies or passions?  

I am a true Marathon lover; I try to do it one or two time one or two time a year. I love playing on my PlayStation, and other video game. Cooking traditional Korean food, singing at Karaoke, and inviting some friends to party !

What has been your professional and personal greatest challenge? And What 3 things would you offer as advice for a young flutist?

I am doing the Miracle morning routine. It’s hard every time, so every morning is a challenge for me. But the Miracle Morning helps with my daily reality, even if it’s in small ways. I feel stronger and more confidence. I can see myself improving to be better and better. As we improve, while practicing, we can still run into problems, which can be tricky. Make your own routine and never compromise. Of course, sometimes, we feel stuck and unable to improve, but never give up. We should be patient and go step by step. Because little drops of water make the mighty ocean.

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