Adventurous guitarist Jiji joins ASU School of Music string faculty

Friday, April 13, 2018

The School of Music in Arizona State University's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts welcomes Jiyeon “Jiji” Kim as assistant professor of guitar in the strings program, beginning in August 2018.

“After becoming acquainted with ASU School of Music's vision and the mission of ASU’s innovative agenda, I was drawn to the research in new music and different collaborations from both the faculty and the student body,” Kim said. “I conscientiously pursue artistic endeavors in performance as well as education, so there was an immediate connection to the Herberger Institute.”

Kim, a self-described adventurous artist who is known professionally on both acoustic and electric guitar as “Jiji,” plays an extensive range of music, from traditional and contemporary classical music to free improvisation. Her musicianship, stage presence and repertoire earned her first prize at the 2016 Concert Artists Guild International Competition.

“Kim is both a professional concert artist and dedicated educator,” said Heather Landes, director of the ASU School of Music. “She has experience performing music of all genres and has led masterclasses and presented recitals throughout North America, Canada, Korea and Hong Kong.”

Inspired by her teachers and mentors from Korea to Yale, Kim said she developed a love for teaching and passing down a rich legacy of pedagogy to the next generation. She credits her educational institutions for helping her explore nontraditional experiences as a guitarist and learning what it means to be a musician in the 21st century. She said it is important that her students understand the necessity of entrepreneurship.

“I want to instill in my students the need to knock on every door, stay on their feet, ask tough questions, and stay hungry for fun, innovative, and creative initiatives,” Kim said. “I want my students to stay alert in this changing world and I want to equip them with the tools to cultivate their own unique approach to art and education. My vision of the guitar program is to mentor my students to reach into the local community with educational presentations and to initiate innovative performance projects.”

Kim holds bachelor’s degrees in guitar performance from the National University of Arts in Korea, the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music; and a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music. 

Her chamber music performances include One Beat Project, Wild Up, Eighth Blackbird, Argus Quartet and the Tanglewood Music Festival, and she has been featured on PBS, NPR’s "From the Top" and Hong Kong RTHK’s "The Works." Her solo recitals and featured soloist performances include Carnegie Hall, National Sawdust, Mass MOCA, the 92nd St. Y’s 10th annual Guitar Festival, Lincoln Center, United Nations, Virginia Arts Festival, Princeton Sound Kitchen, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art; and she has performed with the Kansas City Symphony, the Great Falls Symphony and the Roswell Symphony.

A passionate advocate for commissioning and performing contemporary works, she premiered “Talking Guitars by renowned composer Paul Lansky, with a subsequent studio recording with Chinese guitarist Hao Yang to be released on Bridge Records. She previously premiered works by emerging composers including Gabriella Smith, Riho Maimets, Krists Auznieks, Gulli Björnsson, Andrew McIntosh, and Farnood Haghani Pour. As a 2017 BMI Foundation award recipient, she commissioned Nina C. Young for a new guitar piece to premiere in 2018. In addition, the New York Youth Symphony and the American Composers Orchestra commissioned two concertos for her, both premiering at Carnegie Hall in the 2018–19 concert season.