A Musical Life with Hugh Sung

Pianist Hugh Sung shares stories about making music and what moves our souls. Featuring interviews with musicians from a wide variety of genres, including Classical, Folk, Rock, Jazz, and beyond. Visit for all episodes and show notes. New episodes coming every Monday.
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Feb 15, 2016
Vera Wilson, Founder and President of Astral

Vera Wilson is the founder and president of Astral, an arts organization in Philadelphia that has helped to launch the careers of classical music superstars such as pianist Simone Dinnerstein, Grammy award-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux, and the classical crossover group Time for Three.

For young classical musicians, the path from conservatory to career can be a daunting one. Vera Wilson, my guest for this episode, sought to provide a unique service to help the most talented musicians through her visionary organization, Astral. Now in its 24th year, Astral has become a vital Philadelphia institution, providing concerts, community outreach and education programs, as well as invaluable training and support for their carefully selected roster of artists.

Musical Selections

Time for Three: "Thunder Stomp" by Ranaan Meyer

Jason Vieaux, Guitar: Agustin Barrios Waltz, Op. 8, No. 4

Simone Dinnerstein, Piano: J.S. Bach Goldberg Variations; Aria


Astral's website:

Astral's National Auditions info: 


Phone: 215-735-6999

If you're interested in becoming a supporter or patron of Astral, email Vera directly at


Feb 8, 2016
Patrick Kavanaugh, Author, Composer, and Founder of the Masterworks Festival

Dr. Kavanaugh is the author of several books that deal with faith and the arts, such as “Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers”. As a composer himself, he has a fascinating specialty that expands the musical language as most folks know it. Dr. Kavanaugh came to music relatively late, and his first exposure to the world of classical music will really surprise you!

In addition to his books and compositions, Dr. Kavanaugh is the founder and artistic director of the Masterworks Festival, an intensive four-week summer festival for advanced and passionate students of the classical performing arts with a Christian perspective. In this interview, we explore the question of "why" we make music, and the special role that faith can play in an artist's life.


The Masterworks Festival 

Christian Performing Arts Fellowship 

Feb 1, 2016
Jennifer Higdon, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer

Jennifer Higdon is one of the most performed living American composers today. She taught herself to play the flute at the age of 15, wrote her first composition when she was 21, then eventually went on to win the Pulitzer prize for her violin concerto in 2010. She recently completed her first opera, “Cold Mountain”, which was premiered by the Santa Fe Opera in 2015 and is being performed in Philadelphia this week.

Jennifer Higdon and I have known each other since we were classmates at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Over the years it’s been such an honor and a delight to perform so many of her works - in fact, I even helped her record her very first album, Rapid Fire, way back in 1995. Despite all the well-deserved accolades Jennifer has received for her incredible compositions, she remains one of the sweetest, most genuine and down-to-earth persons I know.

In this special interview, Jennifer tells the stories behind some of her most popular compositions, and shares some practical insights into what it takes to be able to make a full-time living as a composer today. 


Jennifer's Website:

Info on ordering Jennifer's music:



Jan 25, 2016
Julien Beaudiment, French Flautist

French flautist Julien Beaudiment has enjoyed a remarkable career, having been appointed principal flute of the Orchestre de l'Opéra National de Lyon when he was still a student at age 22, as well as being the only French flautist to have held a principal position at a major British Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

This past November, I had the wonderful privilege of performing together with Julien Beaudiment at the Riverside Cathedrale in New York, presented by SKP Consulting and Management. Right after rehearsing for the concert, I had a chance to sit down with Julien for an intimate conversation. In 2013, Julien became the principal flute of the LA Philharmonic, but then left abruptly in 2015, citing personal reasons. In this special interview, Julien shares the reasons why he left LA and returned to his principal position at the Orchestre de l'Opéra National de Lyon.


Julien Beaudiment's website

Sankyo Flutes

SKP Musicians

Jan 18, 2016
Jeffrey Biegel, Pianist Extraordinaire

Jeffrey Biegel is a pianist who truly thinks outside the box. Not only is he an incredible musician with astounding technique, but he also has an innovative approach to his career and is one of the most prolific recording artists and champions of new music from contemporary composers and even pop stars like Keith Emerson, Neil Sedaka, Billy Joel, and Peter Tork from the Monkees.

Ever since winning first prize in the 1985 William Kappell competition, pianist Jeffrey Biegel has been an unstoppable musical phenomenon. “Prolific” doesn’t even begin to describe his artistic output - Jeffrey plays everything, from traditional classical repertoire to brand new works from new and established composers. Jeffrey has pioneered the idea of creating consortiums of orchestras to help create and perform these new compositions.


Jeffrey Biegel's Website

Manhattan Intermezzo, featuring new concertos by Neil Sedaka, Keith Emerson, and "Rhapsody in Blue" by George Gershwin

Jan 11, 2016
The Orchestra Society of Philadelphia

Most folks can't wait for Friday's to get out of their day jobs and do something else. But for the musicians and music lovers of the Orchestra Society of Philadelphia, music is a way of life, and you'll find them gathered together every Friday night reading through symphony orchestra works just for fun.

On a cold Friday night in winter, associate producer Allison Pokras and I visited Presser Hall on the campus of Temple University to sit in on one of the weekly reading sessions of the Orchestra Society of Philadelphia, one of the oldest community orchestras of its kind in the USA. The Orchestra Society of Philadelphia was founded in 1964 by Morris Goldman and Sidney Rothstein as a place where professional musicians, teachers, students and a wide variety of folks with varying "day jobs" could get together to read through various symphonic orchestral music under the baton of a rotating roster of conductors.


The Orchestra Society of Philadelphia Website

Pictures from The Orchestra Society of Philadelphia's reading of Sibelius' Symphony No. 2 with conductor Jay Krush

Jan 4, 2016
Hugh Sung, Pianist & Host of

At the end of my interview with classical music radio host Jill Pasternak, we decided to have a bit of fun and turn the tables where Jill interviewed - me! How strange to have a show where I'm my own guest!

So - here's my "official" bio:

Pianist Hugh Sung started to learn to play the piano with his mother at the age of 3. At the age of 13, Hugh entered The Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Eleanor Sokoloff, Jorge Bolet, and Seymour Lipkin. Hugh teaches piano to hundreds of students online through ArtistWorks, a website that features video lessons from some of the world's leading musicians. His passion for technology led to him co-founding AirTurn, a company that creates digital accessories for musicians like the DUO page turning pedals for tablets and computers.


Hugh's Website (

Hugh's Online Popular Piano School at ArtistWorks (

How to play "Clair de lune" from Scratch 


DUO Wireless Pedal Control

Listen to my interview with Jill Pasternak 


Dec 28, 2015
Jill Pasternak, Classical Music Radio Personality

For 23 years, Jill Pasternak has been the voice of classical music on radio stations such as WHMT in Schenectady, NY, and WFLN and WRTI in Philadelphia, PA. Jill has also been the host and executive producer for the award winning show, “Crossover”, where for 18 years she interviewed legendary musicians from a wide range of musical genres.

In this interview, Jill shares the story of her early studies on the harp with legendary teacher/composer Marcel Grandjany and at the Juilliard School; her serendipitous start in radio; and the legacy of her interviews from her show, "Crossover". 


Jill has been a Classical Music announcer and host at the following radio stations:

WMHT in Schenectady, NY

WFLN in Philadelphia (WFLN was sold and stopped Classical Music broadcasts in 1997)

WRTI in Philadelphia 

Dec 21, 2015
Daron Hagen and Gilda Lyons, Contemporary Creative Composers

Daron Hagen and Gilda Lyons are versatile composers, musicians, and artists. They’re also husband and wife, and frequently collaborate together. Daron has written symphonies, operas, art songs and chamber works, and is also a contributing writer to the Huffington Post. Gilda is a vocalist and visual artist in addition to being a prolific and incredibly creative composer.

Daron Hagen's website

Gilda Lyons' website

Dec 14, 2015
David William Hearn, Film Composer and StaffPad App Developer

David William Hearn is an English composer and music producer based in London. He’s worked on scores for TV shows such as American Idol and The Voice, as well as film scores for Les Miserables, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Ron Howard’s upcoming film, In The Heart Of The Sea. He’s also the developer of StaffPad, a fascinating app for Windows tablet computers that lets composers create handwritten scores that get transformed into digital music. In fact, Microsoft was so impressed with StaffPad that they invited David to share the stage with Satya Nadella for the 2015 Microsoft Build conference keynote address.


David William Hearn's Website

StaffPad Website

Video of StaffPad Demo at the 2015 Microsoft Build Conference Keynote Address

Dec 7, 2015
David Kim's Orchestral Institute at Cairn University

Violinist David Kim was one of the prizewinners of the 1986 International Tchaikovsky Competition, one of the most prestigious events in the international music community held once every four years. Even with this extraordinary achievement, he had a difficult time getting a job in an orchestra. Now, as Concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, David has partnered with Cairn University to create a unique institute to help aspiring violinists master what it takes to not only win an orchestra position, but also to survive and thrive musically, emotionally, and spiritually.

If you haven’t had a chance, I’d like to invite you to listen to my interview with David Kim in episode 2. What makes getting a job in an orchestra unique is that a musician’s resume doesn’t really matter much - it all depends on how a musician plays in an audition, behind a screen for a panel of musicians from the orchestra. The screen is designed to ensure anonymity, but playing for an impersonal audience you can’t see or hear and having your career depend on a performance lasting anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes can be one of the most frustrating and terrifying experiences for any musician. Despite David Kim’s incredible talent, he soon found that playing auditions required a completely different skill set when he lost the first 5 orchestra auditions he attempted. Now, as Concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, David has collaborated with Cairn University to create a special program to give musicians the critical professional as well as life skills they will need but - surprisingly - are not taught in most music schools.


David Kim Orchestral Institute at Cairn University

David Kim's Website

School of Music at Cairn University

The Philadelphia Orchestra

Nov 30, 2015
Dacia Clay, Host of the

Dacia Clay is the music librarian for Houston Public Media’s Classical 91.7 station, as well as the host and co-producer of “Classical Classroom”, a weekly podcast that helps listeners learn more about the world of classical music. What makes this show so interesting is the fact that Dacia has a deep dark secret...

I first learned about Dacia Clay and the “Classical Classroom” podcast from my good friend, composer Daron Hagen, who was featured in Dacia’s show. His interview on A Musical Life, by the way, will be up in a few episodes, so be sure to subscribe to be notified about that.

Each week, Dacia invites a classical music artist or teacher to come onto her show and give her “homework” assignments that cover different topics. If you’re new to classical music or just curious about it, and feel intimidated about all the mumbo-jumbo musical jargon, then “Classical Classroom” is the perfect podcast for you. Dacia is fun, witty, and refreshingly honest in sharing what she likes and doesn’t like, as well as what she doesn’t know and wants to learn.

Music Links

The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme)
Le sacre de printemps (The Rite of Spring): Part I (Adoration of the Earth): The Augurs of Spring / Dances of the Young Girls
Missy Mazzoli: Song From the Uproar: Overture
George Crumb: Black Angels: God-music
“Bread Thief” from A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
No Cities To Love by Sleater-Kinney
Dreams Come True by DJ Oguretz


Dacia's Trumpet Lesson on "Classical Classroom" with two musicians affiliated with the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra.


Classical Classroom Podcast Website

Nov 23, 2015
Gregory Alan Isakov, Indie Folk Singer & Songwriter

Gregory Alan Isakov is a fascinating, conscientious singer/songwriter based in Boulder, Colorado. Some of his best known songs are “The Stable Song”, “Raising Cain”, and “Big Black Car”, which was featured in a 2012 McDonald’s holiday commercial. Greg balances a busy touring and recording schedule with life on his 4-acre farm, where he raises animals, bees, and a variety of crops, thanks to his degree in horticulture. His songs explore facets of everyday life with thought-provoking lyrics and vivid word imagery, thanks to his love of prose and writing.

I have to give special thanks to our associate producer, Allison Pokras, for introducing me to Gregory Alan Isakov’s music. Allison grew up together with Greg, after he immigrated from South Africa to Philadelphia at the age of 7. Greg has spent his entire life traveling, and much of those experiences are expressed in his music. Greg’s songs have been featured on several TV shows and commercials, and he’s collaborated with the likes of Brandi Carlile, Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls, and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. 

Musical Selections

(from the album That Sea The Gambler)
1. The Stable Song
(from the album The Weatherman)
2. Amsterdam
3. Saint Valentine
4. Second Chances
5. Living Proof
6. Time Will Tell
7. O' City Lights
8. Astronaut
9. California Old Back
10. The Universe
11. Suitcase Full Of Sparks
12. Honey It's Alright
(from the album This Empty Northern Hemisphere)
13. Big Black Car
14. That Moon Song
(from the album The Weatherman)
15. All Shades Of Blue
16. She Always Takes It Black

Note: The musical selection links are affiliate links, meaning that when you make a purchase I receive a small commission from Amazon at no extra cost to you. This is how I am able to provide new episodes for you. Thank you for your support!

Additional Links

Gregory Alan Isakov's Website

Nov 16, 2015
Chris Foley, Collaborative Pianist and Blogger

Collaborative pianist, teacher, and vocal coach Chris Foley is the author of, one of the most popular classical music blogs that turns 10 years old in November, 2015. What is "collaborative piano"? Ah, great question! It happens to be the type of piano playing that both Chris and I specialize in, but I’ll let Chris answer that question himself!

Chris and I have known each other virtually for many years, but we’ve never actually spoken directly until this interview. So it’s a real delight for me to introduce Chris Foley, who is an accomplished collaborative pianist based in Toronto Canada. A hallmark of Chris Foley's career in classical music has been his ingenuity, constant state of evolution and drive to pass on the rich legacy of chamber music, art song, opera and contemporary music as a dedicated teacher to new generations.  His wide-ranging career has spanned the academy, stage and even TV as pianist and singing coach on the sleeper hit on Bravo!Canada award winning reality show "Bathroom Divas".  A seeker of the cutting edge, this month Chris celebrates the 10th anniversary of his blog, The Collaborative Piano, which is one THE most popular classical music blogs out there. Happy 10th birthday, Chris! What an incredible accomplishment and amazing resource for classical music and collaborative pianists worldwide!

Musical Selections:

Die Schöne Müllerin, D.795 – 1. Das Wandern - with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Gerald Moore

Ariettes oubliées: 1. C’est l’extase langoureuse - with Dawn Upshaw and James Levine

At The Statue Of Venus: A Lucky Child - with Susan Graham and Jake Heggie

Schubert: Erlkönig, D. 328 (Op.1) – Wer reitet so spät - with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Gerald Moore

Sarasate: Malaguena, Op.21 No. 1 - with Itzhak Perlman and Samuel Sanders

Show Notes

Book: The Complete Collaborator: The Pianist as Partner by Martin Katz

Tapestry Opera:

Visit Chris' blog at 

Nov 9, 2015
Launch Day!

Welcome to A Musical Life. I’m Hugh Sung. Today is Monday, November 9, 2015, and I’m so excited to officially launch this podcast! Every week I’m going to be sharing stories about making music and the things that move our souls. Thanks to my work as a professional pianist and tech entrepreneur, I’ve had the privilege of meeting so many amazing musicians and music lovers from all walks of life. People like:

  • David Kim, Concertmaster of the Philadelphia orchestra.
  • Pianist Gary Graffman, former director of the Curtis Institute of Music and teacher of some of the most renowned pianists today like Lang Lang, Yuja Wang, and Haochen Zhang.
  • Aaron Rosand, the last romantic violinist, with whom I collaborated as his pianist for 20 years.
  • Jordan Rudess, keyboard wizard for the progressive rock band Dream Theater.
  • And gaelic singers Calum Martin and his daughter Isobel Ann Martin who hail from the western isles of Scotland. If you’ve never heard of gaelic psalm singing, you’re in for a real treat!

Even though I’m a classical pianist, I want to explore music across a broad spectrum of styles, so I hope you’ll keep an open ear and enjoy this journey of discovery with me.

You can hear all the episodes at Each episode has show notes, where you’ll find links to all the music featured, so I hope you’ll check them out.

To listen to A Musical Life on the go, use your favorite smartphone podcast player app and search for "A Musical Life" - you can find us on iTunes and Stitcher. Wherever you find us, please subscribe - it’s completely free, and you’ll be able to get the latest episodes automatically.

If you like what you hear and want to support the show, please post a review. Go to and you’ll be taken to our page on iTunes, where you can rate with stars and leave some comments or suggestions if you’d like. Remember, the more stars means the more you enjoy the show. I’d really appreciate your feedback!

One more thing: to celebrate the launch of this show, we’re having a special contest on Facebook. Visit and enter your email address for a chance to win a special prize each week. The sooner you enter, the more chances you’ll have to win! And by the way, as a special thank you for entering, I’ll be giving free tracks of my recording of Claude Debussy’s “Clair de lune”, which I recorded specially for this contest.

That’s it for now. Thank you so much for listening, and I hope you’ll join our family. And if you have a story you’d like to share, visit the contact page at, or email me directly at

Until next time, I’m Hugh Sung, and I wish you a musical life.

Nov 2, 2015
Isobel Ann Martin, Traditional Gaelic Singer

Isobel Ann Martin, or "Bellann" to her friends, is a traditional Gaelic singer living on the Isle of Lewis off of the coast of Scotland. At the age of 18 she won the Traditional Gold Medal at The Royal National Mod. Despite her tremendous early success, Bellann has kept a low profile, with only a few CDs and television appearances, focusing instead on her career as a nurse and motherhood.

I’m delighted to introduce you to Isobel Ann Martin, or “Bellann” to her friends. Bellann is the daughter of Calum Martin, who was featured in my last episode, and is also a remarkable traditional Gaelic singer - the first time I heard her sing was when she submitted vocal tracks for one of my songs in my upcoming album, Psalms: Hyssop & Snow, and I was blown away by the purity of her voice and the amazing vocal embellishments that are one of the hallmarks of Gaelic singing.

If you enjoy this show, please click this link to post a review on iTunes. I really appreciate your support!

Musical Selections

Martyrs/St. Mary's

Cùl do Chinn

Faisg Air Glòir

`Oran Don T-Saoghal

An Iolaire

Note: The musical selection links are affiliate links, meaning that when you make a purchase I receive a small commission from Amazon at no extra cost to you. This is how I am able to provide new episodes for you. Thank you for your support!

Additional Links

Nov 2, 2015
Calum Martin, Gaelic Singer & Songwriter

Gaelic singer, songwriter, and educator Calum Martin has been performing and recording since 1979. Based on the Isle of Lewis off the coast of Scotland, Calum has a special interest in Gaelic Psalm Singing, a unique a capella improvisatory singing style still practiced by congregations during their Sunday worship services, as well as pockets of African-American and Cree Indian congregations in the US. In fact, Calum explains, jazz, country and bluegrass styles can trace their musical origins in the Gaelic Psalms sung in the western isles of Scotland.

If you enjoy this show, please click this link to post a review on iTunes. I really appreciate your support!

Musical Selections

Fàgail Ghlaschu 

Dts welcome

Salm & Soul - CD

Craig Armstrong: World Trade Center Cello Theme (with Alison Lawrance) - MP3 Album

Note: The musical selection links are affiliate links, meaning that when you make a purchase I receive a small commission from Amazon at no extra cost to you. This is how I am able to provide new episodes for you. Thank you for your support!

Additional Links

Calum Martin's email address:

Nov 2, 2015
Jordan Rudess, Keyboard Wizard

Jordan Rudess is a member of the progressive rock band, “Dream Theater” and was voted the best keyboardist of all time in a poll by MusicRadar. Jordan began his career as a classically trained pianist from Juilliard, and in some ways took 20 years to become an overnight success.

I first got to know Jordan when we were both featured in Pianist magazine back in 2008. After I co-founded AirTurn, I reached out to Jordan to help promote our wireless page turning pedal for the iPad, and he graciously invited me to his home to film a terrific promo. Thanks to our mutual love for music and technology, we’ve crossed paths several times at various music trade shows and have managed to stay in touch throughout the years.

If you enjoy this show, please click this link to post a review on iTunes. I really appreciate your support!

Musical Selections

Rick Wakeman - The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1973) - CATHERINE OF ARAGON

Patrick Moraz - "Someday" from the album "Refugee" (video)

Tangerine Dream - "Remote Viewing"

"Sailing" from Jordan's album "Unplugged"

Virtuoso Play Sampler Software for Atari 8-bit (video)

Jordan Rudess: "Listen to the Voice" from "Listen"

Jan Hammer, Jordan Rudess & Tony Williams - Miami Vice Theme (video)

Dream Theater - Dance of Eternity

Explorations for Keyboard & Orchestra - First Movement

Note: The musical selection links (aside from the videos) are affiliate links, meaning that when you make a purchase I receive a small commission from Amazon at no extra cost to you. This is how I am able to provide new episodes for you. Thank you for your support!

Additional Links

Jordan's Online Conservatory

Wizdom Music

Dream Theater

Nov 2, 2015
Aaron Rosand, The Last Romantic Violinist - Part 2

In part 2 of my interview with violinist Aaron Rosand, we delve into the obstacles he faced early in his career, the wisdom he shares with his students about life as a musician as well as why he fell in love with his beloved ‘Kochanski’ 1741 Guarneri violin, the violin that was his voice for 50 years.

If you enjoy this show, please click this link to post a review on iTunes. I really appreciate your support!

Musical Selections

Glazunov Meditation, Op. 32 (CD)

Glazunov Concerto/Meditation (MP3 Album)

Bach Chaconne from Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004

Chopin Nocturne No. 2 in E-flat major with John Covelli, piano

Gershwin Tempo di Blues with John Covelli, piano

Frank Sinatra: Laura

Brahms Sonata No. 1 in G major, Op. 78 I. Vivace ma non troppo with Hugh Sung, piano

Note: The musical selection links are affiliate links, meaning that when you make a purchase I receive a small commission from Amazon at no extra cost to you. This is how I am able to provide new episodes for you. Thank you for your support!

Additional Links

Nov 2, 2015
Aaron Rosand, The Last Romantic Violinist - Part 1

Described by the New York Times critic Harold Schonberg as “one of the great living exponents of Romantic violin music”, Aaron Rosand has captivated audiences and critics the world over. His recordings have been hailed by Gramophone Magazine as “some of the greatest recordings of this century”. For over 50 years, Mr. Rosand performed on the  ‘Kochanski’ 1741 Guarneri violin. In 2009, he sold it for $10 million, and subsequently donated $1.5 million of the proceeds to The Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied as a student of Efrem Zimbalist, and where he currently teaches a new generation of master violinists.

When I was 19 years old and still a student at The Curtis Institute of Music, Aaron Rosand invited me to perform with him as his pianist for a concert tour of Japan and Korea. That began a 20 year collaboration filled with memorable performances and recordings, and a friendship that continues to this day.  Despite this, there were many questions I still had for Aaron, so our conversation went on for some time and I hope you’ll enjoy and learn a thing or two - I know I did.  Here’s part 1 of a 2 part interview and conversation with violinist Aaron Rosand.

If you enjoy this show, please click this link to post a review on iTunes. I really appreciate your support!

Musical Selections

Sibelius Concerto (CD)

Heifetz playing Korngold Concerto in D major, Op. 35: I. Moderato nobile

Kreisler Romance, Op. 4 from 111 Violin Masterpieces

Mendelssohn Sonata in F major with Geir Henning Braaten, piano (video)

Estréllita with John Covelli

Beethoven Sonata No. 5 in F major, Op. 24 "Spring "Sonata I. Allegro with Eileen Flissler

Beethoven Sonata No. 9, Op. 47 "Kreutzer" with Hugh Sung, piano (excerpt from "A Musical Memoir in Live Performances")

Note: The musical selection links are affiliate links, meaning that when you make a purchase I receive a small commission from Amazon at no extra cost to you. This is how I am able to provide new episodes for you. Thank you for your support!

Additional Links

Nov 2, 2015
Gary Graffman, The Epicurean Pianist

American pianist Gary Graffman has been a major figure in the classical music world since winning the Leventritt award in 1949. For 30 years, Mr. Graffman performed, toured and recorded with the world’s most prestigious orchestras. Despite an injury to his right hand in 1979, Mr. Graffman transformed his career to become the president of The Curtis Institute of Music, champion of music for left hand piano literature, and celebrated teacher of a brilliant new generation of pianists such as Lang Lang, Yuja Wang, and Haochen Zhang.

If you enjoy this show, please click this link to post a review on iTunes. I really appreciate your support!

Musical Selections

Promenade from Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition"

Variation 18 from Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody from a theme of Paganini Variation 18

Balakirev's "Islamey: Oriental Fantasy"

Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 in G major, Op. 44: 1. Allegro brillante e molto vivace

Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 3: Allegro brillante

Schubert Fantasy in C major "The Wanderer", Op. 15 (D. 760): I. Allegro con fuoco, ma non troppo

Gary Graffman: The Complete Album Collection (Sony Classical)

Note: The musical selection links are affiliate links, meaning that when you make a purchase I receive a small commission from Amazon at no extra cost to you. This is how I am able to provide new episodes for you. Thank you for your support!

Oct 6, 2015
David Kim, Concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra

David Kim's journey from child prodigy to Tchaikovsky Competition winner to Philadelphia Orchestra Concertmaster has not been an easy one. In this episode of "A Musical Life", David gives an intimate look at his difficult road to success, and how his faith has sustained and transformed his art.

If you enjoy this show, please click this link to post a review on iTunes. I really appreciate your support!

VIII Tchaikovsky Competition Documentary:

3:02 David saying how scared and nervous he was
10:55 - David discussing competition
1:02:35 David playing Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto 3rd movement

Musical Selections

Stravinsky's Pastorale arranged by Leopold Stowkowski with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin

David Kim performing Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto with the El Camino Youth Symphony Orchestra (video):

Sacred Album: 'The Lord Is My Shepherd'

Note: The musical selection links (except for the videos) are affiliate links, meaning that when you make a purchase I receive a small commission from Amazon at no extra cost to you. This is how I am able to provide new episodes for you. Thank you for your support!

Additional Links

David Kim Orchestral Institute at Cairn University:

The Philadelphia Orchestra:

Sep 24, 2015
001 - A Lonely Song

What’s your go-to song when you feel lonely? Does hearing or playing that song reinforce sad feelings, or does it actually inspire something beautiful out of isolation? This episode is about one particular song that I think epitomizes so many different aspects of being alone.

The Adagio assai from Maurice Ravel's Piano Concerto in G major is one of the most beautifully poignant pieces of music ever written. I wanted to adapt it for solo piano so that I could have it with me whenever I felt the need to express a lonely sentiment or explore the beauty of isolation. Here is a video performance of my arrangement:

What songs are you drawn to when you feel lonely? It doesn’t have to be a classical piece, it can be any song that really resonates with you when you’re feeling alone. Email me at or share your experiences with lonely songs in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

Additional Show Notes:

Masterworks Festival is a 4-week Christian music festival that brings together both professional and student soloists and orchestra players with the goal of inspiring them to grow spiritually as well as musically. Visit for more information.

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