Getting to Know Cellist Eugene Kim

RSC Conservatory News

The Rivers School Conservatory is delighted to welcome esteemed cellist Eugene Kim to the string department. Kim, who began learning to play the cello when he was twelve years old, has since become a conscientious and inspiring teacher for many young students.

He takes an individualized approach to instruction, keeping in mind students’ unique circumstances and learning styles: “Everybody has a different background and a different point of view. Finding the one thing that unlocks a student’s interest is incredibly rewarding,” he remarks. He skillfully and thoughtfully adapts descriptions of musical concepts in ways that resonate with each of his students. This flexibility supports students’ comprehension, while strengthening the student-teacher connection.

Kim also emphasizes the value of perseverance. Learning an instrument should be fun, but it can also be hard work. “When you’re learning, there’s always some struggle,” he says. He encourages his students to stick with it and trust the process. Seeing “the sense of achievement” that students gain as they practice and improve is one of the most rewarding parts of his work.

Kim has fulfilled many different roles in music education. He currently teaches at MIT and has taught at UMASS/Boston and Brandeis University. Previously, he was the Artistic Director of Project STEP in Boston and the Executive Director of the Foulger International Music Festival.

The effectiveness of Kim’s teaching is evident in the accomplishments of his students, who have soloed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops, the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, and the New England Philharmonic. His teaching has also been formally recognized by NEC Prep, which awarded him the 2019 Jean Stackhouse Award for Excellence in Teaching.

In addition to his work with students, Kim performs with such institutions as Boston Ballet, Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic, and Pro Arte Chamber Ensemble. Among his favorite performance memories is playing Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 at Carnegie Hall with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He also enjoys playing chamber music with colleagues, friends, and family, including his 13-year-old child and his wife, Jin-Kyung Joen (RSC String Department Chair).

He reflects on the role of music in his life: “I consider myself lucky because my career allows me to be involved with my passion every day.” He feels grateful for the opportunity to now share his love of music with MetroWest-area students as a member of the RSC faculty.