Society of Peabody Alumni
Citation for the Johns Hopkins University Outstanding Recent Graduate Award
Benjamin J. Kim
June 27, 2014
Ben Kim, you are a hard man to pin down. When you were nominated for this award we never imagined that we would bring it from Peabody to Korea for the presentation, for you then to take it further around the world to your home in Germany.
We didn’t expect it, but I doubt you are surprised. You have been circling the globe as an accomplished musician for most of your life.
You had your solo debut at age eight and your orchestral debut at twelve in Portland, Oregon. After high school, you were one of very few undergraduate students ever accepted into the Peabody studio of Leon Fleisher, who observed your “enormous potential for a first-class career.” You completed the Bachelor of Music degree early and went directly to the International Piano Academy Lake Como in Italy, an exclusive program for seven pianists, headed by Martha Argerich and William Grant Naboré. This was your “base” from 2005 until 2007 though at the same time, you were enrolled in a program at Peabody studying with Yong Hi Moon.
In 2006, you really became the focus of international attention when you won First Prize in the 55thARD Munich International Music Competition, and you have also received critical acclaim for your engagements at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Berlin Konzerthaus, and the Warsaw Philharmonic, as well as festivals including Aspen, Ravinia, and Klavier-Festival Ruhr.
Your performances have been broadcast on NPR’s Performance Today, and featured in Frontline/World on PBS, and you recorded for the Sony Classical, Universal Decca, Sony Japan and Klavier-Festival Ruhr labels.
While you currently reside in Berlin working with Klaus Hellwig at the University of Arts, you continue your international career having recently completed a 13-concert tour through Japan with the Brno Philharmonic, and performed a series of concerts with the Jupiter String Quartet.
It is for your devotion to your music, your sharing of performances of the highest quality around the world for a wide variety of audiences, and your continued loyalty to Peabody, Leon Fleisher and Yong Hi Moon, that I am honored to confer upon you The Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association Outstanding Recent Graduate Award.