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Earl Kim


About this Artist

EARL KIM's (1920-1998) compositions have been performed and led by an array of artists, including Perlman, Mehta and Ozawa. A master of calibrated sonorities balanced by silence, Kim demonstrated a special gift for placing words into economical but evocative settings. He valued economy, precision, and quietude; a modernist whose musical language included touches of the 12-tone idiom, he was especially admired for his vocal works, selecting texts of distinction by authors like Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Rilke, Anne Sexton, and his favorite, Samuel Beckett.

A student of Roger Sessions, Ernst Bloch, and Arnold Schoenberg, Kim taught composers such as Peter Maxwell Davies, Harrison Birtwistle, and Bernard Rands at Princeton and served as a composer-in-residence at major music centers and festivals (Aspen, Dartmouth, Marlboro, and Tanglewood) and academic institutions (Brandeis, Hartt College, and Princeton). Earl Kim attended the University of California, Los Angeles (1940-41), studying music composition and theory with Arnold Schoenberg. He went on to study with Bloch and Sessions at the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned his master's degree in 1952. He taught at Princeton University from 1952 until 1967, and at Harvard from 1971 until 1990.