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Esme Arias-Kim, 14, is a Merit Scholarship Fellow at the Music Institute of Chicago's Academy,
a training center for advanced pre-college students and studies violin with Almita Vamos.
Previously, Esme studied with Betty Haag-Kuhnke and was a member of the Magical Strings of
Youth with whom she toured California (Walt Disney Concert Hall, Segerstrom Hall), New York
(Carnegie Hall) and Portugal where she had a solo performance in the Palace of Mirrors. She
made her solo orchestral debut at the age of 10 with the Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago after
winning the DePaul University Concerto Competition. As a result of this, she was featured on
Chicago’s classical radio station WFMT’s “Introductions”. Subsequently, she won the Chicago
Chamber Music Festival Concerto competition which led to her performing the Mendelssohn
violin concerto with the Northeastern Illinois University Orchestra. Esme also performed the
Bach A minor Concerto with chamber orchestra in Mary Galvin Hall at Northwestern University.

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Esme is a first place winner in many competitions in the Chicagoland area such as theConfucius Competition, Depaul Concerto Festival, Grandquist Competition and the SejongMusic Competition. She has played in masterclasses for Julia Fischer, Kirill Troussov, VadimGluzman, Ilya Kaler, Mihaela Martin, Brian Lewis, Nicholas Kitchen, Jennifer Frautschi, YairKless, Grigory Kalinovsky, Kristen Lee and Desiree Ruhstrat.


In 2016 Esme was the first prizewinner of the Enkor International Competition as well as first place winner of the Masters ofViolin Concerto division in the Great Composers Competition. For three summers, sheattended the Heifetz International Music Institute and was featured both times on the “Stars ofTomorrow” concert in Francis Auditorium at Mary Baldwin College.


During this time, she alsohad chamber music performances which were coached by the Borromeo Quartet. In 2017 shewas a featured soloist with the Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra as well as the OistrakhSymphony of Chicago. In 2018 Esme performed a solo recital at the 92 Street Y School ofMusic in New York as a result of being a winner in their concerto competition.


In the summerof 2018, she competed in Il Piccolo Violino Magico International Competition in Italy as the onlyAmerican after being selected as one of 16 finalists. She performed as soloist with theAccademia d’Archi Arrigoni Orchestra during the competition. In the fall of that year Esme wasfeatured in a recital at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall as a result of receiving first place in theNew York International Artists Association Competition. She also performed a recital as a partof the Young Steinway Series in Chicago.


Also at the end of that year, Esme performed theBruch Violin Concerto with the Sinfonia da Camera at the Krannert Center for the PerformingArts as a result of receiving 1st place in their concerto competition. Last winter she wasselected to attend Musikferien am Starnberger See where she had solo performances andmasterclasses with Julia Fischer and Kirill Troussov.

In the spring she was selected to be a quarter-finalist in the Fischoff Chamber Competition. Most recently Esme was one of 12 violinists selected to be part of the Brian Lewis Young Artists Program, a fully funded program made possible through the generosity of the Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation for ten to twelve highly gifted violinists. There she had the opportunity to perform Saint Saëns 3rd violin concerto with the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra.

Outside of playing the violin, Esme enjoys drawing, performing magic, playing piano, running,
Star Wars and spending time with her sister.

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