Campus News: Kim and Chien Named Recipients of 2021 Chamber Music Society Award

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Kim and Chien Named Recipients of 2021 Chamber Music Society Award
- 11/7/2021

Kim and Chien Named Recipients of 2021 Chamber Music Society Award


On November 2, the Chamber Music Society (CMS) of Lincoln Center announced that violinist Soovin Kim and pianist Gloria Chien are the recipients of the 2021 CMS Award for Extraordinary Service to Chamber Music. The award will be presented on Tuesday, Nov. 9, at Alice Tully Hall in New York City, during a CMS concert.


"Even during the deepest and darkest days of the pandemic, we knew that this award should go next to those who were working tirelessly to keep the art form thriving in the face of tremendous odds," said David Finckel and Wu Han, co-artistic directors of CMS. "It was not long after the shutdown that we became aware of this couple's aggressive, unstoppable, and truly inspired efforts to bring great music to people in times of intense need. As the months wore on, Soovin and Gloria mounted project after project in multiple locations. As young artistic directors, and stellar performers, they have set an example, not only as artists, but citizens of the world, and for that, we should all be truly grateful."


CMS musicians Kim and Chien are alumni of The Bowers Program, CMS's development program for young artists. They epitomize the kind of leadership, expertise, and passion that the program was designed to encourage, with careers as highly respected solo artists, busy chamber musicians (with CMS and independently), and artistic directors who launched their own series and are now at the helm of several different chamber music series and programs around the country.


Together, they are artistic directors of Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival in Burlington, Vermont, and Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, Oregon. Chien is also artistic director of String Theory at the Hunter, a chamber music series at the Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, Tennessee.


Throughout the pandemic, Kim and Chien brought chamber music to the people of Burlington, Portland, and Chattanooga by producing digital concerts, featuring both live performances and archival recordings; creating digital lecture series and educational programming; partnering with local public radio and television to extend the reach of programming; and offering many of these programs free to the public in an effort to help sustain them through the pandemic lockdown. As soon as restrictions began to ease in the summer of 2021, Kim and Chien also began reintroducing live performances, with in-person concerts, open rehearsals and master classes, family concerts, free performances, and even school visits.


In the early days of the pandemic, Chien launched "Notes of Hope," daily 7 p.m. concerts that joined in the daily 7 p.m. expression of thanks for frontline healthcare workers. "Notes of Hope" ran for 42 days, from May 11 to June 21, with more than 65 artists and ensembles volunteering their time and talents. All the daily concerts are archived online at


"It is such a great honor to receive this award and to be in the company of such distinguished past honorees, including the founder and the former artistic directors of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center," said Chien and Kim. "As artistic leaders, it is our responsibility to serve our communities, especially during this time of uncertainty. Music elevates and connects, two things we urgently needed during the pandemic. We want to share this award with our organizations in Portland, Burlington, and Chattanooga. We are thankful to Wu Han, David Finckel, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center for setting an example by providing invaluable support and guidance to their musicians and an abundance of rich musical offerings to their audiences!"


Kim and Chien concertize worldwide as soloists and chamber artists. Kim serves on the violin faculty at New England Conservatory and Chien serves as artist in residence at Lee University. The two musicians first met in the summer of 1999 at the Verbier Festival and became colleagues in 2013 at Music@Menlo, Finckel and Han's festival in Silicon Valley. They married in 2015.


The CMS Award for Extraordinary Service to Chamber Music is presented to individuals and institutions who have shown exceptional dedication to the art form of chamber music and have significantly changed the landscape of chamber music through their passionate commitment and exceptional vision. Recipients, chosen by CMS's artistic department, can be artists, presenters, or others who have shown an exceptional commitment to chamber music.


This year, CMS felt strongly that the award should recognize contributions made specifically in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The inaugural CMS Award for Extraordinary Service to Chamber Music went to pianist Menahem Pressler in 2013 and the following year to CMS founding director Charles Wadsworth. Other prior recipients include Marlboro Music (2015), South Mountain Concerts (2016), Chamber Music Connection (2018) and David Shifrin (2019).


CMS is one of 11 constituents of the largest performing arts complex in the world, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, which includes the New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet, Lincoln Center Theater, and The Metropolitan Opera. With its home in Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, CMS is known for the extraordinary quality of its performances and its programming, and for setting the benchmark for chamber music worldwide. Through its many performance, education, recording, and broadcast activities, it brings the experience of great chamber music to more people than any other organization of its kind. Annual activities include a full season in New York, as well as national and international tours.


For more information about the award, contact Kirshbaum Associates' Beverly Greenfield, director of public relations, at (212) 222-4843 or email

For more information about Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, visit

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