Esme Arias-Kim wins 2023 Young Artists Competition

Violinist Esme Arias-Kim, winner of the 2023 Crain-Maling Foundation CSO Young Artists Competition, performs with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and conductor Andrew Grams on Jan. 21, 2023

Elliot Mandel

Esme Arias-Kim was declared the first-place winner of the 2023 Crain-Maling Foundation Chicago Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition, following her performance of Chausson’s Poème for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 25. As this year’s winner, she will appear as a soloist in a Chicago Symphony Orchestra Youth Concert during the 2023/24 Season.

A 17-year-old violinist from Hoffman Estates, Arias-Kim was one of four young string players from across Illinois who auditioned in the final round onstage at Orchestra Hall on Jan. 21, 2023. The finalists were accompanied by the Civic Orchestra of Chicago under the baton of conductor Andrew Grams. Jan Vargas Nedvetsky was the runner-up, and the other two finalists were Henry Auxenfans and Aiden Yu. Robbie Ellis, a broadcaster, composer, music director and comedy song maker, hosted the event.

Arias-Kim made her solo debut with orchestra at the age of 10 with the Oistrakh Symphony and was featured on WFMT’s Introductions and NPR’s From the Top. Since then, she has appeared as a soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic, Fairbanks Symphony, Sinfonia da Camera (Champaign-Urbana), Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Midwest Young Artist Conservatory, Fox Valley, Chicago Arts, Ottawa Chamber, Lincolnwood Chamber, Accademia d’Archi G.G. “Arrigoni” and Civic orchestras. She has presented solo recitals at the Peninsula Music Festival, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Chicago Cultural Center, 92nd Street Y in New York, Musikferien am Starnberger See (Germany) and Palácio Foz (Portugal).

She has received numerous first-place awards including at the Walgreens National, International Young Artist, Arthur D. Montzka, Fox Valley, Sphinx, Enkor International, New York International Artist Association and Illinois Music Teachers National Music Association competitions, and most recently at the American String Teachers Association National Solo, Musicians Club of Women, Minnesota Orchestra and Southern California Philharmonic Concerto competitions.

Arias-Kim is currently studying with Robert Lipsett. Previous teachers include Almita Vamos and Betty Haag-Kuhnke. She has also participated in master classes with Hilary Hahn, Midori Goto, Julia Fischer, Ian Swensen, Vadim Gluzman, Kirill Troussov, Noah Bendix-Balgley and others. Arias-Kim is performing on a violin by Alfredo Contino from 1920, courtesy of Guarneri Hall NFP and Darnton & Hersh Fine Violins, Chicago.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association is grateful to the Crain-Maling Foundation as its title sponsor of the Young Artists Competition, with special thanks to Dr. Michael Maling for his enduring support. The Crain-Maling Foundation Chicago Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition is presented jointly by the League of the CSOA and the Negaunee Music Institute at the CSO.