Ridgefield teen featured on National Public Radio show



Lauren Kim / Contributed photo

RIDGEFIELD — Lauren Kim has found that stepping out of her comfort zone makes for some exciting life moments. In September, the 17-year-old Ridgefielder was chosen to perform on National Public Radio’s prestigious “From The Top!” show.

Although music is only a minor area of study for Kim, the accomplished flautist presented a stellar performance of Gabriel Fauré’s “Fantasie Opus 79.” She was accompanied on piano by the show’s host, Orli Shaham.

“I was really honored and excited to be selected,” said Kim, who studies flute in Juilliard’s Pre-College program. “From The Top’s mission is to share the stories of young classical musicians from around the country, and (spreading) the love of music is really important to me.”

Shaham was also pleased to have her on the show. “I love your playing,” she said of Kim’s talent. “It has such a wonderful feeling of floating.”

In an interview with Shaham, Kim discussed an ethnomusicology course she took that examined how different cultures utilize music and how music differs from sound.

“Music is sound with a purpose,” Kim said, “whether that’s to have an impact on others or to make some kind of social statement.”

Kim also discussed how her mother, Joanne, has inspired her to step out of her comfort zone.

“She’s definitely a risk taker, as well as an entrepreneur,” she said of Joanne, who immigrated to the United States 21 years ago along with her father, Milton. “It’s kind of inspired me to take different paths — things that you might not expect (or) that might not automatically lead to success.”

One such example is the podcast club Kim started at Ridgefield High School, where she’s a junior.

“I was really inspired to create more connections in the student body as a whole,” she said, “and through this (platform) we were able to showcase other student interests and their opinions.”

Kim and her classmates worked with other clubs to encourage communication and community building, which focused on getting students to share their personal experiences. “We were able to highlight how global issues like prejudice and microaggressions were applicable to our community,” she explained.

Milton said he was extremely proud of his daughter, who he said somehow developed her musical abilities on her own. “I’m always joking that it should be coming from the blood,” he said.

Joanne instructed both her daughters in basic piano, but Kim went on to play cello in elementary school before finally picking up the flute in middle school band.

“It’s a very positive thing for her,” Joanne said.

Kim concurred. “I’m really thankful that as part of being chosen for this opportunity, I was able to join a community of passionate and awesome musicians and engage in workshops about how the arts intersect with community engagement and advocacy,” she said.

To hear Kim’s appearance on NPR, click here .