Posting Date: September 22, 2010
Meet Grace Kawamura: Expressing her pure love of music
By Brian Tucker
Photos by Sarah Singleton
Grace Kawamura comes from quite a family of musicians. The whole family plays string instruments, from both her parents to Grace and her siblings. It is this lifelong passion for music that prompted Grace to transfer to Kennesaw State University last year and become a music performance major, as well as an English minor. The sophomore violin student was named the 2009 Flo Bruns Scholar, and she is also the string music librarian for the KSU Orchestra.
Grace was encouraged to attend KSU by Helen Kim, assistant professor of violin and Grace's current instructor. Having played the violin since 2002 when she was in middle school, Grace played with the Emory Youth Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Richard Prior for five years. "My last concert at Emory was very sentimental because I had been with the program essentially since it started." She visited KSU and was impressed by the high calibre of the faculty, as well as the social atmosphere and friendly environment of KSU. She notes that even when she visited an orchestra rehearsal on that first campus visit, the students were quick to welcome her, which put her at ease and solidified her decision to become a KSU music major.
With music, Grace continually strives for a well-rounded perspective of the art. As the string music librarian, she enjoys seeing how all the individual parts blend to create a perfect harmony. She seeks out opportunities to attend a variety of concerts, not just orchestra performances. In her spare time, Grace also teaches private violin lessons. She fondly speaks of having instructed a variety of ages, including a grandmother and grandchild who took lessons together.
Grace's philosophy on performing music makes it clear why she enjoys fully immersing herself in it. "Music is such a great medium of expression. When performing, I try to examine the music and see what the composer wanted to convey to the audience. Within my interpretation, I try to convey to the audience the beauty I see in the piece." She admits that she also enjoys the thrill of being on stage. "There's nothing else quite like it," she says.
Helen Kim states, “Grace is a pleasure to work with. What makes her special is that she always thinks before she plays—she has an extraordinary ability to speak her voice through the violin. Grace has a personal and musical maturity beyond her years and this translates in her violin playing.”
After graduating from KSU, Grace plans to earn graduate degrees in violin performance and music history. She would like to pursue a career as a university professor, as well as continuing to give private lessons and perform.
Grace is quick to explain why she pursues music so tenaciously: "It all boils down to my passion for music. I love doing what I do. It's really important that, whatever you choose to do, you enjoy doing it. I love expressing myself through music because it's such an intimate medium of communication both with yourself and others."