Kim Mai Nguyen

Violist and Music educator

About me

Originally from France, Kim Mai Nguyen is a Juilliard-trained violist, music educator and arts advocate based in Portland, Oregon. With a driven personality and a passion for music, she is a dynamic and charismatic performer in music ranging from the baroque to the contemporary, as well as world music. As an artist involved in world citizenship, she has performed as a soloist and taught in Afghanistan, Belize, France, Guatemala, Iraq, Jamaica, Prague, Vietnam and the United States. Hailed by the New York Times, Kim Mai “gave colorful, committed readings that illuminated the variety of styles offered” at the MoMa Summergarden Series in New York City with the New Juilliard Ensemble.

Having recently moved to Portland, Kim Mai plays with the Oregon Symphony since 2016 and the Oregon Bach Festival. She is an active musician both in Europe and in the United State and has she subbed in the Paris Opera Orchestra, the Opéra Bastille and the Palais Garnier and the French Chamber Orchestra. She was appointed principal of the Spoleto Festival Orchestra in Charleston, SC and has participated in numerous music festivals such as the Castleton Festival, New York String Seminar, and Tanglewood Music Center. She has experience working with distinguished conductors including Christoph von Dohnanyi, Bernard Haitink, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Michael Tilson Thomas, John Williams and Jaap van Zweden.

Passionate about many different genres and styles of music, Kim Mai performs regularly with the Portland Baroque Orchestra lead by Monica Huggett. She was a part of the inaugural season of the Berwick Academy and the Valley of the Moon Festival, both historical performance programs. In addition, she has appeared with the American Bach Soloists, William Christie, Monica Huggett, Ton Koopman, Jordi Savall, Masaki Suzuki and Juilliard 415. As a fervent lover of new music, Kim Mai has premiered a number of pieces in New York while playing at the MoMa Summergarden Series and collaborating with contemporary composers. She  premiered Karén Hakobyan’s quartet at Carnegie Hall and Reinaldo Moya’s quartet Fragmentum II during a project with the New York City Ballet Choreographic Institute. After a cultural diplomacy visit to Kabul, Afghanistan, Kim Mai formed the world music ensemble Drifting East, which combines central Asian folk and traditional melodies with Western harmonies and influences.

Dedicated to education, community activism and cultural diplomacy, Kim Mai has participated in numerous projects around the world. Most recently, she co-directed orchestra workshops in Lebanon and Iraq with American Voice, a state department sponsored organization providing cultural exchange through meaningful arts initiatives. Following a successful workshop with the National Youth Orchestra of Belize, she joined the staff of MusAid Organization, a non-profit that provides musical institutions in under-resourced parts of the world with volunteer music teachers and donated instruments and materials. In 2013, She was a string faculty member with the National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica, an El Sistema inspired program serving students in the slums of Kingston.

In 2010, Kim Mai performed for Michelle Obama and the spouses of the heads of government attending the United Nations General Assembly. She is the recipient of many honors and awards, including prizes in the Union Française des Artistes Musiciens competition and the French Youth Competition. Kim Mai obtained both her Bachelor of Music degree (’11) and Master of Music degree (’13) from the Juilliard School under the guidance of Hsin Yun Huang, Heidi Castleman and Steven Tenenbaum.