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KCPA announces 2017 Debut Artist winner

Krannert Center has announced the winner of the 2017 version of their Debut Artist competition. Soprano Yunji Shim is a doctoral student in voice performance and literature at U of I. She will be giving her Debut Artist recital at Foellinger Hall on Sunday, April 23rd.

KCPA’s esteemed Debut Artist award and competition has been running for 33 years. The intent of the competition is to pull from the pool of amazing young talent that the college has to offer and award one promising student with a full professional contract. Learn more about the Debut Artist program and Shim’s show below.




Urbana, IL—The dual roles of Krannert Center as a professional performing arts center and a training facility for students reflect its mission to nurture excellence in the arts through education and presentation. Krannert Center’s long-standing commitment to young artists is uniquely strengthened by its affiliation with the University of Illinois and the School of Music.

In 1984, Dean Jack McKenzie of the College of Fine and Applied Arts recognized that the performing caliber of many students in the School of Music equaled that of some of the young professional artists featured at Krannert Center. McKenzie, at the time Acting Director of Krannert Center, and Robert Bays, then Director of the School of Music, agreed that the School of Music and Krannert Center together would choose a student through audition and that Krannert Center would present the student in recital with a full professional contract. Beginning in 1990, the Krannert Center Debut Artist recital became a part of the Sunday Salon Series, a series specifically devoted to the presentation of young artists in which an intimate atmosphere is created by seating audience members onstage with the performers. All Krannert Center Debut Artists, since the very first in 1984, have remained active performers and educators. For these artists, the award has carried national impact because of Krannert Center’s reputation for excellence.

Soprano Yunji Kim has been selected as the 2017 Krannert Center Debut Artist. She is a third-year doctoral student in voice performance and literature at the University of Illinois, having received a master’s degree in music at Eastman School of Music in 2013 and a bachelor’s degree in music at Seoul National University in South Korea in 2011. Her past credits include Donna Anna in the Charlotte, North Carolina, CPCC production of Don Giovanni; scenes from Faust at the Kodak Hall at Eastman School of Music; and Ottavia in Poppea with Lyric Theatre @ Illinois. She is also a past winner of the young artist competition of the Artist Presentation Society in St. Louis and won the second prize at the Southern Illinois Young Artist Organization vocal competition. She has studied with Cynthia Haymon-Coleman, Dr. Robert McIver, Dr. Hyunju Yun, and Soonhee Lee.

On her Krannert Center Debut Artist recital, Kim will perform selections from Reynaldo Hahn, Richard Strauss, Stefano Donaudy, Luigi Arditi, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Ernest Charles. Pianist Hana Lim will accompany her.

Tickets and Performance Information

Krannert Center Debut Artist: Yunji Shim, soprano

Sunday, April 23 at 3pm

Foellinger Great Hall

Pick Five+: 49 / SC 44 / Stu 15 / UI & Yth 10

Single: 51 / SC 46 / Stu 15 / UI & Yth 10

Balcony: 10 / UI & Yth 5

Tickets for stage seating are currently unavailable; to join the waiting list, patrons may visit or call 217/333-6280. Balcony seating is still available; patrons are asked to please contact the Ticket Office at 217/333-6280 or 800/KCPATIX (527-2849) for more information. Patrons who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, or speech-impaired may also make inquiries via TTY at 217.333.9714.


Past Debut Artist Winners:


April 28, 1991           Gregory Mason, accompanist, joined by tenor Mark

                                  Hamman, soprano Janet Robb, soprano Mary Ann

                                  Kyle, and soprano Julianne Cross

May 3, 1992             Margaret Donaghue, clarinet, with Victoria Demaree, piano

April 25, 1993          Layna Chianakas, mezzo-soprano, with Gregory Mason, piano

April 24, 1994          Horia Mihail, piano

April 23, 1995          Irina Muresanu, violin, with Joseph Bognar, piano

April 28, 1996          Diana Popescu, piano

April 20, 1997          Catalin Rotaru, double bass, with Diana Popescu, piano

May 3, 1998             Harold Gray Meers, tenor, with Dewitt Tipton, piano

May 2, 1999             Samir Golescu, piano

April 30, 2000          Owen Rockwell, percussion, with Britton Plourde, alto flute

April 8, 2001            Kyung-A Yang, piano

April 28, 2002          Alda Dizdari, violin, with Magi Dizdari, piano

April 6, 2003            Lori Williams, soprano, with Jeffrey Peterson, piano

May 2, 2004             Wae-Jane Chen, piano

April 17, 2005          Ann Kai-An Wu, piano

April 23, 2006          Co-winners: Bomi Lim, piano, and Rochelle Sennet, piano

                                 Honorable Mention: Jane Boxall, marimba

                                 (Featured in Afterglow on April 13, 2006)

April 15, 2007          Thomas Kronholz, piano

April 27, 2008          Yu-Chi Tai, piano

April 26, 2009         Melissa Davis, mezzo-soprano, with Sun-Hee Kim, piano

Honorable Mention: Phil Doyle, tenor saxophone, and Henning Schröder, alto saxophone

(Featured in Krannert Center 40th Anniversary Celebration, May 1, 2009)

April 25, 2010           Chen-Yu Huang, harp

April 17, 2011           Co-winners: Patrycja Likos, cello, and Chu-Chun Yen, piano

April 15, 2012          Wuna Meng, piano

April 21, 2013           Moye Chen, piano

May 4, 2014              Alexandra Nowakowski, soprano (with accompanist Jianan Yu)
                                  and Samuel Gingher, piano

May 3, 2015              Shin-Young Park, piano

May 1, 2016              Jae Eun Jenny Shin, flute (with Ieng Ieng Lam, piano)

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