Get to know Ryu-Kyung Kim

Ryu-Kyung KimRyu-Kyung Kim has all the grace and poise of the European stage performer. Her presence and voice are soothing and enchanting. Kyung is a mezzo-soprano and a brilliant music teacher here at the University of Dayton. From an early age Kyung had music in her heart. Growing up in South Korea to parents who had lived through the Korean War, she was reminded constantly of the gift that music was to her. Her parents worked to promote classical music to all of their children. The resurgence of the arts in South Korea after the war truly led to a cultural awakening.

Kyung was part of this educational movement in the arts. She attended some of the finest music schools in Korea, learning music theory and high level musical skills very young. This strong foundation in music brought this middle child to the United States where she attended the Manhattan School of Music in New York, NY. She earned a BA and MA of Music, both concentrated in Voice. Her singing then took her to the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia where she earned an Artist Diploma in Opera.

Kyung was a performer for the Baltimore Opera, the Virginia Opera and the Santa Fe Opera. Each of these performance opportunities allowed her to follow her passion for singing - literally around the world including Germany, Austria, Israel, Poland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Canada and Ecuador. After performing internationally, Kyung decided to pursue a Doctoral degree in Vocal Performance from the State University of New York in Stony Brook.

Her passion and dedication to her craft only enhanced her long standing dream of becoming a teacher. "When I decided to turn to teaching I found everything I wanted at the University of Dayton." Kyung tells me of falling in love with the campus on her first visit. Teaching for Kyung is the culmination of her work. "I find that in teaching my students I am about to give them life skills through music." Students of music, according to Kyung, are sensitive, driven, passionate, collaborative and creative. Kyung has a great connection with her students and loves teaching music. The Department of Music offers five undergraduate majors: music, music composition, music therapy, music education and music performance, as well as three minors in music, music technology, and arts administration. Each student has his or her own concentration. either instrument or voice.

Any UD student can take vocal lessons and participate in music ensembles which Kyung highly encourages, and those music students who choose voice as their concentration are usually the students she gets to work with. Kyung tells me, "each type of student in this program brings new and diverse skills, and each grows through their musical education." Music is the tool by which we "create bonds" and Kyung loves to be part of teaching students this tool. 

Music is a constant in her life and now so is her loving husband Ehab Ghali. As an Egyptian American and Korean American couple, Kyung and Ehab have learned a lot from each other culturally. They have been married about two and a half years, and as Kyung says, "I love being married, it is such a new adventure." Together they have explored each other’s faiths and through music have always found commonality in their religions. For Kyung music is a means by which faith is more deeply felt and embraced. She participates in the music during services of many different faiths, because music is one of her favorite forms of prayer.

Ehab and Kyung love to cook and enjoy good food together. They have explored the Second Street and Dorothy Lane markets and they love them both, especially the fresh and organic choices. Traveling is also one of their favorite hobbies of course. Ideally, Kyung would love to travel to Egypt to take the Nile tour, enjoying the food, culture, and beauty of her husband’s homeland.  When relaxing at home Kyung loves to watch movies, especially if Matt Damon or Cate Blanchett are in it, which is why The Talented Mr. Ripley is one of her favorite movies of all time. Reading is also one of her beloved pastimes. C.S Lewis is among her favorite authors specifically because she loves the interplay between Tolkin and Lewis. Kyung and Ehab have recently discovered estate sales. One of their greatest joys is to save discarded treasures. Recently, Kyung and Ehab rescued a classic turntable and countless LPs. "The sound is so pure and close, I was so happy we could save the piece that formerly belonged to a fellow music lover."

Kyung lives for music and loves it. She is a deeply creative person who truly embraces emotions with a singer’s keen sensitivity. Through music she has become a confident, impassioned, and open individual. Music is the great tool of connection that Kyung wields with mastery. Her advice to students is to "be honest with yourself, don't give up on your dreams, seek support from people who are willing to invest in knowing you, but more than anything else embrace your uniqueness." Ryu-Kyung is a bright new voice in the Department of Music who will carry our song into the world.