There's Nothing She'd Rather
Do Than Play the Violin

Passenger Profile: Kim Angelis

By Kenny Kerner
taxi member success kim angelis
Listen to 'Vallejo's Vision' by Kim Angelis:

There are very few honors that this month's Passenger Profile subject did not win in college. She is a concert violinist who, among her credits, had her work performed at the 2000 Olympics. She is creative, passionate, focused, and always sets her goals sky high. Here's her story:

When did you first begin playing a musical instrument and what instrument was it?

My mother started teaching me to play the piano when I was four years old. I learned to read music before I could read English! I have always felt that studying the piano from such a young age gave me a distinct advantage with sight reading, music theory, and ultimately, composition. I heartily encourage everybody to pursue at least a basic mastery of the piano.

Do you come from a musical family?

Yes. My parents love music! My dad, who was a career biochemist, spent many an evening playing the trumpet. My mother studied piano, cello, and voice, but her passion was flamenco dance. Both of my parents were incredibly supportive of my musical endeavors, even when that entailed driving me all over Southern California for various orchestra rehearsals and private violin lessons. (They still are my most devoted "fans"!)

As a child, who were your musical influences?

Again, I must credit my mother; her record collection was incredibly eclectic, running the gamut from authentic Hungarian Gypsy music to flamenco to the Bruch Violin Concerto in G Minor. After I started studying the violin (at age 10), she took me to every concert of the L.A. Philharmonic's season that featured a violin soloist—Itzak Perlman, Isaac Stern, Nathan Milstein! We also attended Jascha Heifetz's final public recital. Naturally, seeing these legendary artists in concert had a profound influence on me.

You graduated college Magna Cum Laude and performed with some extremely talented concertmasters and orchestras. How difficult was it for you to maintain your high level of excellence and rehearsal schedules over the years?

Great question! The violin is a very demanding instrument, requiring at least three hours of practice a day for simple maintenance (in my opinion). Today was a very typical day: I practiced for two hours in preparation for the rehearsal with our pianist, which ran two and a half hours, and tonight I will spend another two hours working on the passages that I wasn't completely pleased with at rehearsal. To devote six-plus hours a day to practicing and rehearsing is not difficult for me from the perspective of self-discipline—to play the violin is a joy and a delight, and there is nothing else I'd rather be doing. I am also blessed physically with great stamina; I really enjoy long distance running! I am convinced that being in the best possible physical condition has enabled me to perform better on my instrument. As the ancient Greeks said, "cherish and look after your body, and your mind will serve you better." Now, such diligence in practicing/rehearsing does exact a price: I experience a great deal of difficulty in managing the business aspects of my music career. I haven't watched a movie or read a book in ages, and my house is a mess!

You describe your music as "Gypsy Chamber Music." Please explain what you mean by that.

The "Gypsy" aspect of my music has always been there, from the music I heard while in my mother's womb, to my first violin teacher declaring with frustration, "you play like a Gypsy!" Actually, Gypsy music is different throughout the world, as Gypsies are extremely adept at adopting the musical tradition of the country they happen to be residing in, and making it their own.

A good case in point is a Hungarian "czardas" vs. a flamenco "farrucas"—the instrumentation, the rhythm, the mode is vastly different in each style of music, and yet they are both designated as "gypsy." It may be said that the common denominators of Gypsy music are freedom, passion, and pathos. With all my heart, I try to pour every ounce of emotion I have into the music, thus giving it a Gypsy flavor. Additionally, I prefer to write in minor keys and incorporate strong rhythmic patterns into the music—both elements remind people of "gypsy" music.

Then there's the dancing and the costumes... but let's move on to the "Chamber Music" part of the description. The music is composed for a small acoustic ensemble—most typically violin, classical guitar, and piano. (But on the recordings, I enjoy adding percussion from around the world!) When I first started writing the music that we performed, it had a distinctly folk flavor to it (we called it "Gypsy-inspired"), but it has evolved into much more classically structured compositions. And, I am a very highly trained classical violinist who includes a Paganini Caprice in the concert program—"chamber music" addresses the classical aspects of the music.

What is your greatest career achievement to date?

To have persevered, and to have been true to myself. I don't exactly "conform," which has led to a LOT of rejections. Please, dear reader, know that if you're doing something creative, unique, and/or courageous, not everybody is going to like it! Keep going, and be true to yourself, for by so doing, you honor God. The greatest event in my career to date was when my music was used by world champion gymnast Kui Yuan Yuan (China) during her floor routine at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. The resulting publicity led to 18 solid months of concert tours in the U.S., Asia, and South America. This wonderful time in my life was not due to my own achievement, but due to the grace of God, who opened the doors.

What is the one achievement you look forward to accomplishing in the future?

I know it may sound trite, but I mean it, with all my heart and soul: to have my Lord Jesus say to me, "well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master."

What made you join TAXI?

My husband, Josef, insisted that we join. In addition to being my guitarist, he is also a very wise man!

How has TAXI helped you with your career?

I absolutely do not have the time, resources, or connections to get my music heard—it is an incredible blessing to have TAXI take care of this part of the business for me. TAXI gives me hope—yes, there is musical life beyond concerts! TAXI gives me encouragement—I'm more motivated than ever to compose and record new "Gypsy Chamber Music." Without hope and encouragement, we wither and dry up, and there is no career.

What are your plans for 2007?

To upgrade to DISPATCH! Also, to take a brief break from concert touring, in order to compose and record new material... and clean my house!

Well, there you go. A concert violinist with plenty of career credits and yet, she is still a TAXI member! If you don't have the time, resources or connections to get your music heard, maybe you should consider hooking up with TAXI also! It's a great door opener!

See How TAXI Works

"I must recommend it to anyone I think is serious about songwriting."
— Dwight Nichols,
TAXI Member

"I am in awe of the sheer volume of amazing ideas to help musicians that you not only come up with, but make into real opportunities."
— Mara.,
TAXI Member

"Thanks for your constant support of my work — I'm running out of compliments for you guys!"
— James Day,
TAXI Member

"The calibre of everything about TAXI and the Road Rallies contiues to climb. I hope it never stops!"
— Roy Flower,
TAXI Member

"I've gotten one solid offer from a record company/publisher . . . and two other songs of mine are on the desks of A&R executives at major labels. Quite simply, TAXI works!"
— Paul Schwartz,
TAXI Member

"My writing and production skills have improved 200%! Although some credit belongs to me for such hard work, a lot belongs to you!"
— Chris Musulin,
TAXI Member