Australian teen plays first official international performance in Weatherford

Xavier Kim, a 16-year-old jazz pianist from Australia, prepares for his first official performance in the U.S. on Tuesday afternoon at Northside Remedy in Weatherford. Kim is visiting his dad, who works in Weatherford, and has spent time in the U.S. visiting universities. 

Australian teenage pianist Xavier Kim didn’t worry about stage fright before his first official U.S. performance, despite this being the first time he has traveled overseas.

Kim, 16, from Canberra, Australia, played at Northside Remedy in Weatherford on Tuesday evening.

“Only in front of big audiences,” Kim said when asked about his stage fright. He glanced around the outdoor seating area at Northside Remedy before saying, “This isn’t too bad.”

Kim’s dad Val Kim works in Weatherford and arranged for Xavier to perform. Jazz music runs in the family as Val Kim plays jazz guitar and his other sons play jazz on their respective instruments.

“As parents, you do your best to kind of expose your kids to these things,” Val Kim said.

Xavier Kim started playing the piano when he was a child but took a three-year break before picking up the instrument again. Upon his return to piano, he found more freedom in playing jazz music than he did playing classical. Xavier also said he started playing more music that he wanted to.

“When you have a piano teacher, they’re like, ‘Play this song, play it like this,’ whereas I was able to play any song however I wanted to,” Xavier Kim said.

Piano in general also offers a wide variety of notes to play, Xavier Kim said.

“You’ve literally got all 86 notes or whatever it is laid out in front of you,” Xavier Kim said. “Like guitar players, trumpet players, they’re limited to six notes or one note for trumpet, but piano you’ve literally got everything right there. You have so much freedom to do whatever you want harmonically and musically.”

Xavier Kim and his friends at home have performed live before, particularly at schools.

“If the school needs any music at an event or something, they’ll normally call us,” Xavier Kim said.

Also during his trip to the U.S., Xavier Kim has been visiting universities that he might attend, such as the University of North Texas and University of Texas at Arlington. He also mentioned that he is thinking of starting school at Weatherford College. He said he wants to study jazz and music but isn’t sure about a certain career path.

“Really just being able to play music, maybe produce songs, play with other musicians but just play at the end of the day,” Xavier Kim said about career goals.

Xavier’s performance in Weatherford comes about a year after Weatherford started the process to become a sister city with Toowoomba, Australia. Since then, Australian businesses have been in the process of expanding their operations in Weatherford, and Val Kim said he’d like to see exchange programs in education as well.

“Certainly, I think there’s kind of a lot that we can exchange,” Val Kim said.

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