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Composing Identity: Korean Sentiment and Sounds in an American Context
Berkeley, CA, March 2003


Composing Identity: Korean Sentiment and Sounds in an American Context
Friday, March 14, 2003
Morrison Hall rm. 125, the Elkus Room
University of California, Berkeley


Agenda


Presentations

1:30-1:45 p.m.	Hilary Finchum-Sung
		Korean Perspectives, American Audience?

1:45-2:35 p.m.	Serra Hwang
		Lecture: "Rhythm, Rapture, Rapprochement: Folk Korean Drumming and
		the Bridging of the Contemporary Music-Audience Divide," with
		performance of Hwang's work by Nathan Hesselink (changgo) and Guy
		Hamilton (cello).

2:35-2:45	Coffee Break

2:45-3:35 p.m.	Hyo-shin Na
		Lecture: "Korean Music on the West Coast," with performance of
		Na's work by the Del Sol String Quartet.

3:35-4:20 p.m.	Jean Ahn
		Lecture: "Stretching the boundaries of modern music."

4:20-4:30 p.m.	Coffee Break

4:30-5:10 p.m.	Chan Park
		Lecture: "Oral tradition and Korean Journey to America"

5:10-5:25 p.m.	Nathan Hesselink
		Concluding remarks

5:25-6:20 p.m. 	Discussion (with brief commentary by Susie Lim)

6:20 p.m.	Seminar adjourns

Summary

In contemporary South Korea, some composers look to the structures and aesthetics
of kugak (literally, "national music," or Korean traditional court and folk music)
for compositional inspiration.  New genres of music using kugak structures have
surfaced through such compositional efforts, and offer new possibilities for
Korean composers in the twenty-first century.  Many Korean American composers and
musicians also draw on a Korean musical soundscape, offering fresh sounds to ears
unaccustomed to the timbrel, rhythmic, and melodic complexities of Korean
traditional music.  This seminar features the words and works of four Korean
American composers and performers who, each in her own way, addresses the issue of
personal creative freedom and expression of cultural and ethnic identity in her
work.  Each individual's presentation will offer an understanding of the ways in
which they employ compositional techniques to reference a Korean sound, and of the
effect of the American context on compositional perspectives and practices.

The Focal Speakers (in order of appearance)

Serra Hwang was awarded the Doctor of Musical Arts in Music Composition, with a
minor in ethnomusicology, from the University of Michigan in 1993. The recipient
of the British Broadcasting Corporation's Composer's Platform Competition (1995),
Hwang has presented her works in both England and the United States. In addition
to the BBC award, Hwang was the winner of the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra's
"New Direction Concerts" Chamber Music Competition in 1991 and received first
prize in the International League for Women Composer's "Search for New Music"
Competition in 1990. Her compositions range from orchestral works to electronic
music, and her most recent compositions include Study in White, Pinari for
Orchestra, and Variation for Piano and Changgo.  Hwang currently serves as
Assistant Professor of Composition and Music Theory at Illinois State University.

Hyo-shin Na studied at Ehwa University in Seoul, Korea and the Manhattan School of
Music, and received her doctorate from the University of Colorado at Boulder. A
San Francisco-based composer, Na has received many awards including the Korean
National Composers Prize (1994) and the Asian American Arts Foundation fellowship
(2000).  Na's compositions have been performed and broadcast worldwide and she
receives multiple commissions every year.  In addition to Song of the Beggars, a
work commissioned for the Kronos Quartet during the 1998-1999 season, Na has been
awarded commissions by the Koussevitzky Foundation, the Fromm Foundation at
Harvard, the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts, Seoul
Traditional Orchestra, Contemporary Music Ensemble Korea, and many others. A
prolific composer, Na's most recent compositions include a work for chamber
orchestra and p'iri solo and a piece for shamisen solo. Her current projects
include two orchestra pieces and a chamber opera, and she is scheduled to appear
at both the Fukuoka Gendai Hogaku Festival in Japan and the Women in Music Today
Festival in South Korea.

Jean Ahn was born in Korea in 1976. She received her BA and MA in composition from
Seoul National University, where she studied with Paik Byoung Dong. Her music has
been widely performed in Korea including concerts with the 2000 Pan Music
Festival. Ms. Ahn has also composed for traditional Korean instruments and was the
recipient of awards in 2000 and 2001 at the Korean Traditional Music Festival. She
is currently studying with Cindy Cox and Edmund Campion as a Ph.D. student in U.C.
Berkeley's Department of Music.

Chan Park, Associate Professor of Korean Language and Literature at Ohio State
University, was awarded the Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Literatures at the
University of Hawaii.  Park has published widely in academic journals and edited
volumes, and most recently published Voices from the Straw Mat: Toward an
Ethnography of Korean Story Singing (University of Hawaii Press, 2003). A former
Postdoctoral Fellow at Berkeley's Center for Korean Studies, Chan's awards include
the Korean American Women Artists and Writers Association's 2002 Outstanding
Artist Award and a 2000 Academy of Korean Studies Research Fellowship.  In
addition to her work as a scholar, Chan has won wide acclaim for her p'ansori
performance abilities.  Her academic knowledge and virtuosic performance abilities
make her an in-demand performer and lecturer.  Known for her skills as a p'ansori
(sung epic narrative) performer, Chan's musical training includes kŏmun'go
sanjo and changgo drum dance. Her p'ansori skills were shaped by lessons from
master performers such as Ch'ông Kw?jin, holder of the Intangible Cultural
Treasure title for the Story of Ch^̉unhyang and the Story of Simchŏng. She
most recently wrote, directed, produced, and performed In 1903, Pak H?gbo Went to
Hawai'i, ?at the Centennial Korean Immigration to America Banquet, Honolulu,
January 13, 2003.


Additional Speakers/Performers (in alphabetical order)

Founded in 1992, the Del Sol String Quartet began performing while in residence at
the Banff Centre for the Arts, followed by a residency at San Francisco State
University, where they worked as assistants to the Alexander String Quartet. 2001
marked the release of Short Cuts, the Del Sol's first CD, featuring the world
premiere of Keeril Makan's piece "Cut". 2002 marked the release of a CD, "Tear"
which kicks off a project to research and perform music of the Americas, from
Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic. The quartet is committed to furthering the work of
specific composers over time and collaborating with dancers and musicians from
other genres.

Hilary Finchum-Sung, a present U.C., Berkeley Center for Korean Studies
Postdoctoral Fellow, received her Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from Indiana University
in July 2002.  Her dissertation, "Uri Saenghwal Ŭmak: Music, Discourse, and
Identity in South Korea," examined contemporary compositions based on traditional
musical idioms and the related discourse.  In addition to her research on South
Korean compositional activities Finchum-Sung is developing ideas for future
research, including Korean-American composers and women in Korean music history.  
She currently is editing her dissertation for publication.

Gregory Hamilton is a Doctor of Musical Arts Candidate at the University of Kansas
and a Lecturer of Cello at Illinois State University.  He has performed
extensively throughout the world, on the stage and on live television and radio
broadcasts.  The recipient of multiple awards and research grants, Hamilton's
performance skills have been praised for their brilliance.  In addition to his
teaching duties, Hamilton serves as the String Chamber Music Coordinator, the
Founding Director of the ISU Cello Choi, and the cellist for the Ricard Piano Trio
and faculty string quartet.

Nathan Hesselink, a former Center for Korean Studies Postdoctoral Fellow, was
awarded the Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the School of Oriental and African
Studies at the University of London in 1998. Versed in both Western classical and
Korean traditional musical performance, Hesselink is an accomplished changgo
(hourglass drum) performer and participated in Kim Duk Soo's Sixth International
SamulNori Drumming Competition (1997).  Hesselink has published numerous articles
and edited the volume Contemporary Directions: Korean Folk Music Engaging the
Twentieth Century and Beyond (2001).  He currently serves as President of the
Association for Korean Music Research and Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology
at Illinois State University.

Susie Lim is a Ph.D. Candidate in Ethomusicology at U.C., Berkeley's Department of
Music.  Lim is currently writing her dissertation on the history of sanjo, a genre
of instrumental, improvisational folk music.