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.