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Contemporary Korean Music Recital in San Francisco

September 17, 2018

Composer Kurt Rohde is curating and pianist Jihye Chang is presenting a rare and intriguing recital of works by young Korean composers in the Center for New Music on Sept. 29.

The program — “Co-Ko” (Contemporary Korea) — is Chang’s solo piano exploration of identity and personality through various kinds of music written by Korean composers. Co-Ko is also the name of one of the pieces in the program written by Texu Kim, who studied at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and is now one of the most active and visible composers of his generation.

Chang says Kim’s work and her own experience prompted her to look into “what other young composers are writing in different continents and circumstances. “Some seek their own identity by incorporating Korean music (including folk and popular music) in their compositions, and some only engage in creating music without such considerations.”

She says of the recital: “It’s an exciting program of vastly different styles and aesthetics by 10 Korean composers, including two works by well-known Bay Area composers Hyoshin Na and Jean Ahn.”

An acclaimed performer of Western classical and new music, Chang also has a special interest in the many prominent Korean composers working in Europe, the U.S., and in Korea. Chang has followed their work and is, “always fascinated by the variety in their styles and artistic goals. With different educational backgrounds, current positions, ideals, and aesthetics, their music represents a vast scope of current classical music.”

In 2016, Chang launched a multiyear solo recital project called “Continuum 88,” commissioning and premiering piano works. The night before the Center for New Music recital, she will perform “Continuum 88, Part III: Into Fantasies” in Old First Church, in a program encompassing music from Chopin to Peter Kramer (a world premiere), from Carl Czerny to Seungyeon Kim, from Mozart and Schumann to Addie Camsuzou.

The Center for New Music recital includes the following:

  • Uzong Choe: Prelude No. 24 (“Le miroir dans l’eau”), (2017) — U.S. premiere

  • Eunho Chang: Prelude No. 5, (2015) — U.S. premiere

  • Juri Seo: Doremi Variations, (2014)

  • Kay Rhie: Miniature for Solo Piano No. 2 (“Arirang”), (2016)

  • Shinuh Lee: Chorale Fantasy IV (“Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott”) — written for Jihye Chang

  • Jungeun Park: Seoul Sori Etude, (2018) — World premiere, written for Co-Ko Project and Jihye Chang

  • Hyoshin Na: Meadow Study, (2016)

  • Unsuk Chin: Piano Etude No. 4 (“Scalen”), (1998)

  • Jean Ahn: Fingerdance (2017) — World premiere

  • Texu Kim, Co.Ko. — un poco Loco (2017)

Janos Gereben appreciates news tips, corrections, and words of encouragement at [email protected].