LIVING TONES Compositions

Contact: selected scores (see bellow) are avaiable from Living Tones Publisher at JHKSOURCE@gmail.com.


Request for Living Tones Lecture
at JHKSOURCE@gmail.com

Living Tones Lecture(PDF)

“This is new music/world music at its finest, beyond political correctness, into the realm of the sublime, where words and cultural postures fall away.”  
Josef Woodard, The Los Angeles Times

Jin Hi Kim has developed a series of compositions using her Living Tones philosophy--The timbral persona of each tone generated is treated with an abiding respect, as its philosophical mandate from Buddhism, a reverence for the ‘life’ of a tone, the color and nuance granted each articulation from Korean Shamanism expression. Kim's Living Tones concept is derived from the characteristic of Korean tone quality (sigimse). Each tone is alive, embodying its own individual shape, sound, texture, vibrato, glissando, expressive nuances and dynamics. The life is partly given to the notes by gestures, which shape the tones and produce subtle microtonal fluctuations.

Jin Hi Kim has given lectures about Living Tones at over 200 universities in the USA including Cornell, Yale, Wesleyan, Duke, Indiana, Peabody Consrvatory, New England Conservatory, Dartmouth College, University of Minnesota, UC San Diego, and University of Michigan.




REVIEWS

VOICES of sigimse
"A gorgeously tactile piece that moved easily between an earthy folksiness and meditative refinement."
Allan Kozinn, The New York Times

LINKING
"An essay in integration which suggested a Takemitsu-like ability to hover between eastern and western traditions."
Paul Griffiths, The Times (London)

"The delicacy of her effects and of the Kronos Quartet's playing were constantly riveting."
John Rockwell, The New York Times

KEE MAEK
"an otherwordly violin and cello duet in which sliding tones gave the impression of brush strokes on a canvas."
Allan Kozinn, The New York Times

TILINGS
"In Tilings, Jin Hi Kim, an eloquent, eclectic advocate for the komungo, vividly translated her instrument's characteristic slurs and wobbles for a Western ensemble of woodwinds, strings, percussion and cimbalom."
Steve Smith, The New York Times

NONG ROCK
“She applied the concept of “living tones” from traditional Korean music to the Western string quartet.
The effect is a vivid one, especially in the high registers, where pitches slide in and out of consonances seductively. Kim is a composer to be watched.”  
Mark Sweed, Los Angeles Herald Examiner

“Savoring the life of each richly inflected note.”  
Josef Woodard, Los Angeles Times

"Her music is inspired by the directly textured instrumental sounds of her own country.
It could never have been written by a native Californian or New Yorker. It's exotic. It's different.
It reflects its culture in the same essential way that Beethoven's quartets reflected his time."
David Harrinton, the Kronos Quartet

ETERNAL ROCK
"(Eternal Rock) moved through the orchestra like a curious outsider, wondering at the range of sounds it can make and using it as an extension of twangy vocabulary of solo komungo."
Anne Midgette, The New York Times

ETERNAL ROCK II
“It is not as westernized in that it doesn’t use traditional melodies, but it has a lot of bite and impact
and it’s really visceral.”  

Gil Rose, Conductor, Boston Modern Orchestra Project

"Some of the orchestral writing sounds like movie music, but the way that Kim extends the effect of the drums by additional percussionists ringed around the stage is striking."
Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe

MONK DANCE
"The most exciting of the instrumental imports (to orchestra) was the set of barrel drums used by Jin Hi Kim in her own vibrant composition, "Monk Dance" ....her propulsive solos on drums took over, leaving the audience breathless."
David Baker, New Haven Register

NORI III
“the colorful, engrossing “Nori III” for Percussion Quartet and Electric Komungo... The infectious rhythms of the piece were playful all right, while suggesting the hypnotic, repetitive style of American minimalists like Steve Reich. Thanks to the exotic tones of the komungo and Asian percussion instruments, the insistent pace never grew monotonous.”  
David J. Baker, New Haven Register

 

SELECTED COMPOSITIONS FOR ORCHESTRA & CHAMBER ENSEMBLE

Contact: selected scores are avaiable from Living Tones Publisher at JHKSOURCE@gmail.com.

ONE SKY II (2018)
instrumentation: orchestra
[winds at 3.2.2.2; brass at 2.2.2.1; timpani, 2 percussion; harp; strings at 6.5.4.4.3]
duration: 15 minutes

notes: Dedicated to the unification of Korea; Composed for Wesleyan University Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life Collaborative Project; Premiere by Wesleyan University Orchestra, Jin Hi Kim (Korean percussion) and Nadya Potemkina (conductor) at Crowell Concert Hall, Middletown, CT (April 16, 2018)

The current political conflict between North Korea and the USA has enormous implications for the world. ONE SKY II is an attempt to deliver a message that we live under and share one sky no matter how different our individual’s beliefs may be or what political boarders have been created. The work is about reconciliation of Korean War and informs and elucidates some of the historical and cultural context of our current situation with Korea, and it is composed with reflection of Japanese Occupation, American military force during the Korean War, and the peace in Korean peninsula.

CHILD OF WAR (2014)
instrumentation: soloists (S.A.T.B.), mixed chorus, semi-chorus, percussion, and piano accompaniment, optional komungo (or dan bau) solo interlude
duration: 35 minutes

notes: Dediated to Kim Phuc renowned for 'the girl in the picture' during the Vietnam War;
Commissioned by John Marshall Lee for The Mendelssohn Chorus of Connecticut Carole Ann Maxwell, D.S.M., Conductor; Premiere by the Mendelssohn Chorus of Connecticut with Jin Hi Kim as soloist at Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University, CT (April 6, 2014)

It has been my honor to contemplate Kim Phuc who had gone through extreme turmoil during the Vietnam War as a 9 years old girl. Ms. Phuc subsequently transcended to forgive those who destroyed her physically and mentally. She is now calling loudly for world peace. I also have seen many people who lost parts of their bodies during the Korean War. Death has no expression. Their living conveys the horror of war. The terror of war is undeniable as enormous pain is dumped onto innocent children who then suffer their entire lives from the dark past. But Kim Phuc is not just a victim she is a living legacy of forgiveness for the world. The piece has five sections based on Kim Phuc’s story entitled The Girl In the Picture, Horror of War, Pain, Forgive and She is Calling for Peace.

TILINGS (2013)
instrumentation: piccolo/flute, oboe, clarinet, violin, cello, komungo, cimbalom, and percussion
duration: 11 minutes

notes: Composed for Either/Or Ensemble; Premiere by Either/Or Ensemble, Jin Hi Kim (komungo) and Richard Carrick (conductor) at The Kitchen, New York (May 30, 2013)

Patterns are basic to daily life. We experience repetitive patterns in clouds, wind, waves, leaves, walks, flocks, etc. In Korean tradition there exists a variety of artistic expression in colorful repetitive patterns called moonee, which are seen in intricate structures on the underside of temple roofs, on wrapping cloths, and other decorative objects. There are also various pattern designs of knots and decorative carving patterns on paper door frames.  We also find in Korean traditional music repertoire, doduri with a form of repetition in the orchestra. The repetitive rhythmic cycle found in most Korean music gives a sense of timeless throughout the piece.

TILINGS is an attempt to replicate the aesthetic of Korean patterns and repetition of rhythmic cycles. When I look at the patterns, I initially see the individual pattern then my eyes are drawn to the multiple layers and eventually a whole that seems patternless. This is the way I try to listen to TILINGS. As a form of tilings is designed a certain visual phenomena, I designed a time sense of the sonic phenomena. I tried to shape it as organically as avoiding a clear account of repetitive beats. So there is repetitive effect, but not precisely repeated patterns to be recognized. Each instrument has its own repetitive melodic cells or fragment and weaves through the heterophonic structure. The patterns are interlocking with each other but spaced independently.   
                               

NORI III (2009)
instrumentation: percussion quartet and optional electric komungo
duration: 12 minutes
notes: Commissioned by New Haven Symphony Orchestra for Meet The Composer Music Alive;
Premiere by New Haven Symphony Orchestra Percussion Ensemble and Jin Hi Kim at Woolsey Hall, New Haven, CT (October 13, 2009)

NORI III is an attempt to realize the similar performance of swing and mesmerizing energy in Korean traditional farmer's percussion band. The series of rythmic cycles are evolving with continuous variations. In addtional to Western percussion instruments from Asia, Africa, and South America are used.

Preview by New Haven Symphony Orchestra Percussion Ensemble and Jin Hi Kim at Sacred Heart University Performing Arts Center, CT (October 13, 2009); Additional Performances by Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music Percussion Ensemble, Whitman Hall NY (November 24, 2010); Empire State Youth Orchestra Percussion Ensemble and Jin Hi Kim at Albany Symphony Orchestra’s American Music Festival, NY (May 22, 2011)


NORI II
(2008)
instrumentation: soprano saxophone, clarinet, two percussionists and optional electric komungo
duration:
15 minutes
notes: Composed for NewEar Ensemble; Premiere by Pat O'Keefe, Heather Barrigner, Patti Cudd and Jin Hi Kim, Minneapolis, MN ( April 26, 2008)

Nori means fund play originated in Korean traditional percussion band. The original NORI was commissioned by Meet The Composer’s Commissioning Music/USA for Zeitgeist in 2002.


MONK DANCE
(2007)
instrumentation:
orchestra and Korean barrel drum set
[winds at 2.2.2.1; brass at 1.1.1.0; 2 prcussion; strings at 6.5.4.4.3; and solo percussionist]
duration: 10 minutes
notes: Commissioned by New Haven Symphony Orchestra; Premiere by New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Jin Hi Kim (barrel drums) and Jong Ho Pak (conductor) at Woolsey Hall, New Haven, Connecticut (March 24, 2007)

MONK DANCE is inspired by the Korean traditional solo drumming dance piece, in which a dancer dances very slow and gracious movements and also plays the drums with vigorous rhythmic patterns on the highly ornate suspended
barrel drums.  The drum solo is derived from the Buddhist monk’s drumming on a big barrel drum for enlightenment. This tradition has been expanded by professional dancers and musicians elaborating it into a dance form that is one of the most popular repertoire pieces in Korea. It is known as sung-moo (Monk Dance).

In MONK DANCE, the orchestra captures the feeling of slow monk’s dance, and the drum solo develops a mesmerizing energy. The string sections play ‘Living Tones’, which expresses Korean flavors on tones. In addition the percussionists play Korean instruments such as gong, temple block and Shaman bells. The soloist performs on suspended five barrel drums and a janggo drum with the orchestra.

Preview by Stanford Symphony, Jin Hi Kim (barrel drums) and Jindong Cai (conductor) at the Pan-Asian Music Festival, Stanford University (February 24, 2007); Additional Performances by New Haven Symphony, Jin Hi Kim (barrel drums) and William Boughton (conductor) at Woolsey Hall, New Haven, CT (April 22) and New Cannon High School Auditorium, CT (April 24, 2010); Key West Symphony Orchestra and Jin Hi Kim (barrel drums) Sebrina Alfonso (conductor) at Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Fort Lauderdale, FL (January 16, 2010) and Tennessee Williams Theatre, Key West, FL (January 13-14, 2010)


ETERNAL ROCK II (2006)
instrumentation:
orchestra and Korean barrel drum set
[winds at 2.2.2.1; brass at 2.2.2.0; 3 percussion; strings at 10.8.6.6.4; and solo percussionist]
duration: 20 minutes
notes: Commissioned by Boston Modern Orchestra Project; Premiere by Boston Modern Orchestra Proect, Gerry Hamingway (barrel drums) and Gil Rose (conductor) at Jordan Hall, Boston, MA (March 10, 2006)

‘Eternal Rock’ refers to the evolution of rocks in space, over eons of time. ETERNAL ROCK II is about hypnotic time and the spinning motion of planetary bodies in space. A solo percussionist will create mesmerizing energy and vivification on the Korean barrel drum set, consisting of five highly ornate suspended drums. In Korean tradition this style of drum set was performed by a dancer as part of choreography. In addition to the solo drummer there is a percussion ensemble, placed around the orchestra, which creates an effect as if their sound is ‘spinning’ around the orchestra.

ONE SKY (2005)
instrumentation: s
tring chamber orchestra and electric komungo
duration: 18 minutes
notes: Commissioned by the Great Mountains Music Festival, South Korea; Premiere by Great Mountains Festival Orchestra, Jin Hi Kim (electric komungo) and Joel Smirnoff (conductor) (August 7, 2005)

I composed ONE SKY for the 50th anniversary of Korean War memorial event at DMZ between North and South Korea and for KBS-TV broadcast. The work is an attempt to deliver a message that we live under and share one sky no matter how different our individual’s beliefs may be or what political boarders have been created.   
                                                                                             

NORI (2002)
instrumentation:
two percussionists, winds (Bb clarinets, bass clarinet, soprano saxophone), keyboard synthesizer and with/without electric komungo
duration: 20 minutes
notes: Commissioned by Meet The Composer's Commissioning Music/USA; Premiere by the Zeitgeist and Jin Hi Kim at Walker Art Center, MN (June 1, 2002)

Additional Performances by the Zeitgeist and Jin Hi Kim for Meet The Composers The Works Marathon Festival, MN (June 8, 2002) and Perpich Center for Arts Education, MN (November 22, 2002)

ETERNAL ROCK (2001)
instrumentation:
orchestra and komungo
[winds at 2.2.2.1; brass at 2.2.2.1; timpani; 4 percussion; strings at 12.8.6.6.4; and komungo]
duration: 12 minutes
notes: Commissioned by American Composers Orchestra; Premiere by American Composers Orchestra, Jin Hi Kim (komungo) and Dante Anzolini (conductor) at Carnegie Hall, New York (March 18, 2001)

‘Eternal Rock’ refers to the evolution of rocks in space, over eons of time and space. The work is composed using the concept of ‘Living Tones’, which I have developed for over 20 years and made this the manifest foundation of my compositional path. In my compositional concept of ‘Living Tones’, a central premise is that each tone is fully alive, embodying its own individual shape, sound and subtext deeply rooted in Korean traditional music elements. The precise timbral persona of each tone generated is treated with an abiding respect, as its philosophical mandate from Buddhism, a reverence for the ‘life’ of tone, the color and nuance granted each articulation from Shamanism.

During the first half of the piece, a group of strings plays a continuous wave-drone, reflecting ever-repeating universal cycles. In the wave drone, the orchestra is woven together in the way that gravity exists in a fully formed galaxy. In the second half of the piece, komungo separates from the orchestra, getting faster, in the way a universe in formation expands and accelerates at its turning point, at the point of gravity shift. Toward the end of the piece, the orchestra becomes a collection of individual voices, reflecting the behavior of energy inside empty space forcing planets and stars further away from each other and into space. Throughout the piece, the improvising komungo solo weaves.

Additional Performances by Seattle Creative Orchestra conducted by Roger Nelson at Shorecrest Performing Arts Center, Seattle, Washington (June 30, 2001); Boston Modern Orchestra, Jin Hi Kim and Gil Rose (conductor) at Jordan Hall, Boston, MA (October 5, 2001); Riverside Philharmonic, Jin Hi Kim and Helen Cha Pyo (conductor) at Riverside Church, New York (March 10-11, 2002); Key West Symphony, Jin Hi Kim and Sebrina Alfonso (conductor) at Tennessee William Fine Arts Theatre, Key West, FL (February 5, 2003) and Broaward Center for the Performing Arts, Fort Lauderdale, FL (February 7-8); Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) Symphony, Jin Hi Kim and Apo Hsu (conductor) for “Women in Music Festival”, Seoul, South Korea (April 8, 2003)

GARDEN OF VENUS (1999)
instrumentation:
Korean komungo, Chinese pipa, Japanese yokobue and Balinese gender/voice
duration: 20 minutes
notes: Commissioned by The Asia Society for “Asian Women in Music Today”; Premiere by Jin Hi Kim (Korean komungo and janggo), Min Xiao-Fen (Chinese pipa), Michiko Akao (Japanese yokobue) and Ketut Suryatini (Balinese gender/voice) at The Asia Society, New York (October 23, 1999)

AGATE SLICE (1998)
instrumentation:
violin, cello and percussion
duration: 10 minutes
notes: Commissioned by the Festival Nieuwe Muziek, Middelburg, The Netherlands; Premiere by Mifune Tsuji, Frances Marie Uitti and Tatiana Koleva of Xenakis Ensemble, Diego Masson, conductor at the Festival Nieuwe Muziek "Women in Avant-Garde" (June 19, 1998)

Agate is composed primarily of microscopically crystallized silica (SiO2) and often occurs as a cavity filled in by lava. Agate is formed in layers and usually follows the shape of the cavity. AGATE SLICE is my evolving practice of ‘Living Tones’ and in this composition it corresponds to the way a rock cavity is filled in by liquid lava. The conceptual basis for ‘Living Tones’ is that each note is alive, embodying its own individual shape, tone quality and timbre. This radical departure from a harmonic based musical language is concerned with minute tonal shadings, gradation, texture, and an organic process for developing phrases and time structure.

I have begun to merge it with theoretical research in fractals. Fractal patterns such as trees, waves and clouds focus on broken, crinkled, wrinkled and uneven shapes (living Tones). In the world of fractals, the shape of triangles, squares or lines is not important. Similarly for me, scale, pitch and melody are not so important in the concept of ‘Living Tones’. The microscopic cosmos of fractals (individual structure) of self-similarity (infinite variety) and haphazard group (irregular phrases) is for me the essence of being.

VOICES OF SIGIMSE (1996)
instrumentation:
flute, clarinet, viola, cello, bass and komungo
duration: 13 minutes
notes: Composed for Tan Dun's "New Generation East"; Premiere by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Jin Hi Kim (komungo) and Tan Dun (conductor) at Alice Tully Hall for the Lincoln Center Summer Festival, New York (July 27, 1996)

Sigimse is the word for Korean traditional musicians to express own individual tone quality, which my compositional concept of ‘Living Tones’ is derived from. Each tone is alive and has its own shape, and the music exists largely in the transitory moment of each individual sound. Pitch bending and subtle timbral changes are part of the process of making Living Tones, providing a richness of the piece. For this idea playing the perfect pitch become less important. Instead creating, adding nuances around the pitch is more important. I imagine the sound as hazy/diffuse that is created by slightly out of unison to each other.

This composition explores the multi-tones that are existed as the woven Living Tones. The grouping of independent voices of instruments shapes a tension and releases the energy in the silence at the end of phrase. The piece lies on the timbral and microtonal layers as well as individual tempi with an outcome that is the integration of abstractness on melody. Although its overall framework is meditative, each instrument adds dramatic gestures and textures.

Additional Performances by Sonora Ensemble at Cornish College and Western Washington University, Seattle, WA (February 1-3, 1997); Xenakis Ensemble conducted by Diego Masson at the Festival Nieuwe Muziek, Middleburg, The Netherlands (June 1, 1998)


KEE MAEK #4 (1995)
instrumentation:
cello solo
duration: 9 minutes
notes: Composed for Madeleine Shapiro; Premiere by Madeleine Shapiro at Crane Festival of New Music, SUNY College at Potsdam, New York (April 13, 1995)

YOEUM (1995)
instrumentation:
baritone voice and male kagok singer
duration: 13 minutes
notes: Commissioned by Thomas Buckner for Living Tones Concert; Premiere by Whang Kyu Nam and Thomas Buckner at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, sponsored by The Korea Society in memory of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots (April 11, 1995); Published by OO Discs for "LIVING TONES" CD

Yoeum means extended sound vibrations come from stretching pronunciation of vowels.  Traditional Korean kagok lyric songs are cut and pasted together, and e.e. cummings poems are used to create the counterpart to the newly assembled kagok songs. Two different kinds of poems in two different singing styles are sung in Korean and English simultaneously. This piece is created by vocal textures emphasizing vowels and consonants of the worlds. Some vowels of Korean old poems are extended and elaborated by kagok singing techniques.    English consonants of e.e. cummings poems add sonic textures in the song with Western contemporary singing and speaking voice. The two singers use their personal vocal timbres and dynamic expression according to coded symbols on the text, which makes Living Tones. A changgo drum accompanies the kagok singer. The kagok singer also plays bak clapper when X is indicated.

Additional Performance at Merkin Hall, New York (April 13, 1995), sponsored by The Korea Society in memory of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots; Presented by Dr. Frances Nobert at the fourth International Festival of Women Composers (March 13, 2000)

TCHONG (1995)
instrumentation:
flute (soprano & bass) and daegum (court & folk)
duration: 10 minutes
notes: Premiere by Hong Jong Jin and Robert Dick for LIVING TONES Concert at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, sponsored by The Korea Society in memory of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots (April 11, 1995); Published by OO Discs for "LIVING TONES" CD

Tchong is the timbre produced by a membrane found on the Korean daegum, transverse bamboo flute. An alto flute is prepared with rice paper across the finger holes to get the special buzzing sound imitating daegum-tchong sound. The piece opens with a meditative inner sound – a pitchless breath gesture. It moves on to an inner continuity expressed in subtle figures of 'Living Tones'- each note has its own organic shape and energy, and then accelerates into outer intense timbral textures. The shape of the piece is based on increasing tempo and intensity as it is in Korean traditional music.  The score doesn’t indicate time signature, because the time is elastic in this piece. The two players coordinate the flow of the phrases. Living Tones can be realized best in the organically formed space (time) by shaping its own tone gestures freely rather than being locked in a fixed time frame.

Additional Performances by Hong Jong-Jin and Robert Dick at Merkin Hall, New York, sponsored by The Korea Society in memory of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots (April 1, 1995); Hong Jong Jin and Christine Perea at New York University Black Box Theater (January 31, 2001) 


PIRI QUARTET (1993)
instrumentation: three piri performers and
oboe/English horn
duration: 15 minutes
notes: Commissioned by Meet The Composer/Reader's Digest consortium commissioning program; Duo version was presented by National Living Treasure Chung Jae Guk and Joseph Celli at Merkin Hall (New York), Asian Art Museum (San Francisco), Korean Cultural Center (Los Angeles), University of Maryland (Baltimore) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy) in April, 1993; Premiere by masters from the National Gugak Center (Chung Jae Guk, Park Jong Sol, Yang Myong Seok) and Joseph Celli for LIVING TONES Concert at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, sponsored by The Korea Society in memory of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots (April 11, 1995); Published by OO Discs for "LIVING TONES" CD

PIRI QUARTET is composed for three piri (hyang-piri, dang-piri, se-piri) and oboe and English horn. I had an inspiration of composing the piece when I observed Joseph Celli studying piri under Fulbright scholarship for two years in Korea with a National Living Treasure, Chung Jae Guk. I wanted to mix different approaches of these two double reed instruments from the West and East. Also I attempted to demonstrate the astounding lip techniques on piri reeds and Celli’s extended oboe techniques through my composition.

The piece combines not only idioms and timbres of Korean double reeds and Western double reeds but also individual approaches on reeds of each musician. Each piri player has an individual interpretation reflecting the characteristic of the performers with independent strata of nuances. So each piri player sounds never the same way in the same part. The individual piri player performs in slightly different pace within a measure and each player creates own individual tone quality utilizing various articulations on lips and tongue (Living Tones). I employed the maximum use of possibilities of each instrument including usage of both court style and Shamanistic sinawi approached to the piri as well as just the reeds of the instruments of oboe and English horn. The piece is composed in irregular phrasing for organic breathing of musicians. The time is elastic throughout the piece.

Additional Performance by at Merkin Hall (New York), sponsored by The Korea Society in memory of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots (April 13, 1995)

NONG ROCK (1992)
instrumentation:
string quartet and komungo
duration: 15 minutes
notes: Commissioned by Lincoln Center for the Kronos Quartet; Premiere by the Kronos Quartet and Jin Hi Kim at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, New York (January 15, 1992); Published by OO Discs for "LIVING TONES"

In this piece I juxtaposed two different energies in music. Nong means vibration. In Nong, tone gestures and textures become 'Living Tones' and exist as the shaping of each tone’s energy. Rock refers to ecstasy that emanates from the Shamanistic spirit. NONG leads to ROCK. NONG and ROCK balances tension and release in the music as yin and yang.

The komungo attempts to lead to the development Buddhism meditative energy, inspired by Korean kagok lyric song ensemble, and a sense of ecstasy as found in Shamanistic Korean music, which set the contrast between the ensemble playing of NONG and the solo in ROCK. Each note has its own shape or life through slides, variable vibrato, bends and other fluctuations (Living Tones). The Living Tones play less of a role in the shape of melodic line than they would in Western music. In a sense, each note has its own momentary life.

Additional Performances by Kronos Quartet and Kim at San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts (February 21, 1992); Sirius String Quartet and Kim at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (April 11, 1995) and Merkin Hall (New York), sponsored by The Korea Society in memory of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots; Sonora Ensemble and Kim at Cornish College and Western Washington University, Seattle, WA (February 1-3, 1997); Xenakis Ensemble and Jin Hi Kim at the Festival Nieuwe Muziek, The Netherlands (June 27, 1998); American Composers Orchestra string quartet and Jin Hi Kim at Joe's Pub of Public Theater, New York (March 9, 2001), Henry Playhouse, Newcomers High School and High School for Environment Studies in New York (March 17, 2001); Kairos Quartet and Jin Hi Kim at Galerie Katrin Rabus, Bremen, Germany (October 12, 2003) and at Haus der Kulturen der Welt for Transonic Festival, Berlin (January 25, 2004); Crane School of Music faculty string quartet and Jin Hi Kim at Crane School of Music, New York (March 31, 2004); Stadler String Quartet and Jin Hi Kim at Heidelberger Biennale fur Neue Musik, Germany (November 3, 2006) and Salzburger Museum Carolino Augusteum, Austria (November 2, 2006); Texas Christian University string quartet and Jin Hi Kim (April 13, 2005)


LIQUID MIGRATION
(1990)
instrumentation:
viola, cello and prepared piano
duration: 10 minutes
notes: Commissioned by the Fidelio Trio; Premiere by Commissioned by the Fidelio Trio at Crowell Concert Hall, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT (March 28, 1990)

TCHONG (1988)
instrumentation:
prepared flute/alto flute
duration: 8 minutes
notes: Composed for Barbara Held; Premiere by Barbara Held for Composer's Forum at Alternative Museum, New York (March 9, 1988)

KEE MAEK #3 (1988)
instrumentation:
viola and cello
duration: 11 minutes
notes: Premiere at Alternative Museum, New York (March 9, 1988)


DASRUM (1988)
instrumentation:
clarinet, cello and komungo
duration: 8 minutes
notes: Commissioned by Inoue Ensemble; Premiere by Inoue Ensemble and Jin Hi Kim at Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Center, New York (October 17, 1988)

LINKING (1986)
instrumentation:
string quartet
duration: 15 minutes
notes: Commissioned by the Kronos Quartet; Premiere by the Kronos Quartet at Herbst Theater, San Francisco (September 12, 1986)

Upon my arrival to San Francisco from Korea, I attended every concert performance of the Kronos Quartet for years. Inspired by the quartet’s performances I attempted to link my Korean traditional music training to the American contemporary music landscape. The idea behind this piece is to make 'Living Tones', which is the conceptual basis of my composition method derived from the characteristic of Korean tone quality (sigimse). Each tone is alive, embodying its own individual shape, sound, texture, vibrato, glissando, expressive nuances and dynamics. The life is partly given to the tones by gestures, which shape the tones and produce subtle microtonal fluctuations. By varying the articulation techniques timbres are emphasized. The precise timbral persona of each tone generated is treated with an abiding respect, as its philosophical mandate from Buddhism, a reverence for the ‘life’ of tones, including the color and nuance articulated from Shamanism expression. 

Additional Performances by the Kronos Quartet at Darmstadt, Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival, the Warsaw Autumn Festival, Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), Institute for Contemporary Art (London), UCLA (Los Angeles); Performed by New Zealand String Quartet at Asian Pacific Festival, Wellington, New Zealand (December 3, 1992)

KEE MAEK #2 (1986)
instrumentation:
violin solo
duration: 9 minutes
notes: Premiere by Roger Zahab at Experimental Intermedia Foundation, New York (April 22, 1986)

KEE MAEK (1986)
instrumentation:
violin and cello
duration: 11 minutes
notes: Premiere at San Francisco Conservatory of Music, CA (September 6, 1986)

The piece uses sound gestures for its impetus. Kee (energy) and Maek (pulse) can be defined as energy inherent in a shape.  Brush stroke-like gestures of pitch bending and subtle timbral changes of each note are part of the process of creating 'Living Tones', providing a richness of the piece. My compositional concept living tones is derived from the characteristic of Korean tone quality (sigimse). Each note is alive, has its own shape, and the music exits largely in the transitory moment of each individual sound.

Additional Performances by the California E.A.R. Unit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (November 29, 1989); New Music Group at The University of Akron, OH (January 21, 1993); Denise Stillwell and Jennifer Kloetzel for Joel Sachs’s Focus Festival of Juilliard, New York (January 23, 1996); Veskko Gellev and Grace Lin for Joel Sachs’s Summergarden Series at Modern Arts Museum, New York (August 13-14, 1999)

X4 FOR SOLO VIOLIN (1985)
instrumentation:
prerecorded tape and live performance
duration: 9 minutes
notes: Premiere by Mary Oliver at New Performance Gallery, San Francisco, CA (September 18, 1985)

X5 FOR SOLO FLUTE (1985)
instrumentation:
prerecorded tape and live performance of alto and soprano flutes and piccolo
duration: 10 minutes
notes:
Premiere by Ann LaBerge for the "Contemporary Music with Korean Influence" at the Mills College, CA (February 22, 1985)

 


Multimedia Performance

REVIEWS

TOUCHING THE MOONS
“Her unique vision blends science fiction images, state-of-the-art technology, ancient mythology and
timeless music and dance traditions. No other artist is doing work quite like this, and she does it with superb style."  
Joseph McLellan, The Washington Post

"Kim’s austere music centered the work.... (she) applied the techniques of “living tones” to sustained notes:
filling them with vibrato, tightening them until they broke, using glottal stops to make them ripple like waves
around a rock....She turned Korean court-orchestra music into a haze of distant fanfares and
remembered rites, from a time when the moon was a divine power."  
Jon Pareles, The New York Times

DRAGON BOND RITE
“(Dragon Bond Rite) cut across barriers of language, culture and tradition, touch us at deep, irrational levels
result in a work that speaks to our common humanity.”  
Joseph McLellan, The Washington Post

“It’s wonderful to see these diverse Asian styles converse. All the movements are grounded,
yet how differently shaped and accented, how diverse the way feet strike the floor.
In Kim’s score, the styles of the master musicians actually merge.”  
Deborah Jowitt, The Village Voice

“The production’s drummers were percussion virtuosos, and its singers displayed a remarkable range of
vocal techniques, from high-pitched chanting to deep, awesome rumblings.”  
Jack Anderson, The New York Times

“a ground breaking collaboration, one which illuminates the artistic soul of Asia.”  
Thomas Morley, Asian American Press (MN)
                                                                                                         
“She is a paragon of how divergent cultural disciplines can merge to produce something not only vibrant,
but also smart and forward thinking.”  
Manny Theiner, Pittsburgh City Paper   

 

GHOST KOMUNGOBOT (2015)
Performers: Jin Hi Kim-electric komungo, komungobot (virtual robotic instrument), Alex Noyes-sound designer, Benton Bainbridge-visual design and Federico Restrepo-lighting designer
Duration: 60 minutes
First Performance (work-in-process): CultureHub, La MaMa Theater, NYC


DIGITAL BUDDHA (2007-2014)
Performers: Jin Hi Kim-komungo/electric komungo, Park Eunha-percussion, Joel Cadman-video mandalas and Benton Bainbridge-video mix
Duration: 70 minutes
First Performance: Korea Festival, Seoul, S. Korea


SANJO ECSTASY (2003)
Performers: Jin Hi Kim-electric komungo, Ji Aeri-kayagum, Kang Eunil-heagum, Park Gun Yong-janggo, Gerry Hemingway-drum set and Kim Mae Mul-a shaman trance dancer
Duration: 90 minutes
First Performance: Sanjo Festival in Jeonju, S. Korea


DONG DONG TOUCHING THE MOONS (2000)
Performers: Jin Hi Kim-electric komungo, Samir Chatterjee-Indian tabla, Kang Kwon Soon-Korean kagok singer, Parul Shah-Indian kathak dancer, Hong Sin Cha-Korean modern dancer, Tennesse Rice Dixon-digital animation designer, Alex Noyes-multimedia designer, and Tony Giovannetti-lighting designer
Duration: 70 minutes
First Performance: The Kitchen, NY

JUPITER’S MOONS (2000)
Performers: Jin Hi Kim-electric komungo, Kang Kwon Soon-kagok singer and Alex Noyes-computer
Duration: 10 minutes
an excerpt from TOUCHING THE MOONS

DONG DONG DARI (2000)
Performers: Kang Kwon Soon-kagok singer and Alex Noyes-computer
Duration: 10 minutes
an excerpt from TOUCHING THE MOONS


DRAGON BOND RITE (1997)
Performers: Shonosuke Okura-Japanese otsuzumi drum and Sadamu Omura-noh singer, Choi Jong Sil-Korean janggo drum and Kang Kwon Soon-kagok singer, Unikrishinan Nambir-Indian mizhavu drum, I Gede Putu-Indonesian kendang drum and I Wayan Sira-dalalng singer, Kongarool Ondar-Tuvan throat singer, Jin Hi Kim-Korean komungo, Lee Jong Ho-Korean mask dancer, I Ketut Rina-Indonesian topeng dancer, Indian Margi Madhu-kudyattam dancer, Akira Matsui-Japanese noh dancer and Richard Emmert-English noh singer.
Duration: 90 minutes
First Performance: Japan Society, NY
     

DANCE OF MEDITATION (1997)
Performers: Margi Madhu-Indian kudyattam dancer, Akira Matsui-Japanese noh dancer, Jin Hi Kim-Korean komungo, Shonosuke Okura-Japanese otsuzumi drum and Konarool Ondar-Tuvan throat singer
Duration: 8 minutes
an excerpt from DRAGON BOND RITE

ELECTRIC JANGGO PERMUTATIONS (1994)
Performers: Jin Hi Kim-Electric janggo drum and Alex Noyes-computer
Duration: 9 minutes
Created at PASS (public Access Synthesizer Studio), NY

36 STRINGS (1993)
Performer: Jin Hi Kim-Komungo with five video channels
Duration: 20 minutes
Co-created with Joseph Celli at iEAR Studios, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, NY

VIDEO PASSAGE (1992)
Performer: Jin Hi Kim-Electric komungo
Duration: 7 minutes
First Performance: Kjell Bjorgeengen ‘s video installation at Ostsee Biennale, Rostock, Norway

REFRACTED CONFLUENCE (1991)
Performers: Jin Hi Kim-komungo and David Wessel-computer
Duration: 25 minutes
First Performance: Unversity of Victoria BC, Canada

MOVEMENT AND RESONANCE (1985)
Performer: Luciana Proano
Duration: 10 minutes
First Performance: Mills College, CA



Komungo Solo


Contact: selected scores are avaiable from Living Tones Publisher at JHKSOURCE@gmail.com

 

REVIEWS

"Virtuoso, Jin Hi Kim promises thoughtful, shimmering East-West amalgams in combinations that are both new and unlikely to be repeated."
Peter Watrous, The New York Times

"The solo demonstrations and performances were brilliant and fascinating."
James R. Oestriech, The New York Times

"True world music being made here, both ancient and modern and without borders. Outstanding."
Dennis Yudt, Pulse Magazine

"With her electric komungo, she floated sustained tones and rudimentary melodies or
plucked twangs suggesting a jaw-harp or hinted at the bent notes of the blues."
Jon Pareles, The New York Times

"a lush solo improvisation stays true to the nature of the komungo while showing real imagination about how its sound can be processed and coloured."
Clive Bell, Wire Magazine

 

SELECTED COMPOSITIONS FOR KOMUNGO SOLO

Joy of Flying Swallows (2018) for komungo: 8 minutes

Exceeding (2015) for electric komungo: 10 minutes.

Influential Dance (Mother Jatayu in Joshua Tree) (2014-2015) for komungo & voice: 10 minutes

Doduri (2007-2015) for electric komungo: 10 minutes

Saturn's Rings (2000-2014) for electric komungo: 10 minutes

Self Protrait (1999-2010) for komungo: 11 minutes

Unknot (2003-2010) for electric komungo: 10 minutes

Salgeng (2005-2010) for komungo: 8 minutes

Core (1999-2001) for komungo: 7 minutes

Dorang (1999) for komungo: 7 minutes

Fluttering Tchong (1999) for komungo: 3 minutes

Silk To Metal (1995) for komungo: 3 minutes