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Concert program for Hwayoung Shon

Sunday, May 16, 2021 at 4 pm

Download a copy of the program here.

Hwayoung Shon, gayageum


Kim Juk Pa (1911–1989)
Scattered Melodies (Gayageum Sanjo)

About the music

Sanjo, which translates to ‘scattered melodies’, is a form of music in which an organized rhythmic progression of movements is performed on a solo instrument. It was inspired by the popularity of improvised instrumental shaman music and narrative storytelling in the late 19th century in Korea. It was first developed for the gayageum and later written for many other instruments. In ‘scattered melodies’, the sections move from the slowest rhythm, taking up to half of the total performance time, followed by the increasingly faster movements. Kim Juk Pa’s Scattered Melodies has its roots in the music of her grandfather Kim Chang Jo (1856–1919), who pioneered the sanjo form. In her work, she proudly contributes to the ongoing vitality of sanjo, accomplishing extreme beauty through the tension of altering rhythmic cycle and sequence. The work begins and ends with movements titled daseuleum, which means to control the notes. In the first daseuleum, before the ‘scattered melodies’ are officially begun, the performer introduces the themes that will be developed throughout the work. In the final daseuleum, the performer finalizes the notes and songs.

About the performer

Hwayoung Shon, a gayageum performer, was praised by Seong-Chun Lee, former director of the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts, as an outstanding performer who appears once in several decades. Hwayoung Shon made her public debut at the age of 10 in 1986 with Korean Broadcasting System. She graduated from Seoul National University and is the winner of 11 national Korean music competitions. At the age of 17, she was awarded the grand prize at the national gayageum competition, the most prestigious gayageum competition in Korea. It was featured in newspapers, TV and acclaimed by media as the most beautiful and gorgeous-sounding performer despite her young age. She was also the first gayageum performer to collaborate with a K-pop band on TV in Korea.

As a soloist, she has been invited to many distinguished concert halls such as Herbst Theatre and performed on many prominent stages. She also performs in the United States, Japan, Europe, and her performances were broadcasted nationwide by KBS, MBC, EBS, SBS in Korea.

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