Since Western music was imported to Korea one hundred years ago it has grown
to become a primary counterpart of Korean traditional music. Korean musicians
have tried to construct a new cultural environment in the name of the "new
Korean music" that denies the distinction between Western music and Korean
traditional music, and that harmonizes the two musical cultures. Contemporary
Music Ensemble Korea (CMEK) was founded in 1998 for the purpose of creating
this new Korean music and to promote it to the world as one of the universal
CMEK mainly performs newly-composed ensemble pieces that use instruments and
musical idioms of the two cultures. CMEK is interested in performing interdisciplinary
works of music, performance and other genres and is recognized as one of the
most promising ensembles of its kind. CMEK is considered a national treasure
because of the new musical worlds it has opened up in Korea.
Ji-Young Yi, director and kayagum-player, has studied various traditional
musical genres such as kayagum performance, song and dance since the age of
five. She holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from the Seoul National University and
is the doctoral candidate at Iwha Woman's University. She was a former member
of the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts and currently
is a professor at Yong-In University. Due to her activities in Korea and abroad,
she is regarded as one of the most brilliant contemporary musicians. She has
been invited to various contemporary music festivals world-wide including
Otherminds Festival (USA), Isang Yun Festival (Germany), Edinburgh Festival
(UK) and so forth.
Jeong-Seung Kim, taegeum, has been brought up in a traditional music family.
He is versed not only on the taegum (long transverse bamboo flute) but also
the tanso (vertical bamboo flute), changgo (hour-glass drum) and other traditional
musical instruments. He is famous for his performing technique in contemporary
pieces. He graduated from the Seoul National University and is a member of
the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts. He is also a member
of Intangible Cultural Asset for Kure Loco Ensemble.
Chi'-Wan Park, piri, saenghwang, changgo, is a member of the Intangible Cultural
Asset No. 46, the Korean Classical Piri Music and Royal Marching Music, and
the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts. He studied at
Seoul National University.