Korea Arts Management Service

Into the Light, MUSIC OF KOREA is to introduce Korean traditional music to international audiences.

Baramgot is a dedicated Korean music group founded in 2004 under the direction of Won Il. They intend to create new style of music that especially emphasizes each player’s improvisational skills.Baramgot quickly obtained reputation as one of the most important Korean music groups by improving and reinterpreting Korean traditional instruments, which had already acquired their own unique tone colors in the course of their long history. One of their recent works is the reinterpretation of Sinawe (Korean traditional improvisational music) into various contemporary styles, and it has been recognized as the most creative and important achievement in Korean contemporary music scene.

In 2006, they created a music theatre piece called “Searching for Water,” which is based on a Korean folk tale, “Great Journey of Princess Bari.” Every year, their performance is being acclaimed critically.This piece is also the result of cooperative efforts by artists in various fields. This kind of interdisciplinary work to reinvent new style of music while communicating with artists through music is an important part of what Baramgot strives to achieve. “Baramgot,” which literally means wind cape, signifies their efforts to create the new world of free sounds just like that uninhibited wind freely moving from the coastal high land into the sea.

Baramgot | Bari Sinawi (a part)


CHAE Soo-jung
Korea’s solo historical dramas of traditional pansori have a long history through which more modern forms have inherited a precious musical heritage. Centering around the five traditional story forms of pansori: simcheongga, heungbuga, jeokbyeokga, sugungga, and chunhyungga, and new works are constantly appearing even today-this genre remains deeply loved by Koreans as an important traditional form of Korea’s music heritage. Along with AHN Sook-sun, CHAE Soo-jung is a pre-eminent singer conveying pansori’s pure artistic values on stage, while reinterpreting this inheritance in a fresh way. For example, a singer/narrator and drummer usually appear alone on the traditional stage, but in a special feature in performances lead by CHAE Soojung, a jester may appear in an unprecedented way, so that such unfamiliarity regarding pansori can bring greater emotional effects, such as more intense interest and tension. Of course such attempts make pansori more clearly understandable, and position CHAE Soo-jung in the place of the most important artist of our time. 

Furthermore, CHAE Soo-jung assembles a diverse range of specialized musicians in the performance group, such as players of the daegum, haegum, ajeng and percussion, in aiming to actively popularize classical Korean music. The greatest virtue of this performance group is that traditional forms are maintained while new experiments are tried out so that the general public can find the music more accessible. Under these circumstances, the solo performances of the historical dramas are no longer considered to be long or boring, and no special information needs to be prepared before the performance, for everyone may be satisfied with CHAE Soo-jung’s pansori performance group, which is full of interests, artistic expression, and human emotions. This is a group that holds us spellbound simultaneously in the charms of Korea’s traditional and world music.

CHAE Soo-jung | Dontaryeong' in Pansori, Heungboga

KANG Eun-il HaegumPlus
KANG Eun-il Haegum Plus performs several genres of music with Haegum and other Oriental and Western instruments. The music promotes communication beyond time and space. It is also a retrospective of Korean traditional music's past, creating the present towards the future. His Korean New Music group attempts to reach a balance between Korean traditional music and modern age. Kang Eunil HaegumPlus, Yoshida Brothers of Japan and 12 Ladies Music Chambers of China are the most distinguished groups representing Asia with their own indigenous instruments. Kang Eunil HaegumPlus uses Korean traditional music as their text and expresses pure crossover music spanning from Asia to the West. Kang’s music displays the Haegum's potential and place in the global context. The Haegum originally has a slow and rough tone. However, Kang Eunil translates the tradition into a new music full of beautiful melodies and great temperance. Her music approaches us as a lyric poem. Her bowing is so strong and gracious that it will make her fans happy with renewed appreciation of Korean music's potential and give foreigners, who are unfamiliar with Korean music, an opportunity to share in a universal musical experience.

Haegum:KANG Eunil
Gayageum:SUNG Bona
Piri, Taepyungso, Saenghwang:KIM Ji-hyun
Piano, Synthesizer:CHAE Ji-hye
Accustic Guitar:LEE Jung-youp
Contra Bass, Electric Bass Guitar:GO Geom-jae
Percussion:CHOI Min-soo
Drum:OH Heung-sun
Vocal:HAN Yoon-ji

KANG Eun-il HaegumPlus | A wet haegum with rain


In the Korean world music scene, all of the active performing arts groups have been putting constant efforts to preserve and develop the traditional musical heritage which had been passed down to them from the past. Formed in 2007, Be-Being is one of groups of this kind, which borrows forms and materials from traditional Korean music, but gathers together more experimental musicians than other Korean music performance groups. Their works are about the formation of sounds,of course, yet their music reveals and embodies a visual imagination. While Korean traditional musicians associate all things with the forms in nature, Be-Being takes a further step by combining visual images of Korean traditional music with dance and video on stage. As a result, space and time are transcended in their work, elevating Korean musical and cultural heritage into a universal concept. In order to realize their productions, the seven members of Be-Being previously had worked actively in various fields. Members of Be-beings have written and performed not only traditional music, but popular music, modern dance and film music as well,and has been receiving recognition over the last ten years for their work. As a result, such diverse experiences and know-how have been infused into their music, the combination of traditional and modern music in an original way, and they realizes this fusion in their own stage works.

Their performances on stage provide a good opportunity to directly ascertain the various elements of formation of Korean culture with our own eyes and ears. Through their music you can encounter Buddhist music and arts that are deeply rooted in traditional Korean culture. This kind of traditional Korean music has not only become extinct in our modern age, but continues to develop and be appreciated in the 21st Century. Be-Being has created a precedence by showing the effectiveness of a traditional heritage transposed into the present, in order to fully understand 21st Century Korean world music it is necessary to experience one of Be-Being’s performances.

Be-Being | Chin-chan


HWANG Byung-ki
When seeing for the first time the twelve stringed Korean traditional instrument gayageum, some may think it is similar to the Japanese koto. Likewise, a person listening to the gayageum’s traditional musical style of sanjo for the first time may associate it with Indian raga. However, gayageum music and the instrument itself, with twelve bowstrings that elegantly conjure up natural sounds, are representation Korean music and instrument. Now, various performance and composition techniques are constantly being shown, and recently, a custom-fitted 25 string gayageum has been produced. But the gayageum will remain among Korea’s traditional instruments as the first one to come into a mind as being deeply symbolic of Korea’s musical traditions. Thanks to the efforts of gayageum master players, this instrument remains cherished even in a modern age. Among these masters, it is Hwang Byungki who has been made the subject of much reverent discussions. As a composer, performer and educator, HWANG Byung-ki is adored both at home and abroad, especially for transforming and innovating the way the gayageum is played.

HWANG Byung-ki has developed unique performance techniques and composition that bestow the instrument with limitless capabilities. Born in Seoul in 1936, he majored in Law, but started performing the gayageum in his early twenties, winning numerous prizes. From the 1960s he started to compose, and has reached the height of his career in the 1970s when he began to receive much acclaim. Still today, it cannot be denied that HWANG Byung-ki continues to be one of traditional Korean music’s greatest exponents. We are able to feel the aesthetic beauty of the gayageum as one of traditional Korean string instruments, when listening to him performing. At the same time we can certainly know more about the traditional style of sanjo to which the gayageum is played. Among his works, whether Silkroad (Bidangil), Chimhyangmu, or Labyrinth (Migung), these three pieces are the best works to listen to at first in order to truly understand the tradition of Korean gayageum performance. HWANG Byung-ki will surely remain as one of the most prominent performers of traditional Korean music in the 21st Century, and certainly a representative musician of Korean world music.

HWANG Byung-ki | Darha Nopigom Part 4 (a part)

HWANG Byung-ki | Darha Nopigom Part 4 (a part)


Tori Ensemble
Tori Ensemble is a world music project ensemble which originally was founded in 2007 by HEO Yoon-jeong(geomun-go) and other Korean traditional artists such as KANG Kwon-soon(jeongga), MIN Young-chi(daegum, janggu) and American free jazz artists Ned Rothenberg(clarinet, saxophone), Satoshi Takeishi(percussion), Erik Friedlander(cello). They perform in Korea and abroad actively as Tori Ensemble, which now consists of 4 Korean Traditional Musicians by scouting LEE Suk-joo(piri), and TORI Project, American free jazz artists in 2010.The word Tori derives from saturi (meaning dialect), a musical term denoting “local style” in Korean traditional music. The group aims to pursue a new sound that can internalize a variety of Tori in traditional music, as well as harmonize with other Toris in world music. . The term also suggests the great diversity of Korean regional music and stylistic tendencies that is found in countryside with a small geographical size. Such diversity is reinterpreted by artists who embrace traditional music as well as jazz, reflecting composed and improvised creations. It especially focuses on improvisation as an important aspect of Korean traditional music and attempts to create a unique language through Asian intuition and musical idiom. The music of Tori Ensemble based on Korean musical traditions, will offer a fresh, new sound to audience. Tori Ensemble will offer an experience that broadens the appreciation of the music audiences worldwide by presenting an “ancient” tradition within a modern setting.

Tori Ensemble was selected at the 2010 PAMS Showcase and was invited to 2010 WOMEX opening concert, and is now planning to perform in the 2011,2012 WOMAD(UK,AUS,NZ) Showcase. Tori World Project had the world premiere of “Five Directions” at Asia Society (2008, New York) and Freer Gallery (2008, Smithonian Museum, Washington D.C). The Washington Post has acclaimed them- "a work that reinvents traditional music with such authenticity, power and originality is astounding" (Washington Post 2008. 11). This was followed by a series of successful performance at Kay Art Hall (2008, New York), The Stone (2008, New York), Merkin Hall (World Music Institute present, 2009, New York), The Roulette (2009, New York), Crossroads Music (2009, Philadelphia), RASA centre for World Cultures(2011, Utrecht in Netherland), BIMHUIS(2011, Amsterdam in Netherland), Sendesaal-Bremen(2011, Bremen in Germany),US Tour (2011,December).

HEO Yoon-jeong (Geomun-go)
KANG Kwon-soon (Vocal)
MIN Young-chi (daeguem, janggu)
LEE Suk-joo (Piri)

Tori Ensemble | Song 2

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Sonagi Project
Sonagi Project is a Korean percussion ensemble that draws upon traditional sources to create new, dynamic Korean music. The group breathes new life into Korea’s traditional drumming as it brings these instruments into the 21st century, and performing tradition-based yet original repertoire for contemporary audiences, both domestically and abroad.Sonagi Project creates music informed by various traditional genres. Building on the traditional forms to give its music contemporary sensibility, Sonagi Project takes liberties in certain techniques and rhythms, and at times embraces sources from outside. Indeed, some of its original works contain African and Brazilian influences. Yet its music preserves the sentiment, emotion, and spirit of Korean tradition.

CHANG Jae-hyo / Vocal, percussion
RYU Seung-pyo / percussion
JUNG Hyun- ah / percussion
GONG Bitna / percussion
YIM Mi-jeong / percussion

Sonagi Project | Rain in Forest


DULSORI is a Korean traditional arts organization established in 1984. Its vision is to produce and develop programs for artistic performance and educational and cultural experience derived from Korean traditional music and arts. DULSORI's dynamic performance has captured the audiences’ hearts and imagination all around the world. "World Beat VINARI" is the a kind of wishing performance motivated by Korean traditional compliment blessing 'Vinari'. The dynamic percussion, passionate instrumental music, and a fervent song make well-wishing music that will bring out the energy of audience's holy dream.

JEON Hyun-sook : Changgu
RYU Su-ji : Geomungo
SHIN Myungook : Daegeum
CHEONG Kyung-ah : Gayageum
SHIM Miryeong : Gayageum
HA Taekhoo : Kwaenggari
Lee Eun-bi : Vocal
HEO Sae-rom : Piri

Dulsori | Heaven, Earth and People


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