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* Date : 2015-01-26


[A Life Comprised of Gayageum Songs]
- HWANG Byung-ki, Gayageum Master

HWANG Byung-ki is a master of the gayageum who has shaped the trajectory of contemporary Korean traditional music. He is a virtuoso of both performing and composing for the gayageum and has pushed the genre in new and unique directions. From the young age of 15 to the present day, at nearly 80 years old Hwang Byung-ki continues to tirelessly hone his art.

The gayageum has remained a constant throughout his life while he graduated from law school and tried his hand at being a theater manager, a manager of a chemical factory, as well as working at a publishing company and in film production. For Hwang Byung-ki, playing the gayageum was never a means of making money, but a pursuit he enjoyed with pure sincerity.

By the 1960s Hwang Byung-ki was already a well-respected musician overseas. He received much praise for his first performance in the United States; one reviewer noted that his music was 'an antidote to today's high-speed world.' He preserves the tradition of the music while moving the world with his distinct compositions. In 2013, the first English-language book about a composer of East Asian traditional music was written about Hwang Byung-ki in the United Kingdom. His music is a meeting of tradition with modern, classic with the experimental.

Hwang Byung-ki's life has been shaped by and revolves around the gayageum. This week on Heart to Heart, the 1000-year-old songs of the gayageum is heard through one man's 60-year career. We meet with the living gayageum legend himself, Hwang Byung-ki.

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