Hyo-shin Na (b. 1959) has written for Western instruments, for traditional Korean instruments and has written music that combines Western and Asian (Korean and Japanese) instruments and ways of playing. Her music for traditional Korean instruments is recognized by both composers and performers in Korea (particularly by the younger generation) as being uniquely innovative. Her writing for combinations of Western and Eastern instruments is unusual in its refusal to compromise the integrity of differing sounds and ideas; she prefers to let them interact, coexist and conflict in the music.
Ocean/Shore 2 (2003) is one of a series that are studies on the use of diverse materials and on the coexistence, within a piece of music, of various instruments. As in the meeting and interaction of water and land, these instruments can have fundamentally very different characters (piri and violin, or clarinet and cello), yet shouldn’t lose their basic nature in the interests of harmony, or even beauty.
On first hearing, one might consider All the Noises in the World (2006) to be a piece of traditional Korean music, in which traditionally skilled performers do what they have always done. The musicians produce sounds/noises on something other than their own instrument. Thus, what appears to be a purely Korean piece turns out to be a very complex concept with elements and sensibilities from different cultures.
The inspiration and basic musical materials of Walking, Walking (for solo piano) (2004) have their origin in a song by the Chilean musician Victor Jara, a central figure in that country’s “new song” movement. Walking, Walking explores aspects and qualities of the act of walking, the rhythm and pace of walking and thinking, the balance of working and idling, and the, at times, meandering, light-hearted quality of walking.
Ten Thousand Ugly Ink Blots (for string quartet) (2006) is one of the composer’s most experimental with regard to the method of composition, which she describes as follows: The title and inspiration of Ten Thousand Ugly Ink Blots comes from a series of four paintings made in 1685 by the Chinese painter Shi-tao (1641–1720). In order to “break out of the mold” and to liberate my composer’s “mind’s eye,” I traced concrete elements from Shi-tao’s paintings onto seventeen transparent sheets, and used these sheets in varied overlappings and superimpositions as a direct source for textural and melodic materials.
John Anderson, clarinet; Marieke Keser, violin; Manuel Visser, viola; Nina Hitz, cello; Thomas Schultz, piano; Ives String Quartet; JeongGaAkHoe: Jae-hyun Chun, komungo; Hyang-hee Lee, piri; Hong Yoo, taegeum; Seung-hee Lee, haegeum; Yoo-jin Sung, kayageum; Jae-choon Yang, changgu