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Byungki Hwang

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Byungki Hwang is a leading composer, performer, and scholar of Korean traditional music. Born in Seoul in 1936, he studied and composition at the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts from 1951, continuing to learn traditional music while taking a degree in law at Seoul National University.

He received first prizes in the National Traditional Music Competition in 1954 and 1956, the National Music Prize in 1965, the Korean Cinema Music Award in 1973, and the prestigious Jungang Cultural Grand Prize in 1992. In 1990 he led a group of South Korean musicians at a Music Festival for Reunification in Pyeongyang, North Korea, and was named Performing Artist of the Year by the Korean Critics’ Association.

Since 1974 Byungki Hwang has been Professor of Korean music at Ewha Woman’s University, and he has also served as a visiting lecturer at the University of Washington (1965) and a visiting scholar at Harvard University (1986). He serves on the government’s Cultural Properties Preservation Committee, and in 2000 was appointed to the National Academy of Arts.

Byungki Hwang has toured widely since 1964, performing both traditional pieces and his own compositions in major venues including New York’s Carnegie Hall and Paris’ Musee Guimet.

His best-known works feature the twelve-string plucked , kayagŭm on which he is a renowned performer. Ranging in style from the evocation of traditional genres to avant-garde experimentation, a selection of these pieces is available on a series of 5 albums.

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