CMU Approved

Approved: Park Jiha

By | Published on Thursday 11 January 2018

Park Jiha

South Korean composer Jiha Park is set to release her debut album, ‘Communion’, on 2 Mar. Originally released in her home country in 2016, its international release brings her fusion of traditional Korean and contemporary classical music to a deservedly wider audience.

Created with John Bell on vibraphone, and Kim Oki on bass clarinet and saxophone, the record brings these and a range of other traditional instruments into modern, minimalist structures.

“I play a traditional Korean instrument called piri, which is like an oboe”, she explains. “Piri is a double reed bamboo flute so it can be quite loud. Another traditional instrument I use is a saenghwang. A saenghwang is an instrument made of bamboo which has many pipes. It is similar to a mouth organ. It’s an instrument where the sound is made from inhaling and exhaling the air”.

She continues: “My main instrument is piri. But I choose saenghwang, yanggeum – a hammered dulcimer – percussion or vocal according to the type of music I’m composing. Picking an instrument has to do with the voice in which I choose to talk”.

“Just like human voice” she adds, “every instrument has its own charm. Piri, which has the simplest structure – yet holds so many variations in playing – is for me the most attractive of all. The shape of the instrument is humble but it can express sensitive yet deep energy. I feel most like myself when I play piri”.

Her work certainly conveys intense emotions at times, and the use of instruments not generally heard in contemporary music – or indeed Western music at all – allows for a different type of exploration.

Listen to ‘Sounds From The Moon’ from ‘Communion’ here:

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