The Korean Gayageum, a plucked string instrument, enjoys a large repertoire of 20th-century compositions and a community of performers who play contemporary music on this traditional instrument. Professor Yi Ji-Young, gayageum performer and faculty member at Seoul National University, visited the University of Hawai'i in 2008 to lecture about composing new music for the Gayageum, and invited the UH composers to send her their compositions. This work resulted, and I was fortunate to have it performed by the talented Gayageum performer (and student of Prof. Yi at the time) Ms. Baek Seung-Hee.
As my first of what would later become a series of compositions for Gayageum, this piece emphasizes the breadth of the sound palette available on the instrument. As in many of my pieces, this work shows an interest in transparent musical structures; in this case, each short poem is typeset, on a single page, in a way that exemplifies its unique form.
12-String Sanjo Gayageum