Saturday, 11 October 2008

Min-Jung Kym, an Exceptionally Talented Pianist

Philosophers and sociologists interested in music (like Pierre Bourdieu) have questioned how people have access to various musical genres – through radios, music stores, advertising. For instance, Why do certain social classes tend to listen to classical music? Why does choice of music seem to be as predictable for marketing experts as our taste in any consumer goods?
Social scientists and Anthropologist have studied traditional music and questioned social identity through musical expressions. For instance, ethno-musicologists have theorised on original, unusual ways to conceive music, singing and rhythm in some isolated groups and tribes, mainly in Africa and Asia. The fact that many Third World countries cannot export or diffuse their musical culture remains an Ethical issue, particularly when one considers how Anglo-American music has become globalised through both the English-language media and the sophisticated techniques of corporate marketing. The choice of music in films, television dramas or even advertising and spots confirms the commodification of music. This can explain why European Countries promote cultural diversity in music, movies and on television, refusing to ‘let the market decide by itself’.
From Pythagoras and Aristotle, to Hegel and Nietzsche, music has been studied by philosophers while, in a similar spirit, some composers have wanted to include philosophical reflection in their works. In his essay ‘The Work of Art at the age of the Mechanical Reproduction’ (1936), Walter Benjamin argued that the way art is perceived has changed now that technology has made its near perfect reproduction both possible and often more convenient. Just as art galleries are no longer the sole place to see art, concert halls are no longer the only places that one can listen to music in. As Theodor Adorno have explained, mass culture does not emerge from the masses; it is rather conceived for massive audiences, produced and distributed as any industrial process. Cultural studies today question distinctions between ‘high art’ and ‘low art’ in terms of music, and focus on how elements of a specific popular culture can be appropriated by audiences and individuals for building their own identity.
The advent of the Internet has transformed the experience of music, partly through the increased ease of access to music and the increased choice. Chris Anderson, in his book The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More, suggests that while the economic model of supply and demand describes scarcity, the Internet retail model is based on abundance. Digital storage costs are low, so a company can afford to make its whole inventory available online, giving customers as much choice as possible. It has thus become economically viable to offer products that very few people are interested in. Consumers’ growing awareness of their increased choice results in a closer association between listening tastes and social identity, and the creation of thousands of niche markets.
Korean-born British pianist, Min-Jung Kym, is one of a number of young artists trying to establish herself in what is a difficult marketplace. Uggiero Ricci praised her:
“Min-Jung is an exceptionally talented pianist, with a wonderfully controlled and even technique, combined with a highly sensitive approach to the music.”
Min-Jung Kym has a widely recognised reputation for her diverse range of styles and repertoire as a soloist, duo and chamber musician. A scholar at the Purcell School, she made her London solo concert debut at the age of 12 with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall. Her numerous prizes and awards include the British Young Pianist of the Year, Ettlingen International, and the YMFE competitions. As a scholar at the Royal Academy of Music, she studied with Christopher Elton and graduated with the Eric Brough and Elsie Horne prizes in recognition of her outstanding concerto and recital performances in her final year.
Min-Jung’s versatile interpretations have been enjoyed in the USA, across Europe and throughout Britain at venues including the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, Purcell Room, St. John’s Smith Square, St Martin-in-the-Fields, and De Montfort Hall. She has also appeared by invitation at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, the Cheltenham Festival and the Broadwood International Piano Festival. She is the pianist of choice for the masterclasses for the legendary violinist Ruggiero Ricci. She has enjoyed successful collaborations including those with the renowned Haffner Ensemble with whom she gave a highly acclaimed Wigmore recital. She is a key member of Molto Musica, a leading ensemble of principals drawn from the major London orchestras, delighting audiences by the range and variety of her performances, in association with one of the very best chamber ensembles of today. A Steinway Artist, engagements for the forthcoming season include concerto performances with the world renowned Philharmonia Orchestra.

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