From the publisher’s website:
Anyone who knows anything of Korean music probably knows something of Hwang Byungki. As a composer, performer, scholar, and administrator, Hwang has had an exceptional influence on the world of Korean traditional music for over half a century. During that time, Western-style music (both classical and popular) has become the main form of musical expression for most Koreans, while traditional music has taken on a special role as a powerful emblem of national identity. Through analysis of Hwang’s life and works, this book addresses the broader question of traditional music’s place in a rapidly modernizing yet intensely nationalistic society, as well as the issues faced by a composer working in an idiom in which the very concept of the individual composer was not traditionally recognized. It explores how new music for traditional instruments can provide a means of negotiating between a local identity and the modern world order. This is the first book in English about an Asian composer who writes primarily for traditional instruments. Following a thematic rather than a rigidly chronological approach, each chapter focuses on a particular area of interest or activity-such as Hwang’s unique position in the traditional genre kayagŭm sanjo, his enduring interest in Buddhist culture and a meditative aesthetic, and his adoption of extended techniques and approaches from Western avant-garde music-and includes in-depth analysis of selected works, excerpts from which are provided on an accompanying CD. The book draws on 25 years of personal acquaintance and study with Hwang Byungki as well as experience in playing his music.