Korean musician Yu Kyung-hwa will attend a unique Music Residency organised by Brhaddhvani in Chennai from 7-21 January 2011 and an International Music Conference and Festival organized by the Indiranagar Sangeetha Sabha in Bangalore from 22-26 January 2011. Ms Kyung-hwa’s visit is supported by the Korea Arts Management Service, the Ministry for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Republic of Korea and InKo Centre.

Yu Kyung-hwa was introduced to Korean traditional music at the age of four when she started learning Korean traditional dance. Educated at the National Kugak Highschool, Seoul National University and the School of Korean Traditional Arts at the Korean National University of Arts, Yu Kyung-hwa is today an accomplished, trained professional performer with a repertoire that covers various genres of Korean traditional music. She has challenged various genres of Korean traditional music and is presently a percussionist who is regarded as a leading performer in her field, playing the vital role of bridging cultures through Korean traditional music.

Yu Kyung-hwa opened up a new horizon in modern Korean music through ‘Sangsang’, which is one of the most well-known representative project groups of Korea. She is a leading star in the field of shaman ritual and percussion music that she learned from virtuosos like Kim Yong-bae, Bak Byeong-cheon, Kim Deok-su, Yi Tae-baek, Kim Jeong-hui and Kim Myeongdae. In 1996, she began to study the cheolhyeongeum (iron-stringed zither) under the tutelage of Yim Gyeong-ju. She succeeded in mastering the cheolhyeongeum and the janggu and is today recognized as one of the leading exponents of these traditional instruments.

Ms Yu Kyung-hwa’s relentless and fearless experimentation has led to many awards, some of the most prestigious being, “Today’s Young Artist Award” by the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism in 2002 and the first “Art of the Year Award” by the Korean Culture and Arts Foundation in 2004.

Yu kyung-hwa is currently an active as a member of “Sangsang”, a soloist ensemble and teaches at Seoul National University and the Korean National University of Arts. She is currently engaged in composing new musical pieces for the cheolhyeongeum because there are at present, not sufficient compositions for this 6 instrument. She is also extremely keen to express her own strong feeling for shamanism. A talented musician, with a thorough understanding of and devotion to Korean traditional music, Ms Yu Kyung-hwa is exploring opportunities to expand her musical horizon even while she stays deeply rooted in Korean traditional music. In her attempt to bridge tradition and modernity, she aims to breathe new life into the aesthetics of Korean traditional music. As such, Yu Kyung-hwa is credited as being uniquely positioned as a cultural barometer, guiding the future of Korean music.

The conference will bring together senior scholars as well as younger researchers from across Asia, Europe and USA to discuss:

Main Performances:

  • 1999-2010 : Eight solo concerts

  • 2002: Participated in the Pyeongyang Invitation Concert, Oh, United Korea; Joint Recital with Stephan Micus, a World music artist (at Hoam Art Hall)

  • 2003: Invitation Performance at Seoul International Computer Music Festival

  • 2004: Invitation performance at Sacred Voices an Art Festival sponsored by FAM; Invitation performance at Voice of Asia, a free music festival

  • 1999-2010 : Eight solo concerts

  • 2005: Jeonju International Sori Festival Invitation Performance (Jeonju Moakdang); The Memorial Concert for Isang Yun (Kyungdong Church)

  • 2006: The album titled Sympathy: Yu Kyung-hwa ‘s Cheolhyeongeum, released (C&L Music)

  • 2007: Performance with KBS Traditional Music Orchestra (KBS Hall)

  • 2008: Solo recital invited by Canada U.B.C Music College( U.B.C Music Concert Hall ); Jeonju Culture and Art Centre-The night for a master-Invitation solo performance; “Yu Kyung-hwa Cheolhyeongeum- The song of Gold”; Indonesia Asian Try Jogja Festival Participation Solo and Duo; Invitation Performance invited by Pittsburgh Music College Asian Center

  • 2009: Supported by Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; Guak Fly high (Yu Kyung-hwa’s Cheolhyeongeum ensemble); ‘Yu Kyung-hwa’s I like Gukak concert’ organized by HwaIn company; Listening to Master’s playing Sanjo Series

  • 2010: Gukak Chamber Music festival Young Sori (Sound) Selected from the contest (composer and musician of Cheolhyeongeum); Invitation Performance Yu Kyung-hwa Ensemble invited by Ulsan World Music Festival (Ulsan Culture and Art Center); Invitation Performance Yu Kyung-hwa Ensemble invited by Lowell Folk Festival: USA (Boston); 28th UN International day of Peace Opening Cheolhyeongeum solo (Yeakdang); Invited by RASA Cheolhyeongeum solo Into the Sanjo in Belgium and Netherlands

Academic Career

  • 1986, Graduated from Kugak National High school

  • 1991, Graduated from College of Music, Seoul National Univrsity

  • 2001, Graduated from Graduate School of Korea National University of Arts

  • 2008, Completed Musicology Doctorial Degree course at Hanyang University


  • 2002, Today’s Young Artist Award (from the Ministry of Culture , Sport and Tourism, Republic of Korea)

  • 2004, the 1st Art of the Year Award (from the Korean Culture and Arts Foundation)

Current Activities

  • Master of Sansang ensemble, a project group Lecturer at Seoul National University and at the Korea National University of Arts in Seoul

About Yu Kyung-hwa’s music

Yu kyung-hwa presents the blueprint for the music of the future, using the ironstringed zither, adding the music of the past onto modern instruments. It is instinctive for artists to innovate. Yu seems to have found a way to bring newness and freshness into the cheolhyeongeum, an instrument that has hitherto been estranged.

- Kim Yeong-dong

Yu kyung-hwa pursues newness based on the naturalness of traditional music and makes the audience feel the soul of the music. She is indeed a player of great ability, creating endless miraculous changes. Thereby, she does not cling to one instrument or one music and shows the audience what the 21st century demands.

- Hwang Byeong-gi

Yu kyung-hwa gives impressive performances with various techniques of both eastern and western percussion instruments. Her music is so different in content and style that we can predict a new trend in Korean music.

- The Donga Daily News

Yu kyung-hwa is famous for her ability of infusing various kinds of music with unique tunes and splendid technique. Also, as a member of the soloist ensemble ‘Sangsang‘ she is recognized for seeking freedom of music through impromptu musical works.

- Comment by judges of the 1st “Art of the Year Award” awarded by the Korean Culture and Arts Foundation