Asian Sound Revolution with Jin Hi Kim & Min Xiao-Fen

Lecture Series

May 7, 2016

7-9:00PM

Assembly Hall

Asian Sound Revolution features internationally acclaimed musicians Jin Hi Kim and Min Xiao-Fen, who each experiment with new approaches towards traditional East Asian instruments and musical genres.  Both artists have won numerous awards for their compositions and have focused their careers on artistic collaboration and education to bridge musical traditions across cultures and time.  Asian Sound Revolution presents both traditional and modern Korean and Chinese music and the blending of genres and cultural tropes that transcend national and regional borders.

Come enjoy an innovative performance that features traditional, fretted string instruments, breathtaking vocals, as well as electric and prepared versions of the pipa and komungo, which provide for a futuristic sound.  The komungo is a six-stringed zither indigenous to Korea that originated in the fourth century.  The pipa — sometimes called the Chinese lute — is a plucked string instrument with a pear-shaped wooden body that has been played for nearly 2,000 years in China. 

Free and open to the public. The performance will be followed by a Q&A session with the audience and a reception. 

This performance is sponsored by the Global Voices Performing Arts Series and the University of Chicago Center for East Asian Studies, and presented as part of The Music of Sound Workshop organized by the University of Chicago Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS) from May 6 to 7, 2016.  The workshop includes a documentary film screening of Us & Them: Korean Indie Rock in a K-Pop World (2014) followed by a Q&A with one of the producers, Timothy Tangherlini (May 6), as well as panels on SOUND and MUSIC (May 7).  The Workshop is a component of the CEAS Media and East Asia Project, supported by a Title VI National Resource Center Grant from the United States Department of Education.  For more information, please visit: The Music of Sound.


Jin Hi Kim is internationally acclaimed innovative komungo (Korean fourth century fretted board zither) virtuoso and a Guggenheim Fellow in Music Composition. Kim co-designed the world’s only electric komungo with interactive MAX/MSP program that represents an evolution of the instrument into the twenty-first century. Kim was featured on PRI’s The World, Voice of America, and BBC-Global Hit in recognition of her works that lead to a new direction incorporating a profound Asian cultural heritage with a balance of Eastern and Western aesthetics.


Min Xiao-Fen is hailed by the Village Voice as an artist who “has taken her ancient Chinese string instrument into the future,” Ms. Min is a master of the pipa, a four-stringed, pear-shaped lute with a 2,000-year history. Known for her virtuosity and fluid style, Min has expanded her instrument’s possibilities as an element for contemporary composition, tacking fluidly between the extended techniques of free improvisation, jazz, full-on noise and contemporary classical vocabulary. More recently, she has begun to present her own wide-ranging explorations.