Jin Hi Kim, a Guggenheim composer fellow and innovated komungo virtuoso, co-designed the world’s only electric komungo with custom designed computer programs. She has performed as a soloist in her own compositions at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Freer Gallery of Art, Asia Society, Metropolitan Museum of Art and around the world.
In 2021 GRAMMY.com wrote “A Musical Philosopher And Radiator Of Electricity: Jin Hi Kim.” She received the New England Foundation for the Arts’ Rebecca Blunk Fund Award to create her A Ritual for Covid-19, a community participation performance in honor of the Covid deceased. This performance is in the spirit of healing of the apocalyptic years of 2020-21.
She is known as a pioneer for introducing komungo (geomungo) into the American contemporary music scene and for extensive solo performances on the electric komungo with live interactive computer programs in her large-scale multimedia performance pieces such as Ghost Komungobot, Digital Buddha, and Touching The Moons. The Washington Post wrote, “Her unique vision blends science fiction images, state-of-the-art technology, ancient mythology and timeless music and dance traditions. No other artist is doing work quite like this, and she does it with superb style.”
Kim has received Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts and won the Wolff Ebermann Prize at the International Theater Institute, Germany. She was Fulbright Specialist to Vietnam, and McKnight Visiting Composer with the American Composers Forum. She is a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts, American Composers Orchestra fellowship as well as fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, Italy, Asian Cultural Council, and Freeman Artist-In-Residence at Cornell University. She is Adjunct Professor of Music at Wesleyan University.
For Subtropics 25, Jin Hi Kim plays three sections for electric komungo, Pandemic, Grieving, and Purification from her new work, ‘A Ritual for Covid-19,’ a community participation performance in honor of the Covid deceased. The interdisciplinary work was created with funding by the NEFA’s New Work New England program, and it is being produced in collaboration with a creative team at CultureHub/La MaMa Theater through a virtual performance for live inter-active internet stream between Seoul, Los Angeles and New York. A live performance of the complete ‘A Ritual for Covid-19’ will be premiered at Sosnoff Theater, Fisher Center at Bard College on October 13, 2021.
Why Jin Hi?
Jin Hi is one of the many artists whose work I always wanted to include in Subtropics — a reason why I feel the festival should never stop. She is a fantastic performer on the bare komungo, but also on the electrified version of the instrument she co-designed which she plays since 1989. She is a very accomplished composer of chamber and orchestral music as well. Her music derives from her homeland traditions in what I hear to be a very experimental manner.
—Gustavo Matamoros, artistic director, Subtropics