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East Meets West: Korea America


Soojin Lee, gayageum

Dr. Soojin Lee is a professional performer on the gayageum (a traditional Korean string instrument) and teaches gayageum, Korean drumming, piano, and general music. She began teaching at MacPhail in 2017 and MacPhail Austin in 2020, and holds over 20 years of teaching experience from individual instruction to large groups. Her wide variety of experience includes teaching as a high school general music teacher in Korea, a private instructor of gayageum and piano, and a school residency of Korean music and drumming in U.S. schools.

SooJin has been working with students of all ages from diverse backgrounds. She likes to help and watch her students enjoy and appreciate music. As an educator, Soojin enjoys discovering new ways to teach while respecting each individual student’s uniqueness.


Before coming to the United States, she worked for the National Korean traditional music high school as a gayageum and general music teacher. SooJin has her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Korean music (specialized in gayageum performance) from Seoul National University, South Korea and a Masters degree in Social Sciences (specialized in Ethnomusicology) from the University of California, Irvine. She received her PhD in music education (research interests are multicultural music education and pedagogy for teaching indigenous music in formal education system) at the University of Minnesota.

Mikyoung Park, voice

Dr. Mikyoung Park began teaching voice and piano at MacPhail in 2014. She has over 35 years’ experience teaching in the United States and Korea. She believes education is a lifelong process, that all students have individual talent, and that the role of the teacher is not just to impart knowledge, but to serve as a mentor.

Dr. Park holds her Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music degrees from Seoul National University. Additionally, she completed 3 years of Opera Studying at the Opera Institute of Seoul National University. She received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree and Voice Pedagogy Certification at the University of Minnesota, and completed the Mastered Sacred Music program in choral conducting at Luther Seminary. Recently, Dr. Park has completed the Vocal Teacher Training and Certification Program from New York Vocal Coaching, which has undoubtably enhanced her pop specialty.

She served as a trainer and leader of musicians for Global Mission Events offered by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America for ten years, along with being a long-time church musician. Dr. Park has also been an associated member of the National Association of Teachers Singing (NATS).

As an Opera performer, her operatic repertoire includes: Albert Herring, Ariadne auf Naxos, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, La Traviata, Lucia di Lammermoor, Cavalleria Rusticana, Un Ballo in Maschera, La Boheme, Rigoletto, The Magic Flute, and Don Giovanni.

April Ryun Kim, piano

A native of Minnesota, Dr. April Ryun Kim is currently Assistant Professor of Music at St. Olaf College. She has given numerous performances as a soloist, collaborative pianist, and chamber musician, showcasing a broad range of repertoire. She has been featured as a soloist with the St. Olaf Orchestra as senior soloist and has won winning prizes from competitions including Thursday Musical and Schubert Club. As a collaborative pianist, she has performed with artists including Micah Wilkinson, principal trumpet of the Pittsburgh Symphony, percussionist Eri Isomura, and pianist William Chapman Nyaho. As a passionate advocate for new music, Dr. Kim regularly performs works by living composers. 

Dr. Kim holds a DMA in Piano Performance from the University of Missouri - Kansas City, an MM in Solo and Collaborative Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and a BM in Piano Performance with a Collaborative Emphasis from St. Olaf College.

Ashley Ng, violin

Serving as the Associate Principal Second Violinist with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and Concertmaster of the Minnetonka Symphony Orchestra, Ashley enjoys performing in orchestral and chamber music ensembles throughout the Midwest. Ashley shares a passion for performing new music with her 10th Wave colleagues and especially enjoys the collaborative process of working with other local artists.


In addition to performing, Ashley is proud to be a faculty member of the MacPhail Center for Music where she began her musical studies at age 8. Ashley is involved both as a private teacher and group class instructor, and most recently took on the role of assistant conductor of the New Horizons Orchestra in 2022. Ashley attended The Boston Conservatory, Boston University, and graduated with her Doctorate in Musical Arts from the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities. Her teachers include Young Nam Kim, Lucia Lin, Lynn Chang, and Cheryl Stewart.

Weily Grina-Shay, clarinet

Weily Grina-Shay ("Way-lee", she/her) is a clarinetist passionate about chamber music, education, and making music accessible to communities of all backgrounds. In addition to regularly performing with 10th Wave, Weily is a dedicated educator as well where she teaches clarinet at Bethel University, University of Northwestern, and Wayzata High School. 

Weily received her Master of Music degree at the Peabody Institute of Music studying under Anthony McGill in May 2016 where she was awarded the Martha and William Bill Memorial Prize in Clarinet. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music studying under Ixi Chen in December 2013. 

Eun Cho, flute

Eun Cho has performed throughout the United States and South Korea. Recent projects have included lecture-recitals in Los Angeles and New York. She has been teaching music lessons since 2000 as a piano and flute instructor. And she is a member of the Contemporary Ensemble and Choir at St. Olaf Catholic Church. In 2011-2014 Cho was a member of the Minnesota Opera Orchestra. She has also taught students at GTCYS (Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies) as a mentor and worked as an Orchestral Teaching Assistant at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

She majored in flute performance and minored in piano performance and music education with a Bachelor's Degree from Kyunghee University in South Korea. She received her Master’s Degree in performance from Seoul National University and Artist Diploma from Korea National University of Arts. Currently, she is completing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Minnesota.

Ruth Marshall, cello

Cellist Ruth Marshall enjoys a varied career split evenly between teaching and performing. She is the cellist of Artu Duo, a collaborative ensemble with pianist Garret Ross, which has performed extensively across the United States, including a debut at Carnegie Hall in 2016. Ruth is also active as a soloist, and has played concertos with the Wartburg Community Symphony, Winona Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble Society of New York City, and the Kokomo Symphony Orchestra. From 2012 to 2016, she performed extensively as an orchestral player, simultaneously playing as principal cello of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, as an associate member of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra in Ohio, and as a permanent sub in the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. From 2015-2022, she was the cellist of the Mill City String Quartet, during which time she performed for thousands of students through multiple residencies with Minnesota Public Radio. Ruth is equally committed to, and delighted by, her work as a cello instructor, working with students of all ages and levels at her home studio, and teaching cello students at Winona State University and Hamline University. She holds graduate degrees in cello performance from DePaul University in Chicago, and undergraduate degrees in Comparative History of Ideas and Music Theory & History from the University of Washington in Seattle.

Angela Maria Lara Cabrera, percussion

Angela Lara is a Colombian percussionist, recognized by her versatility and musicianship among classical and latin percussion. Graduated from the National Conservatory of Colombia, she has performed in the most emblematic theaters in Europe acting as principal percussionist of the Young Philharmonic of Colombia. She was double winner at the Young Soloists Concerts Series in Colombia, invited soloist of the Texas Christian University Symphony Orchestra and winner of the Musicians Club of Women competition held in Chicago. Currently, she is pursuing a Master Degree in Percussion Performance at the University of Minnesota and working on new percussion repertoire based on Colombian traditions.



Jung Eunsun

Eunsun Jung [Un-son Jong] is an award-winning gayageum player. ​ Born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, Jung started playing Gayageum at the age of ten. She has performed across countries including France, Belgium, Germany, the U.K., Japan, and the United States. In the U.S., she has performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Symphony Space in New York City, to name a few. Jung graduated from Gugak National Middle and High School and earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Seoul National University. ​

Kim Jukpa

Since the age of seven, Kim Juk-pa learned the traditional melodies from her grandfather. But due to the male-dominated social atmosphere back then, when women were not welcomed to be active in society, her parents were unhappy about her daughter learning the gayageum.

So, as soon as Kim’s grandfather passed away, her grandmother sent her to another family as a foster daughter so that she could continue to take lessons on traditional music. That’s how Kim learned sanjo and became the follower of master musician Han Seong-gi who was the brilliant disciple of her grandfather.

At the age of 14, she entered the performing troupe called “Hyeopryulsa” and began to stage performances such as gayageum-sanjo, gayageum-byeongchang, or japga. Afterwards, she came to Seoul to make a name for herself as the most renowned traditional music performer of the time.

Soomin Kim

Composer Soomin Kim loves to explore intimacy and familiarity through her music. Soomin received the three Morton Gould Young Composer Awards from the ASCAP Foundation in 2019, 2020, and 2022 respectively with her works conjunctions, THE EIGHTH SONG, and star / ghost / mouth / sea. In 2018, she was selected to write for the Cleveland Chamber Symphony as part of their Young & Emerging Composers Project. She was also the composer-in-residence with the Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra during their 2017-18 concert season, for whom she wrote a piece titled The Blue Marble. Her work has been featured at the 2022 Aspen Music Festival, 2019 Bowdoin International Music Festival, the 2018 Norfolk New Music Workshop, and the 2018 soundSCAPE Festival, among many. Her music has been performed by renowned artists such as percussionist Ji Su Jung, guitarist JIJI, and violinist Ariana Kim.

Soomin is also a graphic designer. From 2019 to 2022, she worked as an assistant graphic designer for the Communications Office at the Yale School of Music. In the summer of 2020, she was an intern for Design Brigade, an initiative by the Yale Center for Collaborative Arts and Media and Atelier Cho Thompson to connects design students to new spatial problems that have emerged in the era of COVID-19.

Soomin holds a bachelor of music degree in composition from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Stephen Hartke, Jesse Jones, and Elizabeth Ogonek. She holds a master of music and a master of musical arts degrees in composition at Yale School of Music, where she studied with Martin Bresnick, Aaron Jay Kernis, David Lang, Chris Theofanidis, and Han Lash.

Nicky Sohn

From ballet to opera to Korean traditional orchestra, the wide-ranging talent of composer Nicky Sohn is sought after across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Characterized by her jazz-inspired, rhythmically driven themes, Sohn’s work has received praise from the international press for being “dynamic and full of vitality” (The Korea Defense Daily), having “colorful orchestration” (NewsBrite), and for its “elegant wonder” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), among many others. As a result, Sohn has enjoyed commissions and performances from the world’s preeminent performing arts institutions, including Stuttgart Ballet, National Orchestra of Korea, Minnesota Orchestra, Sarasota Orchestra, Aspen Philharmonic, and New York City Ballet.

After making a name for herself as a distinguished member of the New York Youth Symphony’s composition program, Sohn’s musical voice has been sought after for residency by the world’s preeminent music festivals, consorts, and ensembles. Festival appearances include the Aspen Music Festival and School, Les Ecoles d’Art Américaines de Fontainebleau, Ars Nova with Unsuk Chin and the Seoul Philharmonic, and the Summer Festival of the Moscow Conservatory of Music, among others. Residencies have included the Avalon Music Consort in Sweden, Washington Square Winds in New York City, and Project: 音 Sound 음 in Korea.

Nicky Sohn is currently pursuing a fully-funded doctoral degree at The Shepherd School of Music of Rice University and holds a Master of Music Diploma from The Juilliard School. Her early years are marked by a voracious eagerness to learn: Already a student of piano at the age of two, she began seriously studying composition at the age of seven. At fourteen, Sohn completed her high school diploma and would go on to receive both a Bachelor of Music degree and a Diploma of Piano Performance from the Mannes College of Music. She is grateful to her pedagogues, which include Robert Beaser, Anthony Brandt, Chris Theofanidis, and Richard Danielpour.

Prgrm Notes


Miryang & Seoul Arirang by Jung Eunsun (b. 1985)                 

Miryang Arirang is a common folk song originating from the Eastern region of Korea. This folk song is based on a legend that follows “Arang”, the only daughter of a governor in Milyang, a port city in the Eastern region of Korea. Arang’s intelligence, beauty, and kindness was spoken of in remote parts of the country, drawing many admirers. One night, Arang was watching a beautiful full moon when a young man appeared, confessing his love for her. When Arang tried to flee, the young man killed her and secretly buried her body in a forest. Years later, Arang’s spirit appeared to the next governor of Milyang, pleading for justice for her unfortunate death. The next day, the young man was arrested. To commemorate Arang, local women started singing this folk song. 

Miryang & Seoul Arirang*

Look at me! Look at me! Won’t you look at me!

Won’t you look at me as a rare winter flower

Look at me! Look at me! Won’t you look at me!

Won’t you look at me as a rare winter flower


Ari Arirang Ari Arirang Arariyo Ah Ah

Ari Arirang Ari Arirang Arariyo Ah Ah


My lover is here but I can’t get myself to greet him

Biting on my apron and barely making a sound

Ah Ari Arariyo Arirang Ah Ah


Arirang Arirang Arariyo

Hiking over the Arirang Pass

My dear lover, how dare you leave me behind.

May your feet be cursed and break before you make three miles.


Arirang Arirang Arariyo

Hiking over the Arirang Pass

Ah Ah Ah Ah


[Translation: Jinsoo Kim]

Sanjo by Kim Jukpa


“Sanjo” is a style of traditional Korean folk music, involving an instrumental solo accompanied by drumming on the janggu, an hourglass-shaped drum. The art of sanjo is a real crystallization of traditional Korean melodies and rhythms which have been handed down by rote generation after generation. Sanjo was said to be developed around 1890 by Kim Chang-jo (1865–1920) for the gayageum. It was thereafter expanded to other traditional Korean instruments. 


Usually, sanjo starts with a slow rhythm (Jinyangjo) and becomes faster. The audience can gradually sink into the melody of the music. This piece showcases a style of sanjo from the teachings of Sung Kum-Ryun accompanied by the percussion instrument, tambora dominicana.


A Ballad of the Birds by Cho Dunam (1912-1984)


Originally a traditional folk song originating from the southern region of Korea, “A Ballad of the Birds” is crafted in the style of a Western art song, infused with traditional Korean rhythms. Within this folk song, various bird sounds are depicted, each carrying symbolic meanings. For instance, the mention of mandarin ducks (만다린 오리) signifies a profound symbol of enduring love. Wooden mandarin ducks are commonly placed on ceremonial tables during traditional wedding ceremonies.

A Ballad of the Birds

Birds, birds are flying in. Lots of birds are flying in.

Big birds sit on the sunny court. [Chinese phoenixes] sit on a paulowria tree.

Wild geese are in lovesickness. Scops owls miss the mother’s nest. 

[Mandarin ducks] are always together. Sea gulls wave a farewell to the sail boat. 


E Ru Hu A! Beautiful! Beautiful! Spring is here. Spring is here. 

Uh Ru Hu A! Beautiful! Beautiful! Spring is here. Spring is here. 

Ya a! --- News of spring spreads over the mountains and rivers of our land.

Over the mountains and rivers, birds flap and flap. 

Over the blue waves, birds flap and flap.


Birds, birds are singing. Which ones are sings? 

Skylarks Bi Bi Bae Bae  Eared Owls Bu Uhng Bu Uhng

Doves Gu Gul Gu Gul  Woodpeckers Ddak Dda Reu Reu

Cuckoos Bbu Kkuk Bbu Kkuk  Warblers Kkoe Kkol Kkoe Kkol


E Ru Hu A! Beautiful! Beautiful! Spring is here. Spring is here. 

Uh Ru Hu A! Beautiful! Beautiful! Spring is here. Spring is here. 

Ya a! --- News of spring spreads over the mountains and rivers of our land.

From the woods Ding Dong Daeng Dong  

From the field Ding Dong Daeng Dong


[Translation: Dr. Byong Moon Kim]


Under the Sunshine (2006) by Park Kyunghun (b. 1981)


Under the Sunshine, a piece for the gayageum and the piano, was composed by Park Kyunghun in 2006. The combination of the 25-string gayageum and the piano creates a rich and harmonious sound, complemented by the addition of percussion for an extra layer of liveliness. This piece captures the essence of sunshine with its bright and warm melodies. 

In Cutting a Mountain Willow Twig by Ji Aim (b. 1980)


This piece was composed by Aim Ji, a female Korean composer who was commissioned to create a work blending Western musical styles with an old poem by Hong Rang (홍랑). In this poem, Hong Rang expresses her longing for love through the imagery of a willow twig. Hong Rang lived some 400 years ago when Confucianism dominated society; the prevailing social norms dictated separation between sexes and classes. This poet nevertheless expressed intrinsic human nature: to love and to be loved. 

In Cutting a Mountain Willow Twig

To you, my love

I send a mountain willow twig

Chosen among many twigs

Tenderly plant it

Outside the window of your bed room. 

If you see a new leaf after rain in the night

Appreciate it

As it would be me.  


[Translation and notes: Dr. Byong Moon Kim]


Four Love Songs (2019) by Soomin Kim (b. 1994)

“Four Love Songs explores the theme of love, which I find inseparable from music of all kinds. The text comes from Emily Dickinson’s poems, in which love is something urgent, personal and spontaneous.” - Soomin Kim


I. Love—is anterior to Life

Love—is anterior to Life

Posterior—to Death

Initial of Creation, and

The Exponent of Breath.


II. What if I say I shall not wait?

What if I burst the fleshly Gate—

And pass escaped—to thee!


What if I file this Mortal—off—

See where it hurt me—That's enough—

And wade in Liberty!


They cannot take me—any more!

Dungeons can call—and Guns implore

Unmeaning—now—to me—


As laughter—was—an hour ago—

Or Laces—or a Travelling Show—

Or who died—yesterday!

III. That I did always love

That I did always love

I bring thee Proof

That till I loved

I never lived—Enough—


That I shall love always—

I argue thee

That love is life—

And life hath Immortality—


This—dost thou doubt—Sweet—

Then have I

Nothing to show

But Calvary—


IV. Wild Nights—Wild Nights!

Wild nights - Wild nights!

Were I with thee

Wild nights should be

Our luxury!


Futile - the winds -

To a Heart in port -

Done with the Compass -

Done with the Chart!


Rowing in Eden -

Ah - the Sea!

Might I but moor - tonight -

In thee!

Disco Ball (2020) by Nicky Sohn (b. 1992)

Disco Ball draws its inspiration from composer Nicky Sohn’s brother, Justin, who played a significant role in her life. The opening melody was directly borrowed from Justin’s composition, which he had been crafting prior to entering military service in South Korea. Before his service, Nicky and Justin conversed daily, but their communication became sparse once he joined the army. Writing Disco Ball became Nicky's means of maintaining a connection with her brother.


The piece showcases a singular melody that undergoes various transformations through harmony, texture, and dynamics. The rhythmic complexities within Disco Ball are so tricky that maintaining a consistent beat may prove challenging for the listener!

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