Hwang, Byung-Ki, Korean composer, virtuoso kayagum performer, and pedagogue; b. Seoul, May 31, 1936. He studied traditional Korean music and the kayagum (a 12-stringed Korean zither with movable bridges, dating from the turn of the 7th century) at the National Classical Music Inst. in Seoul (1951–58), his principal teachers being Yong-yun Kim, Yun-dok Kim, and Sang-gon Sim. He received 1st prize at the National Competition of Traditional Music (1954, 1956), a National Music Prize (1965), and the Korean Cinema Music Award (1973). From 1974 he was prof, of Korean traditional music at the Coll. of Music, Ewha Women’s Univ., in Seoul; in 1985-86 he was a visiting scholar at Harvard Univ. Hwang is noted as the first Korean composer to write modern works for the kayagum; he is also a distinguished kayagum player, and has appeared in recital in the U.S., West Germany, France, and Austria. His U.S. debut took place in N.Y.’s Carnegie Hall on April 20, 1986, in a program which included a number of his own compositions. His works are translucent and elegant in their structures, and impressionistic in harmonic and melodic design.
kayagum:The Forest (1963); The Pomegranate House (1965); Kara Town (1967); Chimhyangmu (1974); The Silk Road (1977); Sounds of the Night (1985); Southern Fantasy (1989). other instruments:Pungyo for Piri (Korean oboe; 1972); Mandaeyop-haetan for Korean Orch. (1976); Chasi for Taegum (Korean bamboo flute; 1978); Unbak for Korean Orch. (1979); Harim Castle for Taegum (1982); Soyopsanbang for Komu-ngo (Korean 6-stringed plucked zither with 16 frets; 1989). VOCAL: Beside a Chrysanthemum for Voice, Komungo, and Changgu (Korean hour-glass drum with 2 heads; 1962); Chongsando and Kanggangsullae for Chorus (1974); The Labyrinth for Voice and Kayagum (1975); Nolbujon, narrative song (1976); The Evening Chant for Chorus and Percussion (1983); also dance music; film scores.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire