Interview, Gideon Gee-Bum Kim


“(In Canada), I can find good musicians and good contemporary ensembles, and (there are) great opportunities for me to express my music.” -G.K.

In this interview, Gideon Gee-Bum Kim speaks about the development of his musical style, and about a piece that has particular cultural meaning for him, Song of the heavens and firmament. According to Kim, only recently have Korean art music composers shown interest in exploring the combination of Korean and Western elements in their music. It was the influence of the forward-looking ‘Third Generation of Composers’ in the 1980s who spurred this surge of interest in the Korean national tradition. Kim explains: “They began to think, ‘Who am I? What kind of music do I have to express to Korean society?’(...) It was kind of a revelation to Korean composers and especially to Korean students.” Kim describes his own musical style as an accessible one. In terms of his style fitting into this national mold, he explains: “They think my music is not Korean music. (...) I think, not only is my music Korean, it’s also human.”

Song of the heavens and firmament was written in response to the experience of Korean ‘comfort women’ who were taken by Japanese soldiers during World War II. Kim does not want the piece to be interpreted in the isolation of this one series of events, however: “(In my piece), I am not talking about blaming Japanese people or the Japanese government. More deeply, I’m talking about how (our) humanity (...) has to be communicated, reconciled.”

Credits:John S. Gray, Colleen Renihan
Subject:Gideon Gee-Bum Kim
Related People:Gideon Gee-Bum KimGideon Gee-Bum Kim
Created Date2009