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Conversations with Jeonghyeon Joo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeonghyeon Joo.

Hi Jeonghyeon, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I am a haegeum (Korean two-stringed instrument) performer, composer, improviser, and researcher who is an ardent advocate for new and experimental music. I was born and raised in Seoul, Korea, and relocated to LA recently.

My career path began as a performer who is classically trained in traditional music, including court, folk, and contemporary Korean music repertoires. However, as a heavy listener of experimental, noise, dance, free jazz, and ambient music and as well as an advocate for conceptual artists, I have been extending my artistic realm by collaborating with composers, performers, visual artists, choreographers, and dancers since 2015. Recently, I have been focusing on performing and creating new music with or without haegeum, frequently having visual elements in a piece.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Getting out of my comfort zone and freeing myself from old habits are challenging but really make me move forward.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I enjoy drawing a narrative through an exploration of a somatic, corporeal relationship between my instrument and body. Also, my compositions frequently borrow a specific musical or sociocultural concept from Korean traditional music. Recently, I have been exploring aesthetics and the world of bowing, questioning what is beyond the body, sound, and movement. I put a microscopic lens to the physicality of the haegeum and the performing body and captured the moment of connection and disconnection between them. This scope will be expanded to the environment, language, and sociocultural context surrounding the instrument and body through my future performance and compositions.

Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc?
Just a few random web resources I’ve been enjoying are Every Noise at Once, UbuWeb, and The Wire.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Photo 1-4: Sang Hoon Ok Photo 5-6: Max Harper Photo 7-8: Hyun-min Lee

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