Written by Este Yarmosh
Willimantic, Conn. - Okon Hwang, professor of music at Eastern Connecticut State University, has published a new book, "Western Art Music in South Korea: Everyday Experience and Cultural Critique." The book discusses the influence of Western art music on contemporary history, music, culture and identity in South Korea, employing perspectives of aspiring and professional musicians from a young girl, to experienced performers in the field, to music teachers. It also examines South Korean scholars' efforts to determine Western art music's place in Korean awareness and culture.
Originally from South Korea, Hwang arrived in the United States to complete her studies at an advanced level and to cultivate her creative and research goals. At the age of five, she began piano lessons, and at age 10, swept her first piano competition. With assistance from the South Korean government and other agencies, Hwang helped found the Association for Korean Music Research in 1995. The Association was the first attempt to create an international center of intellectuals that would endorse, foster and offer comprehensive analyses of the multiple facets of Korean music.
Hwang is the recipient of the first-place Edmunds and Thelma Miller Award for Young Artists and numerous research grants, and also has won the J. Earl Lee Piano Competition. She engages in performances as a soloist and as a chamber musician. Her articles have been featured in "The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians" and "The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music." Hwang received a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Piano and a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology.