Conference Report: "Keeping Music Alive: Women Composers in Digital Music Archives"

Hyun Kyung Chae

Friday, December 15, 2017

The following has reached us from Park Jeong Suk (Ewha Womans University):

As the South Korea branch of IAML and RISM, the EMRI (Ewha Music Research Institute) organized an international conference entitled “Keeping Music Alive: Women Composers in Digital Music Archives” on October 27 and 28, 2017.

The EMRI has collected and digitally archived East Asian music educational materials and musicians/composers since 2011 as a part of research projects funded by NRF (National Research Foundation) of Korea. During the last three years of the project, the data has been categorized into historical periods, genres, and composers from each country, and can be found in our new database, EMDB II (East-Asian Music Database). In the process, it was found that women’s roles as teachers and composers in the early period of modernization process were much greater in forming our current contemporary music-scape than first thought.

The conference, “Keeping Music Alive: Women Composers in Digital Music Archives” was held first, to allow various voices from different perspectives to share their experiences and be heard without resulting in a single unified voice of monologism. Second, it was to generate a continuous dialogue on women musicians today in order to form strong solidarity among women researchers in various fields and to create multiple voices/polyphony for women.

The attendees of the conference were women scholars and composers from the U.S., Germany, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea. The conference consisted of four sessions, and after the first session, a concert called “Voices of Women Composers of is East Asia” with works by women composers took place. The conference program was as follows:

Session 1: Rethinking Women Composers in East Asia & EMDBII (Chair: Kyeung-Ja Lee Ewha Music Research Institute)

  • East-Asian Music Database Ⅱ: Why Do We Document and Study Women Composers (Hyun Kyung Chae, Director of Ewha Music Research Institute)

  • New Perspectives on Contemporary Korean Women Composers (Eun-Ha Kim · In Geyong Hong · Yura Suh, Ewha Womans University)

  • Teacher or Composer?: Examining the First Generation of Women Composers in China and Taiwan (Seung Im Seo, National Taiwan University / Ching Han HSU Ewha Womans University)

  • The Status of Women Composers in Modern Japan: From the First Composer To Internationally Acclaimed One (Jeongsook Park · Jin Jeongmin, Ewha Womans University)

Concert: Voices of Women Composers in East Asia

  • Xiao Shuxian (萧淑娴, 1905-1991), Yearning for Woodwind Quartet (1941)

  • Tanaka Karen (田中カレン), Techno Etudes for Piano (2000)

  • Chihchun Chi-sun Lee (李志純), GP (知彼知己) for Sanjo Gayageum and Grand Piano (2012)

  • Sabang Cho (조사방), Colour for Two Pianos (2012)

  • Hyo-shin Na (나효신), Song of the Firewood for 25 String Kayageum (2010)

Session 2: Issues and Challenges in Documenting Women Composers (Chair: Hyun Kyung Chae, Ewha Womans University)

  • Not Just Nuns, Nobility, and Musician’s Daughters: From Antiquity to the Rise of Professional Women Composers (Judy Tsou, University of Washington/IAML)

  • Making Women Visible: Experiences with the RISM Database (Jennifer Ward, RISM Central Office)

  • Where are the Japanese Women Composers? Research and Archives (Alison Tokita, Kyoto City University)

Session 3: Music & Gender Studies (Chair: Hyunree Cho, Seoul National University)

  • Between, Betwixt, and Beyond: Finding Younghi Pagh-Paan in Mondschatten (2006) (Hyun Kyung Chae, Ewha Womans University)

  • Imperialism and Instrumentalized Femininity: Focusing on the Korean Popular Music during the Japanese Colonial Era (Eun jin Lee, Ewha Womans University)

Session 4: Let Composers Speak! (Chair: Eun-Ha Kim, Ewha Womans University)

  • Cross Culture Music Encounters (Chihchun Chi-sun Lee, Ewha Womans University)

  • Thoughts on Composing, Composers, and Composers’ Groups (Hyo-shin Na 나효신, San Francisco-Based Composer)

Photos, top to bottom:

1: Eun-Ha Kim, Chichun Chi-sun Lee, Judy Tsou, Hyun Kyung Chae, Jennifer Ward, Hyo-shin Na, Alison Tokita

2: Ewha music building

3: Presentation of Hyun Kyung Chae

4: Presentation of Judy Tsou

5: Presentation of Jennifer Ward

6: Presentation of Chichun Chi-sun Lee

7: Conference poster

Photos courtesy of Park Jeong Suk.

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