More about Kyong Mee Choi:
Her study of chemistry, literature, poetry and calligraphy in particular, gave her an immense appreciation for the subtle and refined use of symbols, their visual forms, and the importance of meticulous detail. An “Aha!” moment arrived when she realized that all of her appreciation for what she had learned could be brought together through the creative act of composing sounds. She began looking in Korea for encouragement, but didn’t find it there. Instead, people encouraged her to write about music rather than create it. She felt an artificial ceiling obstructing her path, and followed her own instincts by finding a composition tutor.
After learning some compositional techniques, and completing enough work for a portfolio, she was accepted into the graduate program at Georgia State University where she worked with Robert Thompson. Thompson exposed her to Max/MSP and Csound – these stimulated her interest in computer music and the exactness of control appealed to her scientific background. After completing her Master’s degree in Music, Choi was accepted into the doctoral program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where her teachers have included William Brooks, Guy Garnett, Erik Lund, and Scott Wyatt. Choi states: “What I studied at UIUC enriched my experience in computer music as I developed a diverse aesthetic in the electro-acoustic medium, and most of all, nourished my musicianship as a composer and as an artist.” In addition to her studies there, she found herself painting a lot. She credits painting with strengthening her artistic instincts and also awakening in her the delight of directly forming material. She felt as though the tactile experience of painting freed herself from abstract, formalized structures, while giving her a more flexible, intuitive way of structuring and shaping sound as a malleable substance.
For Choi, the big questions of life are always present. Why do we travel through this cycle of birth, struggle, and death? For her, music is a medium through which she presents her understanding of life. This is the root she must touch which she thinks only comes from being sincere and truthful about the moment. The act of composing comes from a moment of quietness, stillness, and peace when the struggles of life are temporarily suspended.
(From SEAMUS Newsletter 2006, April, Issue 2)
At an early age, Kyong Mee Choi taught herself to play an old pump organ in her parent’s home in Korea. Fascinated by the way she could alter sounds by pulling stops and changing registers, curiosity eventually led her to playing pipe organs, serving as her first introduction to the concept of additive synthesis. While sound always remained a part of her life, Choi also gravitated towards art and science. As an undergraduate, she studied chemistry and science education. Later, she studied Korean literature in a master’s program.