Interview with YOUNGJAE CHO, Winner in Chamber Music Category in 2020 Enescu Competition
Interviews with the Winners of the 2020 George Enescu International Competition | COMPOSITION Section
Today: The Winner in Chamber Music Category, YOUNGJAE CHO – 30 years old, from South Korea | His work is Shattered Surfaces
As a winner of the 2020 George Enescu Competition in the Composition section, what do you think it takes for audiences to understand better and learn to appreciate contemporary music (modern classical music)?
I think that each person has different perspectives on beauty. I believe that the emergence of various genres, including classic, was caused by the diversification of interests and aesthetic standpoints. One should also consider the fact that something new can feel unfamiliar. The recognition of other’s perspectives, to be curious about the various sounds and the author’s story, listening to music actively will help audiences to understand modern music. I think the most important thing is to feel and think freely.
We all agree that art tells us something about the world in which it was created, as artists cannot create in a vacuum. Why do you think “the music we live in” is important to us (the contemporary music, the one that reflects artistically our present reality, our life)?
All form of art has been developing with the resistance and emancipation from the traditional artistic perspectives. However, the music in the past also has given inspirations that led to building contemporary music. Sometimes, music talks about social issues. I think the music that we are currently consuming is a link between the past and the future. Finally, I think that music interacts directly or indirectly, majority or minority, or beyond the times within our lives in any way, as a medium of communication.
If we regard contemporary art as an opportunity for self-reflection that we otherwise rarely have the time and energy to put in throughout our hectic lives (particularly in a year like 2020 has proven to be so far), what personal insights does your score reflect? What is the story you wanted to share through this winning composition?
In 2020, there were a lot of issues due to social distancing but I was able to have more time to concentrate on the work. I think that overcoming the anxiety of disconnection, the communication after the time of self-reflection has made me improve as a person as well as in my compositions.
There is art in naming any artistic work, a strategy in using symbolism or metaphors. What story is in your score’s title?
Sometimes I look for ideas in contemporary arts, such as colors, microscopically small cut edges and blurred boundaries, rough texture, digital techniques. Another idea derived from this was the difference in texture about the view-distance. The difference of textures concerning the distance in seeing objects is expressed by concealment (noise) and exposure (normal pitch). Scattered noisy materials and textures in various directions and lyrical lines are gradually revealed. In other words, it expresses a complex soundscape that occurs when various sounds are mixed, like a low-resolution image or surface.
How do you relate to the world of international competitions? Does participating in a prestigious competition influence the way you write your music? What impact on your career did you notice after winning an international award?
Participation in international competition required a more focused and detailed process. I had to constantly think about the process of self-objectification and how to tell the story persuasively. As I mentioned earlier, as we enter modern society, the boundaries of the genre became very diversified and blurred so I think it is difficult to express what is right or wrong.
Therefore, I began to think about how to tell the story that I was interested in and wanted to tell concretely. This process was done through several corrections rather than in a short time. This is similar to the process of refining oneself who is not perfect in life. It is a very rare opportunity to get a strict and fair judicial process and receive a positive evaluation from the international Juries and through it, to be able to introduce and to receive support for me. I’m sure that this International Competition will give me confidence and energy in my international activities in the future.
What are the three words that best describe your experience as a participant in this unusual edition of the Enescu Competition this year?
Challenge, Creation, Beauty
As you know, the 2020 Enescu Competition’s tagline is Beauty in Life. When the escalation of the pandemic worldwide threatened the Competition, we moved forward reorganizing it online and adapted swiftly while keeping room in our lives not only for beauty and dreams but also for their realization. We embraced life and beauty because Music must go on. Please take a minute and share with us – What Beauty in Your Life you treasure the most and you’d like to save through the pandemic no matter what?
Value of communication