ListN Up: Eunmi Ko (May 7, 2021)

ListN Up is a weekly series of artist-curated playlists that offer an intimate sonic portrait of contemporary artists by showcasing the diverse and stylistically varied music that influences their creative practice. 

Praised for original interpretation, kaleidoscopic colors, and undeniably impressive prestidigitation, pianist Eunmi Ko is a sought-after collaborator of composers. Since 2015, she has been the resident artist of McCormick Percussion Group. She is co-founder and director of the new music ensemble Strings and Hammers.

Hi, I am pianist Eunmi Ko. I am home, where I spent most of my time in 2020 with my wonderfully out-of-tune piano. My list reflects my experience as a performer during this pandemic and explores different piano sounds from playing inside of piano and prepared piano. Here, I have included a mix of piano and non-piano music that inspire me these days. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

SPAM! – works by Anthony R. Green, Han Hitchen, Howie Kenty, Benjamin D. Whiting, Tyler Kline, and Emily Koh, performed by Eunmi Ko

SPAM! is a pandemic project that consists of six short pieces for an out-of-tune upright piano, a recorder-keyboard, household objects, and a performer. Each piece has its own individual way of utilizing suggested instruments (including the performer).

I am going mad(libs), Anthony R. Green
Ursus Maritimus, Han Hitchen
positiveIncrease, Howie Kenty
Cave Paintings of Discourse, Benjamin D. Whiting
basil eyes, Tyler Kline
saturation temp, Emily Koh

Piri by Isang Yun, performed by Heinz Holliger

As a pianist, I was always jealous of other instrumentalists for their expressive means, such as vibrating and bending a note.  In this piece, you can hear the life and death of a note.

성주굿Korean Dong-hae’s shamanic music, performed by Sukchul Kim, Yeongtak Kim, Chaeran Jung, Yusun Kim, Yeongup Kim, and Tackgun Oh

A shaman is a mediator between spirits and humans. Gut, a ritual that a shaman performs, took place at ordinary homes in Korea for all occasions of life and death. It is a fascinating form of performing art, which blurs the border between life/death, audience/performer, and spirituality/reality.

*supported by Korean Classical Music Record Museum (국악음반박물관)

Bon II by Seunghee Lee, performed by Sharon Harms, (soprano), Barry Crawford (flute), Benjamin Fingland (clarinet), Miranda Cuckson (violin), Christopher Gross (cello), Molly Morkoski (piano), Pablo Rieppi (percussion) and conducted by James Baker

Could Bon II be labeled as a monodrama? The text created by the composer, this three-movement ensemble work is absolutely poignant. I loved the drama centered around the singer and the expressive gestures, a signature of Seunghee Lee!

Seagull Chorale by Sarah Nicolls

I want to own an Inside-Out piano! This piano is a brilliant and fun innovation by Nicolls. I absolutely love all the sounds she is making here.

Nubatama no by Ryo Nakayama, performed by Jared Redmond

This is a dark piece wonderfully performed here by composer/pianist Jared Redmond. The piece makes you listen to beyond what a pianist hits on the keys.

“VI. Dream Come True” from Death is an Adviser by Baljinder Sekhon, performed by Eunmi Ko and McCormick Percussion Group

Titled after a chapter from the book Journey to Ixtlan, this six-movement piano concerto offers a wide range of sonorities produced by percussionists directly improvising on piano strings with their instruments.


I CARE IF YOU LISTEN is an editorially-independent program of the American Composers Forum, funded with generous donor and institutional support. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and may not represent the views of ICIYL or ACF. 

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