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Ji-Yun Lee

Ji-Yun Lee

Ji-Yun Lee (b. 1980) is a Korean-Australian composer originally from Seoul who is now an Australian citizen. She aims to create a cross-cultural fusion of music that draws together Asian aesthetic values with European orientated contemporary music techniques. In her music she seeks to create a oneness that speaks to both Eastern and Western peoples whilst evoking a spiritual dimension. In this sense her music is born of a world music vision.

Ji-Yun undertook performance and composition studies at the interculturally focussed University of Western Sydney, completing her initial studies with a Bachelor of Music with first class honours in 2003. She was placed on the Dean’s Merit Order list in 2003 and was earlier awarded the Lawrie Brooks Award by the University. Her composition teachers have included Diana Blom, Andree Grenwell and Bruce Crossman. Currently she is a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Creative Arts at the University of Western Sydney studying with Bruce Crossman and world music percussionist, Michael Atherton.

Ji-Yun's music expresses a strong Catholic Christian faith integrated with a Korean identity. The Catholicism is evident in her compassionate wish to create a music, which supports migrant people who experience difficulties in living in a different cultural environment. She aims to evoke a cultural nostalgia in her work as a "little present" to speak to migrants as well as introduce Anglo-European people to Asian cultural values. A member of Sydney's Korean Catholic community, Ji-Yun sees Catholicism as a way of maintaining a sense of belonging in a predominantly Western society. This spirituality she views as finding expression via Korean musical and aesthetic values in her composition. In particular, she seeks to musically evoke an intercultural 'oneness' or 'wholeness' that touches on the spiritual. In this sense her composition Drama in Silence embodies both Korean traditional instrumentation and those from western culture. Korean samulnori-like oneness climaxes frame the work at the beginning and end.

A fluent pianist, Ji-Yun has performed her cross-cultural compositions with Sydney ensemble Charisma and maintains a strong interest in feminine intercultural identity in her creative work. She presented a refereed paper on this subject at the 2004 Symposium of the International Musicological Society in Melbourne. She is especially interested in integrating traditional Korean musics with contemporary techniques in her music.

Outside composition, Ji-Yun leads a busy life as the keyboard accompanist for the Korean Catholic Church in Silverwater as well as enjoying the multi-cultural restaurant scene in Sydney's inner west, and is especially fond of the tasty zing of kimchi.

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