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25 May - 08 June 2022

Unsuk Chin

Festival Composer & Artist in Residence

The Korean composer Unsuk Chin (1961–) studied piano and composition with Sukhi Kang in Seoul and from 1985 with György Ligeti in Hamburg. Chin made her breakthrough in 1994 with Akrostichon-Wortspiel (acrostic wordplay) for Soprano and Ensemble. The work, which experiments with language and music, is performed in the 2019 Bergen International Festival by the Arctic Philharmonic Sinfonietta.

The composer explains: ‘My music is a reflection of my dreams. I try to render into music the visions of immense light and of an incredible magnificence of colours that I see in all my dreams, a play of light and colours floating through the room and at the same time forming a fluid sound sculpture. Its beauty is very abstract and remote, but it is for these very qualities that it addresses the emotions and can communicate joy and warmth.’

The Bergen International Festival presents Unsuk Chin in four concerts, ranging from works for solo instrument through chamber music to full orchestra. In all categories her music is virtuoso and full of drama, with conflict and reconciliation and elegant shadows in delicate soundscapes. Chin’s is a consummate artist of timbre, and her scores demand performers who are true virtuosi on their instruments. Not infrequently theatrical requirements are made of the performer to emphasise the dramatic element. The musician is expected to imitate, to create illusions, to be playful, to parody and to surprise.

‘Unsuk Chin has a formidable ear for sonority and for mining the expressive potential of the slightest nuances of pitch and pulse’ – THE GUARDIAN


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