Sejong Prize: Winning Compositions and Music by Shulamit Ran

Saturday, October 5th at 8pm
Free admission

Fulton Recital Hall
University of Chicago
5845 South Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL

Soliloquy for violin, cello and piano (1997) - Shulamit Ran
Piano Trio - Jennifer Higdon
     II. Fiery Red
Ein Klarer Klang for piano trio - Yongbin Park
Song of the Night for piano trio - David Hier
Birds for piano trio - Heeyoung Yang

performed by the Lincoln Trio

The Sejong Cultural Society is pleased to present the winning pieces of the 2012 Sejong Prize for music composition and works by Pulitzer Prize-winning composers Shulamit Ran and Jennifer Higdon, performed by the internationally renowned Lincoln Trio.

All composers will be in attendance, and a discussion session with composers and musicians will be held at 8pm berfore the performance starts. A wine and cheese reception will also be held after the concert.

For more information, please call 312.497.3007 or email us at

More information about the Sejong Prize can be found on our composition site.

Piece Information

Ein Klarer Klang – Yongbin Park
based on Chung-sung-gok

Korean traditional wind instruments, dae-gum and dan-so, produce tones that are in wider spectrum than their western counterparts, which is known as “heterophonie”. While playing Chung-sung-gok, dae-gum and dan-so produce subtle or residual sound colors (잔향), simple sound colors (단조로운 음향), and thick tonal colors (두꺼운 음향). I tried to express these different tonal qualities with piano trio by using each instrument—piano, violin, and cello.

“Chung-sung” literally means “clear sound” or “clear sound of high notes”. There are high notes in Chung-sung-gok produced by dae-gum or dan-so that is similar to the high notes produced by a shorter Korean wind instrument called pul-piri. I studied the range of tonal quality that can be produced by each instrument of piano trio, then reproduced the high notes and “clear sound” of Chung-sung-gok while continuing to express the traditional Korean tonality and effect. Additionally, I added chords to the theme that are not present in solo wind instruments.

In Chung-sung-gok we hear motifs played repeatedly using a variety of tonal quality and ornamentation. I tried to use a similar format, repeating motifs with slight variation, in order to recreate this ambience.

Song of the Night – David Hier
based on Chung-sung-gok

The chung-song-gok, with its nimble melodic lines, its pleasing contrasts, its evocative sounds and its flowery ornamentation, represents, to me, that exuberant yet profoundly meditative quality that so pervades every aspect of Korean society, culture and even daily life. In adapting these qualities to a more contemporary sound-world, that is, one with a slightly more extended harmonic vocabulary and a new conception of form, I have attempted to prove that the dazzling beauties of traditional Korean music are not out of place in the modern world, in fact, far from it. The ornamented, free-flowing and refreshingly irregular melody of the chung-song-gok has shaped every line of my piece, and the interval of the fourth nearly every harmony. In addition to the use of exact melodic elements of the chung-song-gok, its spirit is infused, quite clearly, into every bar.

Birds (2012) – Heeyoung Yang
based on Bird Song

This is a short piece based on Sae-Taryeong (Bird Song) for piano trio.

Five main pitches (A-C-D-E-F) in the original melody and their relationship, pitch class set, pitch center and their characteristic gesture mostly remain in the piece; vibrating note (A), a note without vibrato as pitch center (D), and bending note, appoggiatura (F-E).

The twenty-measure-long melody is divided into five phrases, four measures each, and become the essential ideas of each five sections in the piece.

The opening melody of Sae-Taryeong and its specific gesture of vibrating note (A), non-vibrating note (D), and bending note, appoggiatura (F-E) are emphasized in the first and second section. (mm.1-38 and mm.39-73.)

As the original tune centers bird sound, especially cuckoo with two note figure F-D, in its melody, various melodic and harmonic figurations describing birds sounds are presented in the middle section (mm. 74-101) and sound of cuckoo, F-D or other minor 3rd is also emphasized.

The essential melodic ideas of the fourth section, minor 3rd (A-C) and perfect 4th (A-D) are combined with several passages from the previous sections as a remembrance (mm. 102-138) and this tranquil fourth section opens the animated final section (mm. 139-203) which restates the original tune in an intense and passionate tone.

Performers and Composers

The Lincoln Trio

Formed in 2003, the Lincoln Trio takes its name from their home, the heartland of the United States, the land of Lincoln. The trio has been praised for its polished presentations of well-known chamber works and its ability to forge new paths with contemporary repertoire. The group's reputation as a first-rate ensemble draws an eclectic audience of sophisticated music lovers, young admirers of contemporary programs and students discovering chamber music for the first time.

Champions of new music, the Lincoln Trio has performed numerous compositions written especially for them, including premieres of seven works by members of the Chicago Composers Consortium, Stacy Garrop, Mischa Zupko, Janice Misurell-Mitchell, Ravinia commissioned works for the Lincoln Bicentennial by James Crowley, Eric Sawyer and Lawrence Dillon and an award winning work dedicated to the trio by young ASCAP winner Conrad Tao. 2013 will see the premiere of a Chamber Music America Award commission with composer Laura Elise Schwendinger and a trio by renowned Chicago composer Stacy Garrop.

Their website can be found at

Yongbin Park
Seoul, Korea

Yongbin Park studied music composition at Seoul National University with scholarship. As a full scholarship recipient Park studied composition with Professors Sang-Jick Jun and Uzong Choi from 2005-2009. He completed a special Music Composition training workshop by the Tong-Yeong Internationl Music Festival Academy held in Bangkok, Thailand in 2008. While he was a college student he won first prize from Dong-A competition in 2007 and grand prize from Piano Duo Music Composition in 2008.

His works have been performed at the Korea Piano Duo Association concert (2008) and Ensemble Yurim (2010 & 2011). His commissioned works were performed by Ensemble TIMF “An Evening with Korean Composers”(2010), Special concert by Ensemble TIMF in Athens, Greece, and European tour (2011, special concert commemorating 10th anniversary of Ensemble TIMF).

David Hier
Toronto, Canada

David Hier was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario where he has studied piano and composition. He is currently pursuing degrees in Composition and Theory from McGill university in Montreal where he has studied with John Rea, Jean Lesage, William Caplin and Christoph Neidhofer.

Heeyoung Yang
West Lafayette, IN

Heeyoung Yang holds a M.M. in composition from Yonsei University (Korea) and College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati where she studied with Joel Hoffman. She attended Aspen Music Festival and studied with George Tsontakis. Her music has been performed in Korea, Japan, France, Croatia, Canada as well as in various place in the States. She is also active in Christian choral music, offering various works to churches in Ohio and Indiana area, as well as in Korea and Germany. She is currently working toward her doctoral degree with Joel Hoffman, Mara Helmuth, and Michael Fiday at College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati.

Jennifer Higdon

Jennifer Higdon, born in Brooklyn, New York on New Year’s Eve 1962 and raised in Atlanta and Tennessee, is one of America’s foremost composers. She took her undergraduate training in flute performance at Bowling Green State University, and received her master’s and doctoral degrees in composition from the University of Pennsylvania; she also holds an Artist Diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Higdon joined the composition faculty of Curtis in 1994 after having served as conductor of the University of Pennsylvania Orchestra and Wind Ensemble and Visiting Assistant Professor in music composition at Bard College; she now holds the Milton L. Rock Chair in Composition Studies at Curtis. Higdon has received grants, awards and commissions from leading organizations and ensembles across the country, as well as a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for her Percussion Concerto, and the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her Violin Concerto, composed for Hilary Hahn.

Shulamit Ran

Shulamit Ran, a native of Israel, began setting Hebrew poetry to music at the age of seven. By nine she was studying composition and piano with some of Israel’s most noted musicians, including composers Alexander Boskovich and Paul Ben-Haim, and within a few years she was having her works performed by professional musicians and orchestras. As the recipient of scholarships from both the Mannes College of Music in New York and the America Israel Cultural Foundation, Ran continued her composition studies in the United States with Norman Dello-Joio. In 1973 she joined the faculty of University of Chicago, where she is now the Andrew MacLeish Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Music. She lists her late colleague and friend Ralph Shapey, with whom she also studied in 1977, as an important mentor.

In addition to receiving the Pulitzer Prize in 1991, Ran has been awarded most major honors given to composers in the U.S., including two fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, grants and commissions from the Koussevitzky Foundation at the Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fromm Music Foundation, Chamber Music America, the American Academy and Institute for Arts and Letters, first prize in the Kennedy Center-Friedheim Awards competition for orchestral music, and many more.

Her music has been played by leading performing organizations including the Chicago Symphony under both Daniel Barenboim and Pierre Boulez, the Cleveland Orchestra under Christoph Von Dohnanyi in two U.S. tours, the Philadelphia Orchestra under Gary Bertini, the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta and Gustavo Dudamel, the New York Philharmonic, the American Composers Orchestra, The Orchestra of St. Luke’s under Yehudi Menuhin, the Baltimore Symphony, the National Symphony (in Washington D.C.), Contempo (the Contemporary Chamber Players) at the University of Chicago under both Ralph Shapey and Cliff Colnot, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Jerusalem Orchestra, the vocal ensemble Chanticleer, and various others. Chamber and solo works are regularly performed by leading ensembles in the U.S. and elsewhere, and recent vocal and choral ensemble works have been receiving performances internationally.

Between 1990 and 1997 she was Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, having been appointed for that position by Maestro Daniel Barenboim as part of the Meet-The-Composer Orchestra Residencies Program. Between 1994 and 1997 she was also the fifth Brena and Lee Freeman Sr. Composer-in-Residence with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where her residency culminated in the performance of her first opera, “Between Two Worlds (The Dybbuk)." She was the Paul Fromm Composer in Residence at the American Academy in Rome, September-December 2011.

Ran served as Music Director of “Tempus Fugit," the International Biennial for Contemporary Music in Israel in 1996, 1998 and 2000. Since 2002 she is Artistic Director of Contempo (Contemporary Chamber Players of the University of Chicago). In 2010 she was the Howard Hanson Visiting Professor of Composition at Eastman School of Music. Shulamit Ran is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, where she was Vice President for Music for a 3-year term, and of the American Academy of Arts and Science. The recipient of five honorary doctorates, her works are published by Theodore Presser Company and by the Israeli Music Institute and recorded on more than a dozen different labels.