Best of 2011
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
My New Year’s Day weekend was devoted to resting, ie. not even opening my laptop.. so today seems like a new start of 2012, although it’s already the 3rd of January.
There are a number of things I’d like to do before going on into the new year, but first of all, I’d like to summarise my 2011 into 10 major incidents, so here it goes:
1. PhD completed, the VIVA and the award.
I’ve spent countless hours in January 2011 to finish my PhD at all costs, and with its many imperfections, I managed to finish and hand in my PhD which lead to the VIVA & the award.
In May, Mr. Matthew Scott and Mr. Andrew Toovey, along with my supervisor Prof. Michael Finnissy met up in London to go through the VIVA process and to decide whether I deserve to be awarded a PhD. Well, that is how they officially say it, but basically they had already made up their minds and wanted to ask some questions and point out some corrections for the final version of my writing. The VIVA went smoothly, and I was told my written explanation of my work was very lucid. I was happy but also couldn’t resist from asking to myself..”is this it? What I’ve worked on for 4 long years is over now???” Anyway, I’m glad to see the back of my days as a student..a good 10 years of it if you count from the undergraduate years!
2. My Birthday Party
I know counting this as a major incident is pushing it a bit, but I feel like every birthday celebration I planned since my childhood was somewhat different, and gradually got bigger and bigger to the point that my 2011 one at the end of January was massive with some 30 guests coming to party until 4am the next day. The experience gained from this made it easier for me to plan other events such as…
3. Oze escapade 1/3 ~ 3/3!
During my month-long stay in Korea in March 2011, Eunkyung unni asked me if I was interested in creating a multi-disciplinary concert in the Seoul Art Space Mullae, where they have a project of supporting aspiring artists and musicians. The talk in Mullae, explaining the application guideline was something like 2 days after, and eager for any opportunities for anything to get my hand on, I gladly joined her to attend the talk, and we agreed to make a joint application with the group name of Oze. This is by far the luckiest encounter I had this year, and we set on to submitting an application, resulting into a concert in October. We even created a website for this, for promoting and documentary purposes. (www.ozeproject-series.com)
4. White Blessing 2-2 Tour
In 2010, I had written a work for solo piano based on a painting by Joo Hee unni, and this work was not only performed that December, but also made into a piano solo version for the Pianist Sooyeon Lim to play in Frankfurt, Germany and Paris, France, as well as in Tongyeong Isang Yun Memorial Park, South Korea. I was so lucky to have a piece of work played so often in various places in the world, and went to Frankfurt and Paris myself to attend the concert. This year, my own supervisor, Michael Finnissy might perform this work in Southampton. What an honour for a humble solo piano piece to have!
5. Website and Blog
Until 2010, my webbing and blogging was confined to going with the trend, which meant for the recent few years, some Facebook updates and notes.
Now that I’m a ‘professional’ composer, I felt the need to have my own space in the web world, like other composers of various stages of their careers. My very own companion, being a software engineer, created a website for me to fill in with my contents. He also installed a WordPress blog, which I started using in April, and got into full swing around September. Yes. You are reading it right now! Long Live the Blog!
6. Birth of my Nephew
The baby we’ve all(including me as his aunt, my brother and sister-in-law as his parents, his grandparents and great-grandparents) have been waiting for so badly for many years! He is finally out in the world! Oh…what more can I say.. he’s a true beauty and I can only hope he has a good life and I can subtly contribute to his happiness. His baby-name was Leo, because his mother saw a Leopard in her dream, and now he is called Huije(희제). Long Live Huije! Keep calm and carry on man!
7. Grandfather’s Funeral
He passed away in November, and I still have vivid memories of his funeral as well as old memories of my childhood with him. He was never angry nor upset nor impatient, and having such a good person go makes it even hard to accept the fact he’s not here anymore, but I’m sure it was good for him to go to a better place.
8. A Full Year of Veganism
My resolution in 2010 had carried on without too much effort and thanks to everyone around me who were more than accommodating, my vegan and vegetarian meals were more than enjoyable! Unlike some of the bloggers I’ve been following(I haven’t found a living vegan near me), I decided to not make it too strict for me to the extent that it gives headaches and discomfort to fellow diners, so I let myself have a bit of cheese and egg now and then when I felt it’s better to just have some rather than push the dish away and making it awkward for others. I think it’s up to each individual to find a right degree of strictness for themselves, and I’ve gradually found my own place where I and my companions feel comfortable with. I’m getting a bit worried though, because it’s hard for me to stand the sight of meat on plates or in supermarkets.. they look like chopped corpses! Well, I guess that’s because that’s exactly what they are..but how can I avoid them? Challenge of 2012 I suppose..
9. A full year with Ian
His companionship, love and support is priceless and I feel like listing it as one of the 10 major things of 2011 is almost like degrading the value. He was extremely patient during the time of my lows filled with anxiety and gave me stability, strength and wisdom. I very much look forward to more exciting things in store for us!!!
When I started going to monthly meetings the Korean Artists Association, it was in hopes of having things going in London with possible collaborations with likeminded people. After my Oze escapade concert in Korea, I came back to the UK and gave a presentation in the November meeting, which lead to meeting David Kilburn, a retired journalist and hanok preservation activist who had a number of cultural events behind him already.
His suggestion of me giving a concert in his hanok in Seoul had snowballed into a rather exciting project in the name of NOKHA tour starting April 2012. More can be seen in a few weeks in www.nokha.org. The real thing!
Looking back, the majority of the things that happened in one year was totally unpredictable in the beginning, when I sat down on my desk at the end of 2010. I can see how dynamic and spontaneous life can be, and it makes things ever more exciting.. Bring it on, 2012!