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A deeply personal story of the composer’s grand aunt, A Korean woman chooses to starve herself to death rather than be forced to marry a man she doesn’t love. A fiercely independent woman in a time when females were not allowed to educated, her act helped transform the composer’s traditional family, paving the way to acceptance of independent thinking women.

Kyong Mee Choi, Composer

Bianca Lee

Dr. Timothy Ernest Johnson

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Kyong Mee Choi was a Finalist of the Contest for the International Contemporary Music Contest "Citta' di Udine and Concurso Internacional de Composicai eletroacoustica in Brazil among others.

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Bianca Lee holds a BA degree in English Literature, MA degree in Drama and continued her post-graduate studies in Language and Art History in Germany, before returning to graduate school in the US and finishing with an MBA degree.

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Dr. Johnson is multi-faceted, experimental and rooted deeply in culture and human expression. He is also a classical guitarist, most recently performing the premiere of a new work for guitar and Korean janggu entitled, Guitar Sanjo: Open Wide.

pale courage  The Proposal

Curator discussion

with Mary Chun, Leigh Rondon-Davis & Brian Rosen

Artist Interviews: Pale Courage

InFocus Issue 15

Pale Courage

Creators Journal

Dear Subscribers,

In this Roundtable video, composer and editor for Pale Courage Kyong Mee Choi and Timothy Johnson share with the cohort that their librettist, Bianca Lee has been diagnosed with stomach cancer. Bianca joins the conversation and speaks to the cohort directly. What follows is an immensely compassionate conversation founded in peace, and trust. As the facilitator of this Roundtable, I see that Pale Courage is reaching across a divide of generations, of continents, and of spiritual plane with purest heart: reminding us that music communes beyond the limitations of space and time, beyond the limitations of this corporal form. I believe that all artists in this conversation speak with a grace that welcomes only the best in a viewer.

 

The Pale Courage Team has welcomed that this be shared with you as patrons of the Aperture program. Please keep Bianca and her family in your thoughts. Thank you for all that you do to support extraordinary stories by extraordinary people.

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Selvies

Sessions

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Mini Doc

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Libretto Reading

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Pale Courage  Sing Sample

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Get to know them: First Opera Stories

previous work samples

Composer keyong mee choi introduces

"The Eternal tao"

Composer keyong mee choi introduces

"Im Nebel"

Composer keyong mee choi introduces

Ji Chong myong

Excerpt from

"The Eternal tao"

excerpts of

"Im Nebel"

excerpts from

ji chong myong

Kyong Mee choi Bio:

Kyong Mee Choi, composer, organist, painter, visual artist, and poet, has received several prestigious awards and grants including John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, Robert Helps Prize, Aaron Copland Award, John Donald Robb Musical Trust Fund Commission, Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, First prize of ASCAP/SEAMUS Award, Second prize at VI Concurso Internacional de Música Eletroacústica de São Paulo, Honorary Mentions from Musique et d’Art Sonore Electroacoustiques de Bourges, Musica Nova, Society of Electroacoustic Music of Czech Republic, Luigi Russolo International Competition, and Destellos Competition. 

She was a Finalist of the Contest for the International Contemporary Music Contest "Citta' di Udine and Concurso Internacional de Composicai eletroacoustica in Brazil among others. Her music was published at CIMESP (São Paulo, Brazil), SCI, EMS, ERM media, SEAMUS, and Détonants Voyages (Studio Forum, France). 

Ravello records published her multimedia opera, THE ETERNAL TAO, which was supported by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and Roosevelt University. Aucourant Records published her CD, SORI, featuring her eight compositions for solo instrument and electronics. The project was supported by the IAS Artist Project Grant from the Illinois Arts Council. She is the Head of Music Composition at Roosevelt University in Chicago where she teaches composition and electro-acoustic music.

Dr. Timothy Ernest Johnson Bio:

The music of North American composer Timothy Ernest Johnson is multi-faceted, experimental and rooted deeply in culture and human expression. Finding inspiration in everything from chess games to Korean traditional music, Timothy Ernest Johnson creates engaging, multi- dimensional musical experiences. Dr. Johnson is also a classical guitarist, most recently performing the premiere of a new work for guitar and Korean janggu entitled: Guitar Sanjo: Open Wide based on rhythms of Korean traditional music and shaman ritual.

 

Other recent performances of Dr. Johnson’s music include Bogie vs. Bacall for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano (2012), performed by Ensemble Paramirabo in New York at the 2014 mise-en festival and premiered in 2012 by the CUBE ensemble (conducted by Johnson); Fortune Smiles for flute, percussion and electronics performed by Due East in 2013; Prelude, Turnaround and Happy Ending for oboe, string trio and percussion (2010), premiered by Ensemble Dal Niente; and Fantasy in 3G for three guitars (2010), premiered by the Avanti Trio, and subsequently performed by the Maverick Ensemble in 2012. Johnson’s large ensemble work Antyphony: Kasparov vs. Deep Blue was a finalist in the 2008 Alea III Competition, premiered by Alea III, and subsequently performed by the U of I New Music Ensemble. His co-commissioned electronic work Tensile Strength received an Honorary Prize in the 2008 “Musica Nova” competition, has been presented at numerous international concert venues, and has been featured on two recordings. Dr. Johnson is also a noted researcher in microtonality, and helped the Kepler Quartet in their recording of Ben Johnston’s complete string quartets.

Bianca Lee Bio:

Bianca Lee, a native of Seoul, Korea developed fascination and love for literature and theatre early on. After receiving a BA degree in English Literature, she continued her education in Houston Texas. She pursued her love for the Theatre and received a MA degree in Drama. She continued her post-graduate studies in Language and Art History in Germany and returned to graduate school in the US, finishing with an MBA degree. Her subsequent career as a software engineer and systems analyst in Houston, Denver and Atlanta spans over more than two decades. After many years of studying and practicing yoga, Bianca became a certified yoga instructor. She also pursues “the way of flowers,” and became an Ikebana Master of the Ichiyo School of Ikebana, a Japanese floral art. She exhibits her ikebana works of floral arrangement. In 2018, she published a 280-page book, “Journeys and Finds, a compilation of her travelogues.

Bianca, who created a synopsis of the opera has a direct personal connection with Lady Jade Song. Bianca is the niece of Lady Jade Song and the composer Kyong Mee Choi is Bianca’s niece. This opera project involves three generations of the family and they feel grateful that the tragic story of the Lady Jade Song, a true feminist will be heard through this art form of opera.

Lady song was born at the beginning of the 20th Century when Korea was transitioning from a closed- up kingdom into a modern society and adopted a western style educational system. The Drama played out in this opera can be summarized as a generational as well as gender conflict between a daughter and a father in the context of a larger conflict between the traditional values and the modernistic ideals introduced by westernization. A bright young girl could not develop her full human potential because of the constraints of cultural tradition, and she preferred death to the kind of life that tradition dooms her to live. This incident happened a century ago, fortunately, the custom of denying education to girls and forcing them into an arranged marriage has stopped in Korea. But, the theme of this opera is still relevant in the on-going struggle to win full equality for women worldwide.