Korean Classical Guitarist Gaining Recognition Internationally

kpopluv, June 2, 2014, 9:38 a.m.

Classical guitarist Park Kyu Hee is gaining notoriety on the international scene.  She began playing the guitar at age three.  Since that time, she has won numerous international competitions including the Heinsberg International Guitar Competition, Printemps de la Guitar International Competition, and Alhambra International Guitar Competition. 

The 28-year-old has been studying at Vienna Music University since she moved there in 2006 from Japan, where she attended the Tokyo College of Music for a year. She now has an exclusive contract with Denon Records and has produced five albums, including two with the Japanese record label.

Park said Vienna has allowed her musical skills to mature. "It's a well known city of music. There are concerts all year-round and many famous museums. I have an annual pass so I can go to these whenever I'm free," she said. 

In February, Park had her first recital in Korea. Two of her albums, one featuring Spanish guitar and the other Latin American rhythms, were released in Korea that month. Park said she was inseparable from her guitar since she was a young child.

"I lived in Japan until I was five and then came to Korea. After graduating from high school, we went back. My mom learned classical guitar as a hobby when I was three, and she says I tried to play it because I loved the sound so much. She got me a classical guitar suitable for kids, so I saw it as a fun toy at first," said Park. 

"I think the guitar suited my passive, introverted personality. I didn't like the piano because it was too flamboyant." 

Classical guitar is not hugely popular in Korea, a trend Park hopes to change.

"It's totally different from other types of guitar. It is a popular string instrument in Europe and Japan, where many people study and perform with it. I hope I can inspire many people in Korea with my music," added Park.

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