Unsuk Chin

Artist Playlists

About Unsuk Chin

Unsuk Chin is an artist of exceptional curiosity and knowledge. Her ability to absorb and synthesize disparate materials and traditions has deservedly elevated her status as one of the most important and frequently heard composers of the 21st century. Born in Seoul, South Korea, in 1961, she taught herself the rudiments of piano before any formal training, going on to study under Sukhi Kang at Seoul National University and with György Ligeti in Hamburg. Chin’s eclectic output—whether playfully kaleidoscopic operas, formally daring piano études, or a series of technically demanding concertos for the Chinese sheng as well as standard Western instruments—eschews any single style or approach. She draws from a wide breadth of sources, including 20th-century European composers like Bartók, Stravinsky, and Ligeti as well as Balinese gamelan and electronic music, to say nothing of literature and visual art. Based in Berlin since 1988, Chin has taken advantage of her fame to write for specific instrumentalists, studying their work and discovering how to push it further, such as her cello concerto for Alban Gerhardt. Her music rewards close listening, with carefully modulated details revealed over time.

Seoul, South Korea
July 14, 1961

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