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Khmer Music and its Future

Khmer Music and its Future

A Colloquium with Chinary Ung, Professor of Composition, University of California at San Diego

Thursday, April 29, 2004
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
UCLA Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90095

This talk will center on traditional Khmer musical performing practices starting from the 60’s/70’s up to the present .  It  includes a background on its current state, speculation on the future of  such music, and the possible interaction Khmer music will have with the outside world, including Pacific Rim nations and the Western world. 

Chinary Ung was born in Cambodia in 1942 and came to the United States in 1964 to further his studies in music.  He received training in New York City, where he was a clarinet student of Charles Russo at the Manhattan School of Music.  A few years later he became a composition student of Chou Wen-chung, at first, privately, and later as a doctoral student at Columbia University.  In the 1980’s, he was the President of the Khmer Studies Institute.  He is a master Roneat Ek performer, the native Cambodian xylophone of the Pinpeat tradition, which often accompanies the court dance, dance drama, and ritual ceremonies.  He is presently Professor of Composition at the University of California at San Diego.

Ung has received many honors including three Cultural Preservation Awards from numerous Cambodian-American communities.  He is currently an advisor of the Killing Fields Memorial and Cambodian-American Heritage Museum in Chicago.  He also was the first American to win the coveted international Grawemeyer Award for music composition in 1989 for his orchestral work “INNER VOICES.”  His most recent grants and commissions include: a grant from the Asian Cultural Council, a new work from Thomas Buckner, a dance piece from Southwest Chamber Music, which includes traditional Cambodian ballet dancers, ORACLE from the Da Capo Chamber Players with a grant from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust and a new orchestral work for the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra funded by a grant from the Joyce Foundation of Chicago.  His works are recorded on New World Records, CRI, Oodiscs, Norton Recordings, Koch International, Mark Custom, Argo, and ALM Records.  The music of Chinary Ung is published exclusively by C. F. Peters Corporation.

Cost : Free and open to the public.


Sponsor(s): Center for Southeast Asian Studies