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카셀 | 2006.09.04 14:19 | hit. 7394
Song and 500 Instruments
Korean guitarist Hyung Ik Song’s passion for music has yielded quite a large collection of instruments.

September 03, 2006

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Many people have a love for music, but few have five hundred instruments to prove it.

Hyung Ik Song, a Korean guitarist and teacher, has been accumulating guitars, flutes, percussion, and other musical instruments since 1965. Consisting of antiques, unusually shaped rarities, folk instruments and cultural artifacts, his collection has amassed to an extraordinary number of precious carvings and wooden jewels.

“Collecting things was one of my hobbies when I was little,” says Song. “Ever since I started to play guitar, naturally I was interested in all different kinds of instruments. While I was studying in Europe, I had a chance to visit the National Instrument Museum. I made up my mind that I would have a "National Instrument Museum" in Korea one day.”

Mr. Song’s dream is coming true. His collection of instruments, which until now has been stored in his studio, house, garage, storage space and anywhere else they would fit, will soon be hung on the walls of a newly designed facility outside of Seoul. In addition to his museum, the building will be home to a guitar academy, a concert hall, and an international guitar festival.

Currently a professor at Won-Ju National University, Mr. Song’s first instrument was the classical guitar he bought for himself. At that time, “the regular price for a guitar was between fifty cents and one dollar,” he says. “Mine was seven dollars. It was handmade and had lots of mother of pearl decorations on the body.”

Many of the antiques he owns were purchased in Europe, beginning when he was a student at the Kassel Music Academy in Germany. While there, Mr. Song became a successful concertizer, performing on German radio and in recitals around the country. Since returning to his home land of Korea, he has become one of the most famous people on the Korean guitar scene. Mr. Song is Chairman of the Korea Guitar Association, as well as a conductor for the Kassel Guitar Ensemble and Director of the Kassel Guitar Academy.

Most of Mr. Song’s possessions are between two and three hundred years old and are from all over the world. “I don`t even know the names of some of the instruments,” he says. “Most of them we can’t even play. Old folk instruments look very simple, but there are no manuals that exist. Without those books, it is impossible to tune or play them.”

His favorite, however, is an instrument he knows well: A guitar, created by the same luthier who made Franz Schubert’s. Schubert, who is known to the general public for his piano, chamber, and vocal music, is notorious in classical guitar circles for having been an accomplished guitarist as well. It is said that he often composed his songs while strumming a guitar.

Hyung Ik Song’s enthusiasm for music infects his students and his entire family. (He performs frequently with the Song Trio, an ensemble consisting of him and his two daughters, who are also guitarists.) He is a busy teacher, a frequent performer, and has composed over 300 pieces of music.

“To those who love music in the world,” Mr. Song says, “I hope you have a beautiful life.”

Special thanks for Yeonjune Suh for her help in translating conversations with Mr. Song.

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