September 1996

• From the Newsletter Editor
• Progress of the Association
• Objectives
• 1996 Meeting of AKMR
• People in AKMR
• Call for Information
• AKMR Officers
• Acknowledgement

From the Newsletter Editor:

The Association for Korean Music Research was inaugurated at the 40th annual conference of the Society for Ethnomusicology, at the Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles, on October 21, 1995. The idea of an academic association affiliated with the Society for Ethnomusicology and devoted to the study of Korean music had first been proposed by Okon Hwang at an informal gathering of half a dozen interested parties during the previous SEM conference in Milwaukee, at which she agreed to take the role of secretary while Andrew Killick was appointed as president. To contrast that modest occasion with the efficiently organized and well supported inaugural meeting and banquet in LA is to form a sense of the progress that was made during the year-long gestation period of the organization.

The fledgling AKMR (though it had not yet been given that name) came to the LA meeting with already impressive scholarly and professional credentials. The organization had already arranged to have an advisory committee consisting of two positions: the director of the National Centre for Traditional Performing Arts (currently Lee Song-Chon), and the president of the Korean Musicological Society (currently Kwon Oh-Sung). Ruth K. Oh, an attorney-at-law with a background in ethnomusicology and Korean music, had agreed to serve as legal counsel. Financial support had been provided by the Korean Cultural Center in Los Angeles; Eastern Connecticut State University; the Korean Performing Arts Institute in Connecticut; and the Korean National Classical Music Institute in Los Angeles. Among the more than thirty guests present at the AKMR dinner banquet on Friday, October 20 were Consul Woo Jin-young, representative of the government of the Republic of Korea; Charlotte Heth, president of the Society for Ethnomusicology; Helen Rees, representative of the Association for Chinese Music Research; and Dr. Max Baumann of the International Institute for Traditional Music in Berlin, Germany.

On Saturday, October 21, Okon Hwang presided over the equally well-attended inaugural meeting which was devoted to launching and publicizing the Association and to transacting the following business:

1. Naming of the organization. Among the several names suggested for the organization, 'Association for Korean Music Research' was chosen by majority vote, as accurately reflecting the nature and objectives of the group and also suggesting an appropriate analogy with an already existing body, the Association for Chinese Music Research. It has been an oft-expressed hope, both in the inaugural meeting and in ensuing discussions via e-mail, that the AKMR can learn from the ten years' experience of the ACMR (as well as the forty years of the SEM) and thus divert its energies from re-inventing the wheel into more productive channels.

2. Election of a president. Byong Won Lee of the University of Hawaii was elected unanimously.

3. Election of a steering committee to assist the president in handling administrative matters and planning the activities of the Association. The six elected steering committee members are Joseph Celli (Korean Performing Arts Institute, Connecticut), Marnie Dilling (University of California at San Diego), Okon Hwang (Eastern Connecticut State University), Youyoung Kang (University of Pennsylvania), Andrew Killick (University of Washington) and Robert Provine (University of Durham).

4. Collecting of names and addresses of those attending for the purpose of compiling a mailing list. 

Progress of the Association

In the months following the LA meeting, the members of the steering committee continued to work towards making the Association a reality, busily exchanging e-mail messages across three continents. President Byong Won Lee soon announced that he had won the cooperation of the Center for Korean Studies at the University of Hawaii in providing a headquarters for the Association. He sent out a press release and was interviewed on Korean media. He then contacted several members of the steering committee asking them to take on specific responsibilities: Marnie Dilling to act as secretary, Okon Hwang as treasurer and membership secretary, and Andrew Killick as Newsletter editor.

Robert Provine gave assistance in establishing a World Wide Web homepage for the AKMR at the University of Durham, which can be accessed at: [Ed., Link no longer active.  11/2004]

Youyoung Kang provided an initial draft of by-laws for the Association, which elicited copious suggestions for amendments by other members of the steering committee. However, the point was also made that the Association for Chinese Music Research has operated successfully for ten years with neither constitution nor by-laws, and the question whether such trappings were really necessary for the AKMR was raised. Rather than spending precious resources on creating by-laws at this early stage of the formation, the majority of AKMR steering committee members suggested that AKMR should follow the ACMR's model for now.

Marnie Dilling prepared an application to the SEM for 'ancillary organization' status, which was granted in February 1996. She also submitted materials to SEM relating to the AKMR's proposed activities during the SEM conference in Toronto in October 1996. The proposal was accepted by SEM, and AKMR will have a three-hour session combining research-based presentations with an open meeting devoted to business matters during the Toronto conference.


The precise definition of the objectives of the AKMR have remained a topic of discussion, not only in the inaugural meeting, but in e-mail exchanges among members of the steering committee over the ensuing year, and have yet to be definitively resolved. The wording of the application to SEM for 'ancillary organization' status was that the AKMR is "an international community of scholars organized for academic exchange. Its purpose is to promote and advance knowledge of Korean music." Some have felt that the specification of "scholars" and "academic exchange" is unduly exclusive of performers and others interested in Korean music from an other-than-strictly-academic viewpoint, while others have argued that this specification is necessary to protect the integrity of the Association as an organization devoted to research. Despite such disagreements, the deliberations of the Association have been conducted in a spirit of cooperation and mutual support, a spirit that bodes well for the future of the organization.

1996 Meeting of AKMR at the Society for Ethnomusicology Conference in Toronto

Friday, 1 November 1996
"Current Research in Korean Music: A Round Table for Exchange"
Chair: Margaret Dilling

Members of the recently formed Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM) ancillary organization, the Association for Korean Music Research (AKMR) will offer short presentations (5-7 minutes) on the state of their current research. In a round table format, five scholars will lead off by describing either the scope of their research or by summarizing a particular topic. In the second half of the session, anyone who is involved in research on Korean music will be invited to bring session participants up to date on their work.

While individual members have delivered papers on particular topics in SEM sessions in the past, this is the first occasion for presenting a formal profile of the span of research presently being done on Korean music. Given the opportunity to acquaint each other with our work, it is hoped that common ground for greater understanding, contiguous topic areas, and perhaps even collaborative work in the future may emerge from this exchange of information. The round table will also provide the musical and academic foundation for the Associations' work of organizing helpful structures to promote Korean music research.

Panel participants:

* Robert Provine (University of Durham): "Korean Music Studies in Europe"
* Byongwon Lee (University of Hawaii): "Current State of Musical Practice of Koreans in the Yanbian Autonomous Region, China"
* Keith Howard (University of London): "Rhythm n' Seoul: Music for a Modern City"
* Okon Hwang (East Connecticut State University): "Current Status of Popular Music Study in South Korea"
* Marnie Dilling (University of California, San Diego) (panel organizer and chair): "The Role of Music in Korean-American Youth Culture Clubs"

The 80-minute session will be followed by a 20-minute social break and an 80-minute open meeting of the Association for Korean Music Research.

People in AKMR

* Byong Won Lee is currently on leave from the University of Hawaii to head the Office of International Cooperation at the Academy of Korean Studies in Korea.

* The Korean Performing Arts Institute, based in Connecticut, has announced a major USA tour of Korean traditional masked dance from November 2 to 19, 1996. The artists, from the National Centre for Traditional Performing Arts in Seoul, will offer 14 performances featuring Tae Pyung Ryu, Cho Yong Mu, Shinawi, and Pongsan Talchum in 9 states in the East Coast. For further information, contact the Korean Performing Arts Institute at (203) 367-7917; fax (203) 333-0603; e-mail Click to see a complete schedule of lectures and performances.

* Cynthia Sajanovski was promoted to full Professor at University of Guam.

* Keith Howard delivered a paper "The Development of Korean Traditional Music in the 20th Century and Prospects for the Future" at the 9th International Conference on Korean Studies in June 1996 in Seoul, Korea.

* Andrew Killick got married this year. A traditional Korean-style wedding ceremony was held in Seoul in June and a Western-style ceremony in England in July. He was also recently appointed to a faculty position at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, Korea.

* Okon Hwang received early-tenure and promotion to Associate Professor at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Call for Information

The AKMR Newsletter is a vehicle for exchange of ideas, news, and information among its members. Readers' contributions are welcome and should be sent to the AKMR Newsletter Editor (address below) by e-mail, fax, or mail. Address changes and any inquires about membership should be sent to the Membership Secretary. All other general inquires should be sent to the secretary.

AKMR Officers

The following is the current (Autumn 1996) list of the AKMR officers [ed., the e-mail addresses below are no longer valid.  11/2004]:

PRESIDENT: Byong Won Lee
Academy of Korean Studies, 50 Unjung-dong, Pundang-gu, Songnam-si, Kyonggi-do, 463-791, Korea
Phone [82] (342) 709-6593; 709-8111 ext. 227
Fax [82] (342) 709-9945

Music Dept., University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, U.S.A.
Phone [1] (619) 534-8875
Fax [1] (619) 534-8502

Fine Arts Department, Eastern Connecticut State University, Willimantic, CT 06226, U.S.A.
Phone [1] (860) 465-5109
Fax [1] (860) 465-4652

English Department, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, 270 Imun-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul, 130-791, Korea
Phone: [82] (822) 354-6790
Fax: [82] (822) 354-6791


The mailing of the AKMR Newsletter is made possible by funding support of Eastern Connecticut State University.