Wesleyan portrait of Jin Hi  Kim

Jin Hi Kim

Director, Korean Drumming Ensemble

World Music Hall, upstairs

Assistant Professor of the Practice in Music, Part-Time

48 Wyllys Avenue,


Visit Professional Website

BA Seoul National University
MFA Mills College

Jin Hi Kim

Jin Hi Kim, a United States Artists Fellow, Guggenheim Fellow Composer, innovative komungo performer, and Korean music specialist, has performed as a soloist in her own compositions at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Freer Gallery of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art and around the world. In 2021 GRAMMY.com wrote "A Musical Philosopher And Radiator Of Electricity: Jin Hi Kim." She also plays janggu drum (장구) and dancer's barrel drum set for her creative work. Kim is known as a pioneer for introducing geomungo (거문고, a Korean fretted board zither, also spelled komungo) to American contemporary music scene and for extensive solo performances on the world's only electric komungo with live interactive computer programs in her large-scale multimedia performance pieces such as A Ritual for Covid-19   Ghost Komungobot and Digital Buddha.

Acquisition of the complete set of Jin Hi Kim’s Living Tones composition scores, CDs, and her autobiography Komungo Tango are in the Wesleyan University World Music Library. A retrospective interview about Kim was archived in Oral History of American Music at Yale University Library. She has given lectures about Korean traditional music and her compositional concept ‘Living Tones’ at over 200 universities in the USA including Freeman Artist-In-Residence at Cornell University.  

Kim received the New England Foundation for the Arts' Rebecca Blunk Fund Award 2020, and was awarded Fulbright Special Project 2016 to Vietnam, 2015 Composers Now Creative Residencies at the Pocantico Center of Rockefeller Brothers Fund, 2014 Asian Cultural Council Fellowship to Indonesia, 2013 McKnight Visiting Composer with the American Composers Forum, and a 2001 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award, which was created by John Cage and Jasper Johns. 

In May 2023, Jin Hi Kim composed Ritual for Earth that brings members of Korean Drumming and Creative Music Ensemble and Lap Top Ensemble together for the first time. The premiere at World Music Hall was performed by those ensembles playing instruments that are made of natural materials like clay, bamboo, wood, skin, and metal including EarthSounds’ ceramic instruments.

In February 2022, Jin Hi Kim performed her A Ritual for Covid-19 at the Crowell Hall of CFA with student participants, supported by Center for the Arts, Music Department, Albritton Center for the Study of Public, and Academic Affairs Arts and Humanities.

In March 2020, the Olin Library and Music Department faculty and students celebrated the Music Library’s acquisition of Jin Hi Kim’s scores for Living Tones. Kim gave a lecture-demonstration discussing the compositional concept of Living Tones at the library, followed by a performance on the electric komungo. Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music Nadya Potemkina (viola) and graduate student Aliya Ultan (cello) performed Kim's Kee Maek, one of the scores in the collection.

In February 2019, Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts and College of East Asian Studies presented Jin Hi Kim’s solo performance of komungo and electric komungo at Mansfield Freeman Center, in conjunction with the Exhibition Sound of Korea.

In October 2018, College of Environment presented Jin Hi Kim's Sound Calendar of the Year 2018, a COE Faculty-Student Research Grant project, at the Allbritton Center.

In April 2018, Jin Hi Kim co-organized a three days mini-conference, One Sky, presented at Wesleyan University and Yale University with the world premiere of her One Sky II for Orchestra performed by Wesleyan University Orchestra conducted by Nadya Potemkina, two cross-cultural collaborative performances and a colloquia, and a film screening. The event is about reconciliation of Korean War and informs and elucidates some of the historical and cultural context of our current situation between North Korean and the United States. The event was supported by the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life Collaborative Project with collaboration between the Wesleyan University Music Department, the Center for the Arts, the College of East Asian Studies, Theater Department, Film Studies Department, Fries Center for Global Studies, and Yale University Council on East Asian Studies.



Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

Wednesday 1-7:10pm at World Music Hall


Spring 2024
MUSC 413 - 01
Korean Drumming&Creative Music

MUSC 414 - 01
Korean Drum&Creative Music Adv

Fall 2024
MUSC 413 - 01
Korean Drumming&Creative Music

MUSC 414 - 01
Korean Drum&Creative Music Adv