Bio: Suk-Jun Kim

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My name is Suk-Jun Kim, a Korean-born sound artist and electroacoustic composer who now lives in Aberdeen, Scotland. I teach EA composition and sound art at the University of Aberdeen and runs MMus in Sonic Arts programme.

Drop me an email to reddoorsound@gmail.com (personal) or s.kim@abdn.ac.uk (school-related).

Visit SERG, a sonic arts research group in Aberdeen, or sonADA, an experimental music and sonic arts festival in Northeast Scotland of which I am artistic director.


Suk-Jun Kim’s music mainly focuses on the sense of places that are fantastic, imaginary, magical, and realistic, in which listeners can visit, stop by, and dwell. Having won several international composition awards and attracted commissions, Kim’s music has been performed worldwide and can be heard on ICMC, IMEB, and SEAMUS labels, and M&R. His research focuses on acousmatic reasoning, imaginal listening, phenomenological approaches to the aesthetics of electroacoustic music, space and place, platial memory and sound, and magical realism in electroacoustic music among others. Kim’s interest in platial memory and sound has also led him to expand his medium to installations. He recently had his first solo exhibition in Berlin, Germany.

Suk-Jun Kim studied theology at Yonsei university, South Korea and Recording Engineering at OIART (Ontario Institute of Audio and Recording Technology). He earned a master’s degree in Music Technology in Northwestern University and a Ph.D. in composition at the University of Florida. In 2009, Kim was invited to Berlin by DAAD for its Artists-in-Berlin programme, and now is lecturer in Electroacoustic Music and Sound Art at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

Kim’s current research themes include Acoustic Ecology of Communities and Cities Labscapes—the Sound of Science and Epistemology of Hearing in Knowledge-producing and Knowledge-disseminating Spaces/Places, and Humming.  Kim is currently writing a book on Humming, which is to be published by Bloomsbury.

Suk-Jun Kim studied theology (BA) at Yonsei University (South Korea), and moved to Canada to earn a diploma (honor) in Recording Engineering at the Ontario Institute of Audio and Recording Technology (OIART), London, Ontario (Canada). During his study at OIART, he was first introduced to the world of electroacoustic music, mainly works by Denis Smalley and Jonty Harrison, which became a tutorial for him during his self-taught period. In 2000, he moved to Chicago (USA) to study music technology (M.Mus) at Northwestern University with Gary Kendall with whom Kim studied 3D sound, sound installation, and programming as well as composition. In 2003, Kim traveled to Paris to take the computer music course run by the Center for Computer Music of Iannis Xenakis (CCMIX), and in 2004, he moved to Florida (USA) for a doctoral study in composition at the University of Florida with Paul Koonce. Kim received his Ph.D. in composition in the summer of 2008 with a dissertation titled “Listeners and Imagination: A Quaternary Framework for Electroacoustic Music Listening and Acousmatic Reasoning.” In 2009, Kim was invited to Berlin by DAAD for its Artists-in-Berlin programme, and now is a Leverhulme visiting fellow at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

Kim has been invited by various universities and festivals to give presentations and master classes, including Synthèse 2009, Bourges, France, Ai-Maako 2009, International Electroacoustic Music Festival of Santiago, Chile, Stetson University, Manchester University, Brevard Community College and Philadelphia Community College in the USA.

A Korean Composer whose main output is electroacoustic music, Suk-Jun Kim’s music focuses mainly on the sense of places that are fantastic, imaginary, magical, and realistic, where listeners can visit, stop by, and dwell on. His music has received a number of international awards: Métamorphoses (Biennale Acousmatic Composition Competition in Belgium: 2000 & 2008), Regional Composition Prize at 2008 ICMC in Belfast, Concurso International de Música Electroacústica Såo Paulo (CIMESP: 2007), Bourges International Competition (2001), ASCAP/SEAMUS Student Commission Competition (2001) as well as mentions and finalists in MUSICA VIVA (2005) and MUSICA NOVA (2002 & 2005). Kim also received commissions from the 2006 World Cup in Germany (2006), Bourges commissions (2002 & 2006), SpACE-Net in UK (2007), QUB Silver Collection Soundscape Commission from Belfast (2007), and ASCAP/SEAMUS (2001) and has been a resident composer at Bourges (2004, 2007, 2009), Visby International Centre for Composer, Sweden (2007), Atlantic Center for the Arts, Florida (2007), MacDowell Colony, New Hampshire (2008), Musiques & Recherches in Ohain, Belgium (2009), and Artists-in-Berlin, DAAD, Germany (2009). Kim’s music has been published by ICMC, IMEB, and SEAMUS, and M&R. In 2011, Kim, with the support of DAAD, published Hasla, a book/DVD which catalogs, and is part of the Hasla Project. Hasla includes texts by Denis Smalley, Folkmar Hein, and Julia Schröder, and a short story by Kim. The accompanied DVD contains compositions and documentations of installations.

His research has concentrated on listening and imagining in electroacoustic music and a framework based on ‘acousmatic reasoning,’ a listening process using both spectromorphological and semiotic listening modes, which listeners of electroacoustic music employ to ‘make sense’ out of the acousmatic experiences. Kim has published papers at the ICMC and Organised Sound. His recent research focuses on phenomenological approaches to the aesthetics of electroacoustic music, space and place, platial memory and sound, and magical realism in electroacoustic music, and sound art and sound studies. Kim’s interest in platial memory and sound has also led him to expand his medium to installations.

Kim’s current research themes include Acoustic Ecology of Communities and Cities Labscapes—the Sound of Science and Epistemology of Hearing in Knowledge-producing and Knowledge-disseminating Spaces/Places, and Humming.  Kim is currently writing a book on Humming, which is to be published by Bloomsbury.

My work, both compositions and installations, tends to focus on the sense of places that are fantastic, imaginary, magical, and realistic, in which listeners can visit, stop by, and dwell for a while. In it, sounds and what they afford—their possibilities of transforming themselves to different things—emerge as correlates, and I make every effort during the creative process to let the listeners recognize how this relationship is established, threatened, or transformed into another.

As an artist, I do not create sounds; rather, I create with sounds modes of revealing. I approach sound not as a pure entity — as in and of itself — but as always sound of something. I am interested in how and when sound emerges as it is.

Similarly, I do not use technology as in and of itself; rather, I use it first to get to the essence of sound emerging before me, and then to get out of it and reconnect my listening to the world. In fact, I consider it technology’s greatest potential to allow me to travel between these two modes quickly and smoothly. My method of this travel is imagining. My imagining guides me, who is now transformed into an imagining self, to various possibilities of sound and technology. The main goal of my creative process, then, is to sensitize myself to these possibilities, grasp and explore them when they become available.