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Project ARI

An Introduction by co-founder Dr. MeeAe Nam

About Project ARI

As a professional musician and educator, I have strived to contribute to the community's diverse artistic culture by introducing Korea's music throughout my career in the United States. When I was exposed to the music of composer Hyowon Woo, my ears were attracted to the fact that her music was rooted in Korean nationalism, combined with Western musical elements in the most sophisticated and accessible way.


Whether her music expresses love, faith, sadness, torments, wailing, or a mighty shout, her music is clad in beautiful spiritual sound. Therefore, we named our new project "ARI"; to introduce Korea through the beautiful music of Hyowon Woo. The Ari project's important feature and purpose is to offer Plexible musical programs for specific themes with production guidelines accessible to choral groups of all levels and sizes.

What is ARI?

In the ancient native Korean language, Ari (아리) can mean "beautiful." The word Ari is rooted in the Korean heart. Many versions of the song Ari-rang (My Beautiful Beloved) express emotions ranging from sadness to joy, encompassing the harmonious yin and yang logic. Therefore, "Ari - Beauty" can refer to all the beautiful aspects of Korea, in my opinion – the treasure of the beautiful land, profound spirit, and unwavering perseverance that have made today's strong and proud Korea.

Story Behind ARI

Over the last few years, Woo and I have often engaged in deep conversations about how we can create a unique musical program to engage musicians and audiences in sharing Korean culture. We both share the same desires: First, to let the world know about Korea, and second, to create opportunities for voices, not limited to Korean-speaking singers, to unite in performing works based on Korean culture.

It was easy to divide Woo's existing songs into various themes that tell stories, histories, spirits, and cultures of Korea, as her works have a commonality – distinguished nuances and gestures of Korean traditional musical elements. We greatly enjoyed playing with creating creative programs.

Many of her songs are also unknown outside South Korea because they are mostly written in Korean or simply waiting to be unveiled, although written in multiple languages, including Latin and English.

We are also unafraid of experimenting with new ways to present musical performances that are more accessible to diverse audiences. Thinking that choral music should be presented in many creative performance platforms, we wished to incorporate other performing art forms like dance, play, visual effects, and poetry readings into the choral program.

Ari is a commission-based project designed to accommodate the purpose and needs of each performance occasion. We make the musical selections based on a given theme of interest and to fulfill the purpose of the occasion. It is the most Flexible, meaningful, and creative way to build a concert program, and the duration of the program is adjustable.

Besides writing new music compositions and rearranging existing scores with the length to be extended or shortened, various sizes of instrumentation, changing lyrics or translating them into another language, inserting other elements between musical movements, such as storytelling, poetry reading, dance, visual effects, and stage instructions as needed and appropriate and suitable to the venue.

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