Jung Yeon-woo Wins the Grand Prize in the Onnara Korean Traditional Music Competition
The fruits of his effort after trying for four consecutive years
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Jung Yeon-woo (Department of Korean Traditional Music, 4th year) won the Grand Prize at the 40th Onnara Korean Traditional Music Competition on July 7, 2020. Held under the auspices of the National Gugak Center for 40 years, the Onnara competition is famously known to all aspiring Korean traditional musicians as the gateway to being designated as a person of national prestige. After competing four times, Jung has finally seen the fruits of his effort and was awarded with 10 million won in prize money, the presidential award, and military exemption. In his interview with News H, Jung shared his feelings after winning the grand prize.
When he was 10 years old, Jung first met the Korean traditional musical instrument called Dae-gum. Though he had little interest in Korean traditional music in general, the unique sound of the instrument fascinated Jung. After repeatedly listening to its clear but deep sound, Jung decided his future career in his fifth year of elementary school.
Attending Hanyang’s Department of Korean Traditional Music, Jung said his biggest aspiration during university life was to win the grand prize at the Onnara Korean Traditional Music Competition, which was the goal for many of his seniors as well. After the first three trials, Jung failed to win an award. However, his faith in his skills gave him the drive to try out for a fourth time. Jung entered the competition with a piece named "Seo Yong-suk styled Dae-gum San-jo," and achieved his goal of winning the grand prize.
"To be honest, what initially appealed to me the most was that the winner is exempt from military service," said Jung. "However, in the end, what was more valuable was the way I constantly improved after each failure and with continuous practice." Based on his experience, Jung also gave a tip for future contestants. "Since there are many judges with different tastes, I learned that it is impossible to please every judge with a self-initiated interpretation of a piece of music. Personally, I think I got through the contest by trying to follow the criteria as strictly as possible."
"My dream is to play the Korean traditional music all around the world," said Jung. "Rather than trying to make the traditional music known, I aim to become a great musician first so that the public naturally knows our traditional music." Jung added that he wants to thank his parents, who did not lose faith in him and constantly prayed for him. Also, he told his fellow Hanyangians who are devoting themselves to Korean traditional music to be proud of what they are doing.
Lee Yoon-seo firstname.lastname@example.org
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