Soma Trio Goes Beyond Musical Culture
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Soma Trio Goes Beyond Musical Culture
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  • 승인 2007.05.01 00:00
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▲ Soma Trio, an ensemble composed of professors, performs for charityconcerts. Ewha Professor Bai Il- hwan is the cellist.

Seeing students, or even professors gather together to form an ensemble and perform music is common. However, it is not so common to see those ensembles last for a long time with the same members or make major contributions to the music world. This is exactly what makes the Soma Trio special.

 

The Soma Trio is an ensemble formed by three professors when they were graduate students studying music. It consists of violinist Professor Sohn In-kyung (Korean National University of Arts), cellist Professor Bai Il-hwan (Orchestra Instruments) at Ewha, and pianist Professor Lee Min-jung (The Catholic University of Korea) “The three of us first met at the Yale School of Music in the U.S.  We went to the same class and since there weren’t many Koreans at that time we became very close. We shared the same passion towards music and had the same religion, Christianity.” says Bai. “Some students called us the ‘body trio’ because of our surnames Son, Lee, and Bai, which literally mean hand, teeth and stomach in Korean.”

 

This was how the trio got its name. Soma, in the Great Bible, refers to the revived body of Christ. Just as food is taken by hands, chewed with the teeth, and digested in the stomach, each professor plays his/her own significant part in the music Soma produces. Soma Trio pursues the classic. It gained its popularity after the launch of 1st album due to its perfect harmony and freshness.

 

As unusual as its name, the Soma Trio is not like a typical ensemble, as it combines regular performances with concerts given for charity. At the beginning, in fact, the Soma Trio got together only for church charity performances. However, after returning to Korea, the trio made its debut in 1992 and has since has a prominent role in the chamber music scene here. In December 2006, the Soma Trio held a major charity event called the Beautiful Concert at the Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall, then, traveled abroad in China, the United States, and Korea to celebrate the spirit of giving back.

 

The Soma Trio has not only performed in renowned events, but also played for small churches, factories and nursing homes. All the contributions derived from such events are turned over to local communities and institutions in need of financial assistance. Proceeds of Soma Trio the three albums also go to the needy.

 

With constant calls from numerous chamber music festivals, and charity organizations all over Korea, the Soma Trio had to manage its hectic schedule to perform throughout the country as well as abroad. As a professor of hundreds of Ewha students and a father of two children, Bai, nevertheless, is thankful to have met many people with beautiful minds and says, “Being busy is better. It means you are accepted as an efficient person. As you become busier, you become more arduous and don’t get lazy.”

 

Professors just like students, get into conflict with each other, practice for thousands of hours and also make embarrassing mistakes on stage. “Since we are all different, the three of us do get involved in conflict. But one good thing is that there are three people. One person always acts as a mediator when the other two argues,” says Bai.

 

Professor Bai hopes to perform in the Middle East one day to help bring different religions together under a common theme of pure charity. The Bible says “ ‘But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,’(Matthew 6:4)  However, if it’s for a pure purpose, I think it’s good to let the other hand know so everyone can join.” says Bai. Promoting the idea of giving and sharing, Bai adds, “Just try it, Start with the ones that are right next to you. Good deeds can be done anywhere, anytime easily. Once you put your feet in this culture of charity, it’s like quick sand.”


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