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P R E S S   Q U O T E S

"Korean composer Sungji Hong’s Flamingly drew inspiration from the Hieronymus Bosch painting An Angel Leading a Soul into Hell. Bosch, known for wild and fantastic depiction of religious subjects, is a fertile source for the contemplation of hell. Hong’s work was not only original and striking but was also true to the painter, merging her macabre and nightmarish view of hell with Bosch’s. The success of her composition begins with her use of motifs, which she described briefly in remarks before the performance. She told us she had a motif for walking, one for descending and one for fiery flames. These were more structural than melodic, but offered a robust skeleton on which she created the flesh of her music."

M.L.Rantala, Hyde Park Herald (December 5, 2023) on Flamingly

“Tonally fragile”

Amina Mendez, Berlin-Mitte Zeitung (November 2, 2023) on Estavrosan

“This is impressive. A largely contemporary, contemplative, and often complex programme is performed with exceptional poise by the girls’ choir and harpist Cheryl Ann Fulton. Sungji Hong’s mesmeric Lux Aeterna is the pick of several highlights.”

5 star review from BBC Music Magazine (13 June 2023) on Lux Aeterna for the CD Love & Light by iSing Silicon Valley


“Created an individual sound world with a very effective use of extended techniques."

Gavin Wayte and Milica Milojevic Bogdanovicthey, E-Flute Festival (23 May 2020) on Fruscio


Luminous Flux, Exevalen, and Bisbigio-each wild and strangely beautiful-feature highly imaginative instrumental writing, while Missa Lumen de Lumine and Nunc dimittis explore the human voice.”

Josh Rodriguez, The Gospel Coalition-Section Arts & Culture (7 May 2020)


“Evocative aural soundscapes”

soundON Festival (2019-2020 season) on Lazare veni foras !


“Totul a culminat cu o nouă incursiune în sfera sonorităților desprinse din jocul culorilor timbrale, Luminous Fluxputând fi privită drept o invitație a compozitoarei sud-coreene Sungji Hong de a parcurge un traseu plin de mister, în care lumina ne însoțeşte permanent, sub toate formele sale – de la ipostaza de contur ambiguu până la cea de flacără. Urmărind desfăşurarea profilurilor melodice dezvoltătoare, acest parcurs dinspre transparență spre dramatic îşi găseşte punctul terminus în momentul în care, prin contopirea sonorităților şi a timbrurilor, lumina se dezvăluie în cea mai complexă formă a sa, flacăra, a cărei menire este aceea de a distruge, dar și de a înălța.”

Ana Maria Cazacu, Centrul de Informare Muzicala (23 May 2019) on Luminous Flux

"La gala continuó con un estreno más: The Light of the World, de la coreana Sungji Hong, una obra que goza de gran luminosidad sonora y que a los asistentes los dejo con un buen sabor de boca."
La Jornada (7 June 2015)

“Subtle progress from unison to polyphony lingered on the individual sonorities, fully immersing the listener in Hong’s gorgeous harmonies.”
Stefanie Lubkowski, Boston Classical Review (24 May 2014) on Ficus enim non florebit

“The orchestra Oviedo Filarmonía, directed by Cesar Alvarez, opened the musical evening with the Operatic Breaches of Sungji Hong, a contemporary work with great expressive complexity.”
M. Perez, La Nueva España (31 August2013) on Operatic Breaches

"Starting from a rich in color orchestral spectrum, in which the dynamics to obtain precise and meticulous sound effects are enhanced, allowing to create an atmosphere that shows her control over writing for an orchestra."
Alessandra Bellino, La Nueva España (18 November 2012) on Operatic Breaches

“The music of Sungji Hong is virtuosic, challenging, beautiful and celestial. Her music is luminous as the northern lights, the rainbow of the dark nights.”
Kolbeinn Bjarnason (2012), Caput Ensemble on Sweetness of Stars

“Yet the most crystalline pillars in this house of mist and time resolve themselves in Hong’s beautiful Missa Lumen de lumine. Written in 2002 and dedicated to the Trio, it grows like vines in ruins grown truer with age. Like the light of its title, this mass is composed of prismatic strands, some of which unify in single threads of chant and others of which refract, visualizing the nature of their own splitting. Between the heavenly Gloria and Agnus Dei, one is left drifting in these precise rhythms and changes. Hong is highly respectful of the texts of the Mass Ordinary and forms of each line a secret braid, ending often with a subtle flourish in the spirit.”
Tyran Grillo, Between sound and space (8 June.2012) on Missa Lumen de lumine

 “This music sounds how it does because it wants to, not because it is trying to please anybody, and not because it sets out to be approachable.”
Kim Ashton, Old meets new-Oxford University Press (August 7 2012) on Missa Lumen de Lumine

"In Ms. Hong’s setting the antique influences were melodic, and the harmonies and fluid dynamics modern."
Allan Kozinn, The New York Times (30 March 2007) on Missa Lumen de lumine

“It had fantasy, colour and drive.”
Nottingham evening post (17 July 2007) on Black Arrow

“The concert closed with the Irish premiere of the Shades of Raindrops by Korean composer Sungji Hong. Contrary to its title, suggesting pastels and impressionism, this was cool music whose opening high-pitched long notes returned periodically to punctuate outbursts of rhythmic energy and to effect seamless transitions between tranquility and animation.”
Michael Dungan, The Irish Times (24 November 2009) on Shades of Raindrops

"a work of iridescent freshness"
Barry Witherden, BBC Music Magazine (October 2005) on Missa Lumen de lumine

"The sound is utterly luminous"
John Story, Fanfare Magazine (Jan/Feb 2006) on Missa Lumen de lumine

"a virtuoso exploration of the technical and sonorous possibilities of three high voices."
Elizabeth Roche, Daily Telegraph (8 Oct 2005) on Missa Lumen de lumine

"The ringing tones and soaring harmonies take us to a sublime soundscape of wonder and meditation."
Premarily a cappella on Missa Lumen de lumine

"By subtly exploiting complex vocal tessituras, the 30-minute composition creates exquisite sonorities. It constantly explores colours, images and timbres."
Muzyka Dawna, BLUE NOTE PRZECENA on Missa Lumen de lumine

"Hong uses register and spacing among the voices to marvelous effect."
James Manheim, BMG-Music Service (2006) on Missa Lumen de lumine

"Its direct expressive aim and contemplative clarity make it an eloquent complement to early sacred music."
Scott Paulin, Barnes & Noble (2006) on Missa Lumen de lumine

"Sungji Hong's mass Lumen de Lumine showcases the piercing heights and soulful depths of the trio's art."
Marion Lignana Rosenberg, vilaine fille (10 November 2005) on Missa Lumen de lumine

“Sound and concept dovetail beautifully in Shades of Raindrops by Korean composer Sungji Hong. The impressionist changes evoke the different colors and patterns of raindrops, from light drizzle to heavy torrents.”
Peter Holslin, San Diego CityBeat (15 June 2010) on Shades of Raindrops

“Ensemble Linea will give a musical portrait of Sungji Hong, one of the major young Korean composers. She likes to fuse classical instruments and the magnetic loops of electronic music.”
Champ Libre (May 2010)

"The Kyrie begins polyphonically, with each voice entering in a low range then developing into three-part sections, some marked by extremely close harmonies. The Agnus Dei begins with a high cluster of intervals of a second, and features a low unison, blossoming upward into similar clusters."
Anna Carol Dudley, San Francisco Classical Voice (25 March 2007) on Missa Lumen de lumine

"The soprano’s vocals built tension through vocal entanglement and release when voices are permitted to soar to the rafters. It's amazing how large three voices can sound. Without any instrumentation, not even an organ booming in the background."
Patty-Lynne Herlevi, World Music Central (3 March 2006) on Missa Lumen de lumine

"The mass’s sometimes chromatic, otherworldly sonorities contrast beautifully with what preceded them, opening a mystical doorway to realms where Spirit resonates in pure, soaring tone."
Jason Victor Serinus, Spirit of Change on Missa Lumen de lumine

“Hong’s music, complex and subtle, always remains accessible – partly because the ever-changing textures direct listeners so effectively towards what she really wants us to hear, and partly because she is constantly exploring different colours, images and timbres. She seems to have absorbed sound worlds not only from her native Korea but from her exploration in electroacoustic music with its special focus on timbre.”
Nicky Losseff, ECM (2005) on Missa Lumen de lumine

"It’s an original and inspired setting, contrasting with Byrd’s version of the same text…"
Stephen Layton, Director of Music at the Temple Church (January 2005) on Emendemus in melius

“Partiendo de una paleta orquestal de rico espectro cromático en la que destaca el trabajo de las dinámicas con claros gestos para obtener precisos y detallistas efectos sonoros, la obera permite crear una atmósfera que demuestra su dominio de la escritura para orquesta.”
Alessandra Bellino, La Nueva España (18 November 2012) on Operatic Breaches

 “Resting in Light la partitura galardonada con el Premio Internacional de Composicion Jesus Villa rojo de la Foundacion Siglo Futuro de Guadajara, escrita por la compositora Sungji Hong, ha sido ampliamente valorada por los miembros del Jurado, formado por personalidades de la vida musical internacional, por la claridad de las ideas, por la nitidez de las propuestas instrumentales y por la concepción universal de su lenguaje. Es una composición muy matizada en la personalidad que se atribuye al clarinete (instrumento protagonista del Premio), como instrumento que contrasta con el trío de arcos combinados entre sí para mantener un permanente diálogo “soli-tutti”.
El análisis hace valorar la aproximación musical que la convivencia social y cultural está produciendo entre los países y los continentes. Este ejemplo de Hong ratifica la universalidad de la música como expresión que relaciona el sentido artístico más allá del origen y las raíces culturales.
Sungji Hong en su partitura consigue sumergirnos en mundos que estarían lejanos de no ser por la capacidad del sonido para empequeñecer el planeta. No renuncia a sus orígenes raciales pero sabe adornar y embellecer las ideas de tal forma que se desconoce la procedencia al presentar un mundo sin fronteras dado que la música (este es un buen ejemplo) supera cualquier esquema entre países. Se trata en realidad de una concepcion compositiva virtuosistica, pensada para interpretes virtuosos.”

Jesus Villa-Rojo, Fundacion Siglo Futuro - Memoria Guadalajara (2009) on Resting in Light

"홍성지의 ‘루멘 데 루미네’ 미사는 트리오 메디에발을 위해 쓰여진 곡으로, 여성 보컬의 복잡한 테시투라를 미묘하게 이용하면서 30여분 동안 정교한 소노리티를 창조하고 있다. 색채감과 이미지 그리고 질감들을 끊임없이 탐험해 나가는 이 곡은 중세 후기의 통상 미사의 전형적인 세팅을 출발점으로 삼고 있어 난해하지 않은 신선하고 아름다운 곡이다."
Ivan Moody, Gramophone (December 2005) on Missa Lumen de lumine

“이날 눈에 띄는 작곡가는 한국의 홍성지가 아닐까 싶다. 서울시향의 위촉으로 작곡한 피아노와 오케스트라를 위한 프리즈마틱이 피아니스트 임수현의 협연으로 세계초연 되었다. 세종체임버홀이 좁게 느껴질 만큼 거대한 물결을 이끌며 그의 음악은 시종 다양한 표정으로 청중의 기대를 충족해갔다, 오케스트레이션 자체도 흥미로웠으며 악기들의 끝없이 새로운 조합들은 홍성지가 가진 음악세계의 폭을 가늠하기 어렵게 했다. 강하지만 거칠지 않고 작은 다이내믹에서도 늦추지 않게했다.”
유영희, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra (December 2008) on Prismatic

“작곡가 진은숙씨가 진행하는 서울시향의 현대음악 프로젝트 ‘아르스노바’는 지난 3년간 놀랄만큼 많은 곡을 초연했다. 이 시리즈의 세번째 위촉작인 홍성지 (35)씨의 피아노와 오케스트라를 위한 프리즈마틱이 25일 세종문화화관 체임버홀에서 세계초연되었다. 저음악기 튜바와 트롬본이 포함된 22명의 오케스트라와 피아노솔로 (협연 임수연)가 연주한 이 작품은 ‘보는 각도에 따라 달라지는 빛’ 또는 일곱빛깔 무지개 색’이라는 뜻의 제목에 걸맞게 현란한 색채감각이 돋보이는 곡이다. 소리는 저음에서 으르렁대는 피아노로 시작해 낮고 무겁게 뭉쳤다가 높고 날카롭게 날아오른다. 최고음과 처저음을 오가는 급상승과 급강하가 현기증을 일으키고, 그 과정에서 나타나는 강렬한 대조와 끓어오르는 에너지가 다양한 색채를 화려하게 빛어낸다. 매우 흥미롭고 근사하지만 연주하기엔 몹시 까다로운 이 곡을 서울시향은 훌륭하게 소화해 큰 박수를 받았다.
색채는 홍성지 음악의 핵심이다. 그는 “소리에 색을 입히는 것이 목표” 라며 “내음악이 강렬하게 채색되고, 물결치고 행동하는 색채로 들리길 원한다”고 말한다. 거기엔 빨강 파랑 금색 등 강렬한 원색을 쓰는 그리스정교의 이콘 (성화)에 대한 관심과, 색채를 추구했던 메시앙 등 프랑스 작곡가들의 영향이 작용했다고 한다.” 

오미환, 한국일보 (29 October 2008) on Prismatic

“Ihm geht es in seinem String Quartet No2 (2005) schlicht um die Erkundung des Flageolett-Spekrums.”
Von Dietrich Heibenbüttel, Stuttgarter Zeitung (4 April 2006) on String Quartet No2

“Bis vor wenigen Jahren waren Interpretationen mittelalterlicher geistlicher Gesänge noch eine reine Männerdomäne. Welch betörend neue Farben, welch schwebende Klanglichkeit ein Frauenensemble in die ferne Welt der Organa und Conductus tragen kann, beweist das norwegisch-schwedische Trio Mediaeval. ... Wunderbar der Atem, den die drei Sängerinnen über die kunstvoll fortschreitenden Quart- und Quintketten legen, beeindruckend die Leuchtkraft ihrer Stimmen, das Gespür für die in sich ruhende Architektur dieser Werke. Ein emotional offeneres Feld erschließt sich in der Missa Lumen de Lumine, die das Ensemble bei der koreanischen Komponistin Sungji Hong in Auftrag gegeben hat: ein fast unmerklich aus der mittelalterlichen Klangwelt sich emanzipierendes Werk, dessen klangliche Schärfungen und Verdichtungen aufs Subtilste ausgehorcht erscheinen.”
Christoph Ballmer, Neue Zürcher Zeitung on Missa Lumen de lumine

“Die Norwegerinnen konzentrieren sich auf ein Repertoire aus Mittelalter und Renaissance einerseits und zeitgenössischen Werken andererseits. Dass das Konzept auch auf der neuen CD so überzeugend aufgeht, liegt einerseits an der schlüssigen Programmzusammenstellung, die Werke aus dem 13. Jahrhundert mit der kunstvoll archaisierenden Klangsprache von Sungji Hongs Missa Lumen de Lumine kombiniert. Und andererseits an der vorzüglichen Ensemblekultur des Trio Mediaeval, das den Hörer hier mit einer lupenreinen Darbietung betört.
Marcus Stäbler, Fono Forum on Missa Lumen de lumine

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