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Hwang Byung Ki, a native of Seoul and master of the kayagum (a traditional Korean 12-string zither), was awarded the Grand Prize at this year’s Fukuoka Asian Cultural Prizes on Sept. 16. Hwang — who aims to to appeal to both Asian and international audiences by composing music with contemporary sounds — visited Fukuoka City to attend the award ceremony.

“As a composer, I believe I should create the sounds of today,” Hwang told The Japan Times before the ceremony. “If I compose only traditional tunes, they would be something like antiques.”

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