YouTube helped bring Seung-Kyung Baek to the GKSOM

YouTube helped bring Seung-Kyung Baek to the GKSOM

calendar icon12 Mar 2019    user iconBy Brian G Reetz

Seung-Kyung Baek
Seung-Kyung Baek

YouTube’s reach and wealth of information is truly mind-blowing. You can watch videos about anything including how to make your favorite food, view gamers actually playing your favorite video game and of course, listen to music.

YouTube is also what helped bring Seung-Kyung Baek to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Glenn Korff School of Music. What, you might say? How is that possible?

Here’s how:

While researching for a graduate school while working on her Master’s at Illinois State University, one of Baek’s friends showed her Hixson-Lied Professor of Piano Dr. Mark Clinton’s recital video on YouTube:

 (the Glenn Korff School of Music posts most of its produced webcasts to its YouTube channel, when approved by the director or the performer). Her friend was searching “Schubert Sonata” and found Dr. Clinton.

“I was so impressed by his performance and I really liked his interpretations,” Baek said. “I searched about him more and found that he was teaching at UNL. That is why I applied here and started studying with him.”

Also, the Glenn Korff School of Music offered her a teaching assistantship, which Baek said is a great opportunity to have such a diverse teaching experience in her music career.

Baek, who grew up in Suwon, which is a suburb of Seoul in South Korea, started playing the piano when she was 4 years old.

“The best influence in my musical life are my parents,” Baek said. “They let me learn (how to play the) piano very early and bought me a piano. They always support me regardless of the results.”

And another key influencer is her professor at the GKSOM.

“My current mentor, Dr. Clinton, is (one of) my biggest influences,” Baek said. “He gives me a lot of knowledge about music and has taught me what real music is about. Also, he teaches me how to enjoy performing.”

Clinton had glowing things to say about Baek as well.

“To sum up Seung-Kyung in a few sentences doesn’t really do her justice—but I’ll try my best,” Clinton said. “As a person, she has the most upbeat attitude and the sunniest disposition of anyone I’ve ever met!  Everyone loves Seung-Kyung because she radiates this kind of positive energy. Without a doubt, she is a tremendously gifted pianist whose solo performances are always an artistic event.  And because Seung-Kyung reads music so well and she learns music so quickly, she is highly sought-after by our students as a recital collaborator.  Simply put, Seung-Kyung’s presence makes Westbrook Music Building a better place for a lot of people.  It has been a real honor and privilege for me to work with her over the past three years.”

Baek will have her two worlds collide coming up in May, when she will travel back home to South Korea with GKSOM faculty as well as some fellow students to perform dance-music collaboration pieces at Hansei University and Gyeonoggi Arts High School as part of a Student Interdisciplinary Creative Activity Grant, offered by the Glenn Korff School of Music.

“I usually go back to Korea every year, but my last travel to Korea was in December of 2016,” Baek said. “I am pretty nervous yet excited at the same time to perform in Korea because it’s been almost 10 years since I played in Korea. Also, I am so glad that I can introduce South Korea to Dr. Ruiz (director of the GKSOM), Dr. Becker (Professor of Cello) and two dance students.”

They will also be joined by Assistant Professor of Practice in Dance Hye-Won Hwang, who is from South Korea.

As for her future, Baek wants to be a collaborative pianist.

“I love to communicate with people through music and bring their artistic ideas to life,” Baek said. “I feel that performances can convey a strong power and emotion to audiences and I enjoy collaborating with people to bring about these experiences.”