Music Friends Feature

This month, I had the honor of being interviewed and featured in the September Issue of Music Friends Magazine. Chatting about music in general and the projects I've been part of over the years was fun. I don't read Korean so well but my wife tells me the writer's depiction of my work is glowing. I am grateful and deeply humbled. Those of you who can read Korean, feel free to read through the article below. Just don't laugh at my tight pants in the photos.

[Click to turn pages.]

Sound design for YG ENTERTAINMENT - #Winner #iKon

On a rare occasion I will do some sound design projects. This one was for Korea's famed K-pop artist development company, YG Entertainment. Directed by the very talented Ziyong Kim of Fantazylab, the project was challenging but I really enjoyed working "from the other side" of the audio world, so to speak, as sound design is an area I don't get to explore as much in my compositional projects. You could say that music is just one aspect of sound design. In this project, I was charged with creating the world which these characters inhabited - giving them sonic life and accent amidst the score. Take a peek. The concept is pretty wild.

Best Original Score in the 2015 The Musical Awards

I am so excited and humbled to have been awarded Best Original Score for The Devil along with my collaborators Gihieh Lee and Gina Lee. This musical was a labor of love for all those involved and it was a gratifying experience to be part of this amazingly talented team of actors and staff. The Devil featured some of Korea's brightest talents such as Michael K. Lee, Jisang Han (한지상), Hyung-yeol Yun (윤형렬), Yongjin Song (송영진) and Jihyun Cha (차지현). I wrote some songs with extreme ranges and the singing was off the hook. I'm keeping my fingers crossed to see this production come back onto the stage some day soon.

Scoring a short "proof-of-concept" film

The premise of this story really intrigued me and being a huge fan of sci-fi, without any hesitation I happily threw myself into creating the score for director E.B. Rhee's short film, The Garden. The first thing he told me was that he didn't want a typical sci-fi score - that is, bombastic orchestration and the like. Instead he was looking for something more on the "alternative" side - whatever that meant! After some discussion we agreed that the goal would be to evoke suspense, action, and tension by sonically engaging the audience with electronic/inorganic sounds blended together with some traditional elements such as piano, strings, and low brass. The result was a nice interplay of moody textures of hard to identify origin blended together with melodic material that was often more gestural punctuations accenting what was happening visually. It almost bordered on sound design at times however this is not surprising as the line between music and sound design grows more and more blurry as films and their sonic footprints evolve.  

The Garden is a proof-of-concept film based on a new feature screenplay - a sci-fi reimagining of "Paradise Lost". This was my first collaboration with director E.B. Rhee and writer Aaron Strongoni (Linsanity). The project was also fortunate to get producer Polly Johnsen attached (Wrath of the Titans, Slumdog Millionaire, Harry Potter films) to develop the project to a feature film.  Deadline article here.  

Telematic Research Grant

I was recently awarded a research grant by Seoul Institute of the Arts (SIA) in the areas of Telematic Performance, Composition, Recording and Pedagogy. I'll be working closely with noted composer and telematic performer Michael Dessen of The University of California, Irvine (UCI), along with fellow SIA colleagues to put together a pedagogical manual for the artistic use of telematic technology and to create a telematic concert series. What is telematic technology, you ask? It's the use of the internet as a medium to engage in realtime participation to remote locations around the world. Simply put, it's like playing music with others over Skype... but at a much higher quality. Like Skype on audio-steroids! I'll keep you posted on my progress. 

Han River Flows 한강은 흐른다

I had the extreme pleasure of working with Professor Oh Tae-seok 오태석, a legend in Korean theater on the newly conceived production of Han River Flows, a play by renowned playwright and late founder of Seoul Institute of the Arts, Yoo Chi-Jin 유치진. Scoring the music for this play was a pleasure to do. Though set during ravages of the Korean War, the director insisted on creating a sonic texture that was outside of that period - like 100 years ahead! I absolutely love having this kind of vision from a director and being pushed to venture outside of the box. The surreal play is moving and bizarre at the same time. 

Scoring Seoul Searching

I got to once again join forces with my friend and Director Benson Lee on our 3rd feature film together to provide a score for the film that's been 16 years in the making, Seoul Searching. An '80s teen comedy based on Benson's personal experience at a government summer camp for Korean kids from around the world back in 1986, I had to write the score around a soundtrack featuring 80s tunes everyone has come to know and love. Given the iconic soundtrack, my score was focused on exploring the characters' inner lives while the soundtrack captured the spirit of the times. Look out for Seoul Searching coming your way. 

Divided Families

Divided Families


I recently completed the score for Divided Films - a moving and compelling documentary about the many Korean American families who are still hurting from decades of separation from their relatives that they were split apart from during the Korean War.  Guided by the passionate director/producer team of Jason Ahn, Eugene Chung, and Kieun Baek, Divided Families follows the stories of four families who share their experiences and hope for their families to still be in North Korea. The score for Divided Families was performed by the world famous haegum virtuoso and my good friend, Kang Eunil and her ensemble Haegum Plus.

SUM Skin Products, starring 한효주

I was tickled to have my piece "New Frontiers" chosen for SUM's newest skin products starring the beautiful Korean actress 한효주 (Han Hyo-joo).  

Girls On The Wall

Girls on the Wall, directed by Heather Ross is a captivating  film that follows a group of incarcerated teenage girls who get a shot at redemption in the most unlikely form: a musical based on their lives. This was a lot of fun to score as it involved composing both original music in the usual non-diegetic manner but also scoring scenes based on diegetic sounds as well. For example we see a young woman pounding out a hip hop beat with her hands on a table. I then took that beat and added to it to be the basis of the non-diegetic score that slowly over takes the original on screen musical theme. [Click picture to watch trailer.]

Baby Mama High

Baby Mama High is a short documentary directed by Heather Ross that follows the journey of young teenage mother Yessenia.  It’s the last few weeks of high school for Yessenia, a soft-spoken senior with two small daughters and a boyfriend who’d rather she stay at home than go to school. Yessenia is forced to choose: stand up for herself and her daughters, or give in to expectation.  This is the second film Heather and I worked on together and I am always impressed with her compassion and devotion to raising awareness of important social issues, especially among young women, as with  our other collaboration Girls On the Wall.

Woody on the Radio!

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by the lovely Junghyun Ahn on the radio station TBS eFM, 101.3 FM.  Check out the interview below!


Amore Pacific Theme Song for Beautiful Life Center

Amore Pacific's state-of-the-art corporate headquarters showcases a spectacular corporate visitor experience. I had the pleasure of writing the main theme song for the leading beauty and health company, Amore Pacific's Beautiful Life Center, a multimedia space featuring exhibits and interactive experiences highlighting all things Amore Pacific.  A truly international affair, with choirs in both Seoul and Los Angeles, I attempted to capture the global spirit of the experience through the song. Watch a clip of the experience center, or listen to both the Korean and English versions of "Beauty We Create" which features some amazing singers from both Seoul and Los Angeles!  The English version features one of my favorite singing couples - DeeDee Magno and Clifton Hall!  Great job guys!

The Four Seasons: Kang Eunil & HaegumPlus (강은일 & 해금플러스)

Commissioned by the world renowned Kang Eunil and her group HaegumPlus, I had the wonderful opportunity to compose and present The Four Seasons, a musical tribute to the beauty and whimsy of the beautiful Korean seasons. The piece was debuted in November, 2012 to great reviews and a sold out audience at the National Gugak Theater in Seoul.  An upcoming album is in the works.  Listen to a sample of one of the pieces below!


New Collaborations with Image Bakery

At the end of 2013, I found myself collaborating on two projects with the award-winning and premier digital design company Image Bakery led by CEO Paul Choi. Image Bakery works exclusively with notable artists such as Do Ho Suh and innovative companies among a diverse field of clients by creative branding content in the forms of video, apps, and installations. I'm excited about our work together and look forward to a fruitful and creative partnership.


Score for The Wedding Palace

Directed by Christine Yoo and starring Bobby Lee, Kang Hye-jung, Maragaret Cho, and Brian Tee, the Korean American rom-com "The Wedding Palace" will be opening in selected US theaters on September 27, 2013! I got to write the score for The Wedding Palace and have my licensing company Chaos Theory Music to provide music supervision for the film. The colorful and humorous story is matched by a melange of K-pop and traditional Korean tracks featured on the film's soundtrack. Go check it out!

The Wedding Banquet Musical

The Wedding Banquet is a musical based on Ang Lee's film by the same name.  Book and Lyrics by Brian Yorkey, Music by Woody Pak, and Conceived by Welly Yang. The Wedding Banquet had its premiere in 2003 and is being revived by director Gina Lee for Korean audiences in 2016.  

Score for Horror-Thriller film Playback

On our second project together, director Mike Nickles and I teamed up on this exciting thriller.  While digging into their town's infamous past, a group of high school students unwittingly unlock an even darker secret. Now, an evil spirit has been awakened and will stop at nothing to find his true heir.  It was a lot of fun to do! Instead of using many of the usual musical tropes and sounds in horror films I instead tried to go for a palette that had a warped electronic nature as its base with elements of more traditional instruments accenting the visuals. 

A Little Mandarin

A Little Mandarin Features Fresh, Organic Fun for the Entire Family

15 Beloved Chinese Children’s Songs with a Modern Sound

My old friend Toni McNicoll one day asked me if I'd be interested in producing and arranging an album of Chinese children's songs. Having two little ones myself, I couldn't resist the opportunity. A Little Mandarin is an international album that features a collection of Chinese children's classics - songs loved by families in China for generations - given new life with a contemporary sound and voice. The album's 15 tracks fuses rock, pop, dance, ska, and hip hop influences with playful lyrics to make it a unique and fun learning companion for all ages. Check out a few of the songs below!