Younghi Pagh-Paan | Photo: Harald Rehling
Younghi Pagh‑Paan (박-파안 영희) was born in 1945 in Cheongju, South Korea. From 1965 to 1971 she studied at the Seoul National University, and then went to Germany in 1974, where she studied on a DAAD scholarship. Her teachers at the Freiburg Musikhochschule included Klaus Huber (composition), Brian Ferneyhough (analysis), Peter Förtig (music theory) and Edith Picht-Axenfeld (piano). She concluded her studies in 1979.
1980/1981 she had a scholarship at the Südwestfunk's Heinrich‑Strobel-Stiftung, and in 1985 a scholarship from the Kunststiftung of Baden-Württemberg. Following guest professorships at the conservatories in Graz (1991) and Karlsruhe (1992/1993), in 1994 Pagh‑Paan was appointed Professor of Composition at the Hochschule der Künste in Bremen. Here she founded the Atelier Neue Musik, which she directed until her retirement in January 2011.
She gained international attention through the performance of her orchestral work Sori at the Donaueschingen Festival in 1980. This was followed by other premieres in 1987, 1998 and 2007.
Pagh-Paan’s work has won numerous awards, most recently, in her home country of South Korea, the Lifetime Achievement Award of Seoul National University (2006), the Order of Civil Merit of the Republic of Korea (2006) and the 15th KBS Global Korean Award (2009). She has been member of the Akademie der Künste, Berlin since 2009. In January 2011 the Senate of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen awarded her the Medal for Art and Science in recognition of her services to the Bremen University of the Arts and to Bremen as a cultural centre. She has also been awarded the Paiknam Prize of the Paiknam Memorial Foundation 2013, Seoul) and the European Church Music Prize (2015, Schwäbisch Gmünd). Since 1980 her works have been published by G. Ricordi & Co. Berlin. In 2013 she gave the papers documenting her work to the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel.
Despite Younghi Pagh‑Paan’s resettlement in Germany, her compositions remain anchored spiritually and emotionally in the traditional art and philosophy of Korea. She lives in Bremen and Panicale (Italy).