Mr. Kim Duk-soo is one of the leading traditional performing artists in Korea. He is not only an acknowledged master of traditional Korean music, but also a prolific creator of modern music. The "Samulnori", a traditional percussion quartet which he formed, has brought him much fame both at home and abroad.
Mr. Kim's artistic career began when his father took him to Namsadang (a touring artistic company) at the age of five. He was quick to reveal his outstanding talent, and gained the reputation of a 'Changgu(double headed drum) child prodigy'. When he was seven, he became the youngest person ever to win a President’s Award. At the Seoul Traditional Art School, he learned the technique and theories of traditional Korean music, and after performing on various international stages such as the Mexico Olympics and the Osaka Exposition, he came to recognize the value of traditional Korean rhythm. Driven by these experiences, he collected samples of traditional rhythms, put them into his own music, and pursued new musical expressions appropriate to the new generation.
In 1978, Mr. Kim formed the "Samulnori", which has been very active in a variety of ways. In more than 5,500 performances in over 50 countries including Japan, it has kept on reinterpreting traditional Korean music in a modern way, and has continued to produce cutting-edge contemporary music.
In 1993, Mr. Kim founded an NPO, "Samulnori Hanullim". He has devoted enormous effort to train the younger generation, and to modernize the traditional arts through collaboration with jazz, orchestra, dance, theater and fine art. He received a number of prizes including the Order of Culture Merit (Silver Crown Medal) and the KBS (Korean Broadcasting System) Best Traditional Musician Award. He was also chosen as one of the "50 Most Distinguished Koreans in the 50 Years since National Liberation" by the Chosun Daily newspaper. As a professor at the Department of Traditional Folk Theatrics, School of Traditional Arts, Korean National University of Arts, he engages both in research into traditional arts and in educating the young.
As a leading figure in Korean traditional arts, who has gained a worldwide reputation, Mr. Kim Duk-soo is indeed a worthy recipient of the Arts and Culture Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes.