Kunsu Shim is a composer and performance artist. His sound world is a melting pot of ideas from opposing forces such as chaos and order, chance and causality, striding and lingering, running away and interruption, smooth and rough – I and you (WE) merge. Shim understands his works to be a contemplation of form, and so without mysticism. His performances in the tradition of Fluxus seek to destroy the visibile reality of things and thus render them intangible.
Deeply influenced by his cooperation with German composer Gerhard Stäbler since the 1990s, their original concept of “PerformanceMusik” has led to many collaborative projects. From 2000 to 2010 and since its reopening in autumn 2015, Shim and Stäbler founded and have directed the EarPort in Duisburg’s Inner Harbour as a place for “experimental music and encounter of the arts”. From there, numerous concepts were created, often in cooperation with partners such as the Schlosstheater Moers, the GROSSE Kunstausstellung NRW (Kunstpalast Düsseldorf), Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Lower Rhine Muziek Biennale, Diocese of Würzburg, OPENING Trier, Bergen Festival, Museum ARTER Istanbul and many more. Extensive tours have taken Shim and Stäbler as composers, teachers and performance artists to many countries in Europe, Australia, North and South America, Israel, Japan and Korea.
Significant premieres of the last decade include AFTER A HUNDRED YEARS for soprano and orchestra (commissioned by the Essen Philharmonie, 2011), the orchestral work AND HERE AGAIN – eine Perlenlandschaft (commissioned by the Würzburg Philharmonic and the Kunststiftung NRW, 2014), WOLKEN.BLINDENSCHRIFT for soprano, vocal ensemble and orchestra (commissioned by the Diocese of Würzburg for St. Kilian’s Cathedral, 2016) and DAS FEINE, DAS FLÜCHTIGE (commissioned by the Norwegian ensemble Bit20, 2017).
In 2018/19, Kunsu Shim wrote the ensemble work leise, frei and the string quartet luft.inneres, as a commission by the Kunststiftung NRW. For the nationwide anniversary project Beethoven2020, he composed the orchestral work VON HIER FORT? – An Intermezzo to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and the performance with Beethoven symphonies for several record players ... ÖFFNETE PLÖTZLICH DIE AUGEN. In September 2022, the ensemble piece KLEINES, FERNES (also a commission by the Kunststiftung NRW), composed for the project Musik der (Un)Ruhe/Music of (Dis)Quiet, inspired by Fernando Pessoa’s Book of Restlessness, was released on DVD.
During the pandemic years 2020 and 2021 Shim and Stäbler realised numerous major digital projects such as TIEFEN·SCHÄRFE for the Lower Rhine Muziek Biennale or the concert series Quadrophonien in collaboration with composers from Ukraine, Great Britain, the Netherlands and South Korea. In 2022 and 2023, the two composers were appointed for the second time as visiting professors at the University of the Arts (EUM) Montevideo, Uruguay, and as guest lecturers at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. Interrupted by the restrictions of the pandemic, Shim and Stäbler completed three residencies of several weeks in 2019 and 2022/23 as artists in residence at the Atelier Galata of the Kunststiftung NRW in Istanbul (Turkey). Here they gave workshops at BAU University, culminating in a concert at Kunsthaus Barın Han, and conceived the concert project Good-Bye Paradise? for the exhibition This Play at the ARTER Museum of Contemporary Art with the Hezarfen Ensemble. This successful collaboration will continue in November 2023 with ATEMWENDE, a second concert at ARTER Istanbul to accompany the exhibition of the renowned artist Sarkis.
2018 saw the publication of leise, frei. der komponist kunsu shim, the first comprehensive book on the composer. The anthology DAZWISCHEN. Die Zusammenarbeit der Komponisten Kunsu Shim und Gerhard Stäbler from 2022 includes current scholarly contributions on Shim’s work as well as a CD with piano and chamber music works by the two composers. Also in 2022, the renowned British label anothertimbre.com released the portrait CD luft.inneres with the Luna String Quartet.