Waterways by Joseph Tabua & Yoon Ha-young

Waterways is a comprovisation originally for gayageum and electric guitar. The term ‘comprovisation’ is used here to reflect unity of music, performance and a place where two parts become influential. Though, as the collaboration ventured out it dared to become something quite majestic. My sentiments about “comprovisation” put forward that cross-cultural collaboration is immensely rewarding. So, it is through this collaboration between Seoul National University and Western Sydney University that encourages discourse around notions of composition and performance. As a cross-cultural composer it is necessary to connect with the other. The other is everything to me, for I am the outsider. In fact, we have all been outsiders at some point in our lives. But, through cross-cultural collaboration we can work selflessly for the good of humanity, or at least create music to motivate the anxious amongst us.

Soundcloud link to Waterways

2021 SNU Online Winter Music Festival – Korean Music Camp

In late October 2020 I was asked to write a piece for Gayageum (Korean plucked zither instrument) and Electric Guitar. The Gayageum was performed by Hayoung Yun of Seoul National University. The collaboration was realised over a number of weeks via email and a live feed to one recording session that took place in ”The Live Room” at Western Sydney University. ‘Waterways’ first premiered at Western Sydney University on November 10th and ‘Waterways’ was featured at Seoul National University’s Korean Music Camp Seminar in 2021. Below is a video of the conference as well as some other incredible pieces.

Seminar – New Creativity: Korea and Australia Music Collaboration Hyelim Kim (Taegum, Ph.D.) This session will explore the creative dialogue between Korean traditional musicians at Seoul National University and composers at Western Sydney University. The process of music making including composition, performance as well as the final product of recording the collaborated pieces will be explained by the students and faculty who participated in this project. The discussions will tackle the intercultural communication used for musical exchanges between Korea and Australia. Chair/ prof. Anna Yates-lu Panels/ Prof. Ji-young Yi, Dr. Bruce Crossman, Dr. Hyelim Kim Student Collaborations/ Jinju Yang, Robert Moss, Eon-hwa Lee, Joseph Tabua, Hayoung Yun
— 제작/ 서울대학교 국악과 (과장 김경아) Presented by SNU KOREAN MUSIC (Prof. Kim Kyeong Ah) 스탭/ 박진형, 김지원, 이은비 Staff/ Park Jinhyoung, Kim jiwon, Lee EunBee, 기술/ 김종록 Engineer/ Kim Jong-rock 디자인/ 성주혜 Design/ Sung Joohye 도움주신 분/ 김혜림 선생님 Special thanks to Hyelim Kim @서울대학교 관악캠퍼스 Seoul National University SNU KOREAN MUSIC CAMP 2021

Waterways for Gayageum and Electric Guitar

Film Maker: Vincent Tay & JT

‘Waterways’ recording session

Recording guitar parts while Gayageum player Hayoung Yun watches from Korea

Altamira Hong Kong International Guitar Symposium and Competition

So thrilled to announce that I will be presenting a lecture at the Altamira Hong Kong International Guitar Symposium in July 2019. Even more exciting is the theme of this years conference, this being, improvisation. Colleagues who know me well, understand how dear improvisation is to me. Both on a spiritual level and in my academic life. The wonderful thing about improvisation is the fleeting quality it presents. You can hold on to one single chord, one idea. Then you can play with the inversions, omit chord tones and run the gamut between diatonic and chromatic harmony. There’s so much that can be done, because the standard 32-64 measures doesn’t necessarily apply here. Sometimes, this is a mirror of life, where one takes risks, falls down and gets back up again. However, for me, as I get older I am becoming a lot more empathetic towards the audience. Previously, I had no desire to please the general public. Although, sincerely, I was only being true to my art and I achieved this by being dead serious. Both on stage and in the practice room. Some are fortunate to have had musical training and others are usually self taught. I began my musical journey as a self taught musician, but I have become even more stronger since studying composition at university. If we train ourselves (musically), even feed ourselves with musical concepts, this will give us the patience to investigate improvisation and pedagogies. Therefore enabling us the ability to communicate our intentions as well as creating a relevant dialogue with the audience and inner voice. Our musical voice.

‘SCOUT’ Album Launch University of Tasmania Conservatorium of Music



On the 18th of August my duo Tabua-Harrison that features Holly Harrison on Drums and myself on Electric Guitar performed at the University of Tasmania Conservatorium of Music. It was our final destination of the tour to support our brand new improvised music album titled ‘Scout’. Joining Tabua-Harrison throughout the CD launches were fellow Pyschopyjama label mates Espadrille. A week before this both bands appeared at Johnston Street Jazz in Annandale and Junction 142 in Katoomba. Overall it was a delightful experience and there were many highs and some lows. Sydney Morning Herald’s John Shand gave Tabua-Harrison and Espadrille three and a half stars for their Annandale show.

“My personal preference was to listen to the music with closed eyes. The more brutal the music the better it was”.  John Shand

It can be hard sometimes to find your place. My musical voice has jazz sensitivity, funk, metal, gospel, classical and world music influences. Especially when I think about harmony.  Still, there’s another side of me that wants to be loud and ferocious. In fact, I want to be all of these things. So, outsiders might perceive this cultural omnivourous concept as a problem. I use this omnivourous preference as a way to assert identity. Some people may be confused, if not confronted by improvised and experimental music. However, it is my truth and if I do what is expected and take the easy road, well, then, I  have failed. There’s a common expression I continuously keep hearing. That being, ‘You’re too loud for this jazz club’. ‘I’m sorry you’re a bit too jazzy (experimental) for us mainstream folk’. Nevertheless, I am motivated by the American composer and jazz pianist Theolonius Monk who once said: “I say, play your own way. Don’t play what the public wants. You play what you want and let the public pick up on what you’re doing? Even, if it takes them fifteen to twenty years”.