I’m beginning to dream in gugak again. Yes, I’m beginning a new piece for gayageum, the enchanting traditional Korean zither, with string quartet. My first foray into music inspired by traditional Korean music (gugak) was Mudang, for piri (traditional oboe) and string quartet. The success of that work – surprisingly enough, one of my most-performed pieces – deepened my interest in gugak, leading me to spend ten days at the National Gugak Center in Seoul studying it in more depth last summer. Now I have the opportunity to compose a work for premiere at the Pacific Rim Music Festival next fall, for gayageum great Ji Aeri and the fabulous Borromeo Quartet. Combining eastern and western instruments presents challenges for sure, especially if one aims, as I do, to create a sound world where all are on equal footing. But the thrill of the new beckons!