I was born into a poor farmer’s family as the fifth of eight children in Chonnae County, Kangwon Province before the country’s liberation from the Japanese military occupation. As my family was so poor from generation to generation, none of our family members had an access to school. If President Kim Il Sung had not liberated the country, I, too, would have spent my life in tears as a poor farmer’s son and a farmhand.
This is part of autobiography of Pak Hyong Sop, section chief of the Juche music institute of Pyongyang Kim Won Gyun Conservatory.
From his childhood, Pak Hyong Sop was renowned as a musical prodigy in the village for having a good ear. Once, his father gave him tanso (Korean bamboo flute) for a birthday present. The boy used to play on the flute the folksong Arirang. Then, villagers would gather around him to listen to the music, lamenting about their miserable fate as they were deprived of their country by the Japanese imperialists. One day, Japs wrested the flute from his weak hands and broke it off. Since then, he did not play the flute.
The country’s liberation (August 15, 1945) brought the song back to him again.
Seeing him with the flute in his hands, his mother said in tears that he looked like a seed in the fertile land.
Listening to her, he felt gratitude to the fatherland and made up his mind to spend his life as a musician who would do good things for the country.
The country saw to it that he studied at the national music faculty of the then Pyongyang University of Music and appointed him as a teacher after graduation.
He devoted his enthusiasm to training reserve national musicians. In a few years after starting his career, he brought up promising reserve national musicians. He has trained a number of national instrument players and academic degree and title holders up to now.
At present, his disciples are active as prominent artistes and performers.
In addition, he wrote books and reference books of national value, including National Musical Instruments of Korea, and took part in some international symposiums, making a contribution to demonstrating the fine qualities of national music.
In recognition of his achievements, the country awarded him with the title of a candidate academician and presented him with a birthday spread on his 80th birthday.
On his birthday, he played the folksong Arirang with the flute, full of pleasure and happiness.
He is still devoting himself to the research for the development of national music and the training of reserve musicians.