After watching and listening to Mina Cho play live via her website www.minachomusic.com it
became very clear that she is by far one of the most gifted pianists to touch the black and whites.
One listen and you’ll see exactly why this Seoul, South Korea native and Berklee College of Music
grad deserves your attention.
IAE: Where are you from and who are some of your biggest musical influences?
MINA: I am from Seoul, South Korea and came to Boston in 2006 to study in Berklee College of Music.
During the first year at Berklee, I met professor Leo Blanco, a virtuoso pianist and composer from Venezuela.
Since I had a strong classical background as a pianist and was not very much exposed to South American
music in Korea, Leo’s music was very fresh and impressive to me – it was an impact on my musical life ever. I
had worked hard with Leo playing, transcribing, and analyzing most of his original compositions and other
African-influenced South American music, which are mostly in odd meters and advanced rhythmic and
harmonic concepts. One of most influential tunes that I worked on during that period was “El Negro y el
Blanco” by Leo Blanco. It was amazing that he just played such a complicated tune by his heart – the chart did
not exist. I fell in love with this tune, which challenged and freshened me, and spent a lot of time to transcribe
it perfectly. Finally I have finished it in 2008 with a lot of Leo’s support. I wrote a tune called “A White Lion” in
2006, which is included in my album Originality, and the tune implies “Leo Blanco,” one of my biggest musical
influences. Besides Leo Blanco’s music, I have been inspired by Brazilian music as you can hear in my album
Originality. Particularly, I wrote the tunes “Originality” and “Choro No.2” inspired by Cesar Camargo Mariano
and Eliane Elias, great Brazilian pianists and composers. And as you can have a glimpse by the title “Corea”
in my album, “Chick Corea” is also one of my biggest musical inspirations.
IAE: What school did you attend and what was your major?
MINA: I graduated from Berklee College of Music “Summa Cum Laude” in 2009 acquiring a degree in Film
Scoring and Jazz Composition.
IAE: What is your most recent album release and how hard has it been for you to promote the
album without a record label’s help?
MINA: I recently released my first album Originality. One of hardest facts that I have been facing as a
musician without a record label’s help is that I have to deal with a lot of business aspects.
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