Ensemble Mik Nawooj present the concert version of their immersive hip-hop oratorio, Death Become Life.

Portraying a story about loss and transformation through the lens of composer and pianist JooWan Kim’s magnetic score, MCs Do D.A.T, and Sandman’s riveting rhymes backed by a chamber orchestra, and graffiti inspired artwork by Ernest Doty, this is Ensemble Mik Nawooj’s most ambitious production to date.

Death Become Life deconstructs classic Hip-Hop tracks from the 1990s, representing both the East and West coast. This production was commissioned by the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA and by ESPN for Super Bowl 50.

Watch Ensemble Mik Nawooj videos:

The Future of Hip-Hop

California Soul



Led by composer/pianist, JooWan Kim, Hip Hop Orchestra Ensemble Mik Nawooj creates New Concert Music based on the musical materials of Hip-Hop and by sampling compatible classical compositional techniques. Executed with MCs/lyricists Do D.A.T. and Sandman, a lyric soprano, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, drums and bass, the music is rigorous, nuanced, accessible, and free from the dogmas of Western European concert music aesthetic. The result, makes the Kronos Quartet or the Roots feel like they’re afraid of their own voice (Pitchfork) and is considered the cutting edge of Hip-Hop (Huffington Post).

After a successful performance of a novelty piece which featured an MC and chamber ensemble while the artistic director was completing his master’s degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the MC at the time suggested they make an album together. Six months later and writing about an hour of music, the artistic director had a profound shift in the direction of his writing. He felt that he found a way out of the stifling contemporary concert music aesthetic in this new way of composition.

In 2010, JooWan recruited his best friend from college, Christopher Nicholas to push the project forward in a serious way. Following six years, Ensemble Mik Nawooj attracted some of the most excellent classical musicians and MCs in the SF Bay Area while gaining national attention from outlets such as ESPN, Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, NPR, Pitchfork, and more.

Read more, HERE.