New Paltz Professor Heads to Winter Olympics

Assistant Theatre Professor Sun Hee Kil Photo courtesy of newpaltz.edu.

This year’s Winter Olympic Games will have a taste of SUNY New Paltz talent.

 Assistant theatre professor Sun Hee Kil will act as associate sound designer for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. 

“I am very excited to come back to my home country and serve for the biggest event on the Earth,” Kil said. 

As associate sound designer, she will oversee all the ceremony stadium sound systems, as well as the signal distribution to Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS).

Kil has been part of the SUNY New Paltz theatre department since 2014 and assisted various theatre productions since her start, putting her extensive knowledge of sound design to use.         

“I teach Sound Design & Audio Engineering and design or supervise theatre productions at the department of theatre of SUNY New Paltz,” Kil said. “The sound system in the Olympic Stadium is way bigger than any theatre venues I’ve worked in, but the principles are same. I just need to prepare.”

This opportunity is sending Kil back to her roots, as she began her career in sound design and audio engineering in South Korea. She started working on sound for musical theatre in 2001, and in 2006 she came to the United States to pursue more theatrical education and opportunity. 

“I am Korean and I think this would be the one and only opportunity for me to work on the Olympics in my home country since the previous one was in 1988,” Kil said. “ The next time would be in 30 years, and I would be 72 years old, so I wouldn’t want to be working that one.”

Kil received this opportunity at the Winter Olympics through her connection with previous employer Do Kyung Kwon.

“My ex-boss, when I was in South Korea between 2001 and 2006, became the sound designer for the Olympic ceremonies and he appointed me as his assistant,” Kil said. “Last week, I was promoted to associate sound designer.”

Kil’s experience lies in her vast amount of sound designing for theatrical shows, which will provide interesting challenges as she applies that knowledge to the Olympic games.

“I have only worked for theatrical productions so far,” Kil said. “I am nervous and thrilled since I have to take care of sending signals to the Olympic Broadcasting System so people can watch the ceremonies from home on TV. I don’t want to make any mistakes.”

Kil’s previous theatrical endeavors prove she’s a master of the trade and provide her the confidence to dive into this venture.

“I have worked on many creative and original international tour musicals, including Solitary Musicians, The Last Empress, Jekyll & Hyde, Kinky Boots, Bodyguard and more,” Kil said. “I love musicals!” 

The PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony will be held on Feb. 9, and the closing ceremony on Feb. 25.