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Korean Composers Festival: Concert No. 1

September 23, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

All are welcome to attend the Korean Composers Festival September 23–24. The Korean Composers Festival will feature not only musical performances, but also presentations, lecture-recitals, and a Korean cuisine–inspired dinner reception. A full schedule of events is available on the festival’s website.

The program for the Korean Composers Festival Concert No. 1:

Samdo Samulnori
by Kim Duk Soo (b. 1952)

This seated Samulnori piece was composed by renowned Korean traditional drummer Kim Duk Soo in the 1980s to reflect the three drumming styles that are indigenous to South Korean traditional percussion instruments. 

Shimparam (performers):
Martha Vickery (sangswae position) on gwengarri
Kari Scanlon, jing
Stephen Wunrow, janggu
Nicole Ritchie, janggu
Richardson Handjaja Kilis, buk

Ariaria for Violin and Piano
by Jiyoun Chung (b. 1982)

‘Ari’ is from a Korean word, 아리다(Arida), which means aching. Combined with the word ‘aria’, which means a song, it can be considered a sad song. Some might notice a word-play in this title, as ‘아리아리 (ariari)’ is a vocable commonly used in a Korean folk song, Arirang, which embodies the deep emotion of resentment and sorrow.

 This piece has three movements. Each features a different type of Korean indigenous musical characteristics used by different instruments, but all to express sorrow through music. The first movement, 창 features characteristics and techniques Korean traditional singers use to make a great show of grief from 판소리 (Pansori, a musical monodrama) singing. The second movement, 해금 in the same way, features the sobbing sound and gesture of 해금, a zither-like string instrument, reimagined for the clarinet. The third movement, 대금, features the sentimental sound and language of 대금, a bamboo instrument, which also produces a very sentimental tone.

 This piece is dedicated to those who lost their lives and loved ones to gun violence.

Yu-Fang Chen, violin • Jiyoun Chung, piano

by HyeKyung Lee (b. 1959)

The piece is an abstract evocation of inner emotions between frustration and struggles to stay hopeful. Beginning with tense irregular chords, the agitation and tension between these emotions continually grows and changes. The perpetual motion on piano keeps the piece constantly moving forward until it reaches an outburst, then to conclude with calm, but confident optimism.

Jumi Kim, soprano • Craig Parker, trumpet • Koeun Grace Lee, piano

by Texu Kim (b. 1980)

Pahdo is a Korean word that means ‘ocean wave.’ While composing this piece, I was envisioning, in particular, the east coast of South Korea, where one can enjoy the beaches and mountains together. Throughout the piece, various broken chords capture the golden sunlight reflecting upon the blue glassy ocean, while gravelly tone clusters and flourishing grace notes portray sea waves playing hit-and-run. Hidden within are tranquil melodies, originating from Pyeong Chang Arari, a folk tune from the aforementioned region – the eastern part of South Korea. Pahdo was commissioned by and is dedicated to Jae-Hyuck Cho, and it was written for his recording project at La Madeleine, the famous church in Paris next to the Paris Opera.  The historic La Madeleine organ, with its colorful sounds, made the piece come alive.

Catherine Rodland, organ

3 Songs of Longing

청산에 살리라 (“Cheongsanae Sallira”)
by Yeon Jun Kim (1914–2008)

신아리랑 (“Sin Arirang”)
by Dong Jin Kim (1913–2009)

그리운 금강산 (“Geuriun Geumgangsan”)
by Young-Sharp Choi (b. 1929)

“Cheongsanae Sallira” is an example of Korea’s contemporary song, gagok. Written and composed by the founder of Hanyang University, Kim Yeon Jun, the song expresses a longing for respite from the pains of the world.

Placed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list, the folk song “Arirang” exists in many different variations. Kim Dong Jin’s arrangement of “Sin (New) Arirang” is sometimes called Gyeonggi Arirang due to its origin from part of the Gyeonggi Province. Many versions of the folk song depict difficulties of traversing a mountain pass, perhaps symbolizing the desire to emerge from a painful life transition.

Composed by Choi Young-Sharp, the gagok “Geuriun Geumgangsan” displays a deep longing for homes and family members caused by the division of Korea and the inability to return to North Korea.

Tana Field, mezzosoprano • Min-Kyo Jung, piano



September 23, 2023
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
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April Kim