Edition of Contemporary Music, a prominent German-based record label with the motto “The Most Beautiful Sound Next to Silence,” is holding the ECM Music Festival at Seoul Arts Center from Sept. 3 to 7.
The performances will feature world-renowned artists including conductor Chung Myung-whun, violist Kim Kashkashian, and the jazz group Norma Winstone Trio.
|Founder of ECM Manfred Eicher (left) and conductor Chung Myung-whun speak during a press conference at Ara Art Center in Insa-dong on Monday. ( CREDIA)|
The music festival will host four performances, starting with guitarist Ralph Towner and followed by the Yeahwon Shin Trio, composed of vocalist Yeahwon Shin, pianist Aaron Parks, and accordionist Jean Louis Matinier. Yeahwon Shin is the first Korean vocalist to release an album under ECM, titled “Lua Ya.” It is also the first time the record label released an album of Korean songs sung in Korean. Shin caught the interest of founder and producer of ECM Manfred Eicher with an impromptu recording with pianist Aaron Parks, who promptly arranged the recording for her album.
On Sept. 5, violist Kashkashian will take to the stage with her rendition of music by J.S. Bach and Gyrgy Kurtg, and on Sept. 6 celebrated jazz group the Norma Winstone Trio will perform pieces from their Grammy-nominated album “Distances.”
On Sept. 7, pianist Andrs Schiff and oboist Heinz Holliger will join conductor Chung and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra for the grand finale of the ECM festival. The program will include works by Brahms, Isang Yun, and Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde.”
At the press conference for the festival held on Monday in Ara Art Center in Insa-dong with founder of ECM Eicher and vocalist Shin, maestro Chung explained the connection he felt to the two artists Schiff and Holliger, saying, “These two individuals are people I personally like, and I’m so happy to perform with them through this festival.”
Chung is set to release an album of piano music in December dedicated to his two granddaughters.
“It was very inspiring listening to his interpretations of the songs. We started working on it and hopefully it will come through a good editing process and we will release the album as soon as it’s finished,” Eicher said.
Tickets for the ECM Music Festival concerts range from 30,000 won to 150,000 won and can be purchased by calling (02) 580-1300 or visiting www.sac.or.kr.
The festival is part of many ongoing events of the “ECM Exhibition in Seoul 2013” with the theme “Think of Your Ears as Eyes,” which opened Aug. 31 and runs through Nov. 3 in Ara Art Center.
The first ECM exhibition in Asia, the exhibit will showcase the works of various musicians and album covers by artists with expansive displays spanning four floors of the gallery.
Asked why the label focuses not only on the music itself but also on the details of an album, including the cover artwork and typography during the press conference, Eicher responded, “The sound of removing a wrapper from a cassette tape, taking an LP out of its jacket, putting the needle on a record spinning on a turntable and listening to the music, including the scratches, all of these things are a musical experience. For me, an album is a comprehensive art piece.”
Visitors will be able to peruse artworks and photographs and listen to well-known songs and exclusive interviews of artists in several “listening zones” throughout the exhibition.
Prices for exhibition tickets range from 6,000 won to 12,000 won and can be purchased at the Ara Art Center. For more information, call (02) 6245-6372.
Along with the music festival and exhibition, ECM will also hold a variety of programs such as dance performances, music appreciation sessions led by Eicher, and workshops.
The ECM Film Festival will be held from Aug. 31 to Sept. 8 at Seoul Art Cinema in Nakwon-dong, Jongno-gu, celebrating the works of French-Swiss film director and screenwriter Jean-Luc Godard, who included many ECM produced tracks in his movies. Viewers will also be able to watch a documentary on the history of ECM, which was established in 1969 as an independent, small-scale record label with a focus on jazz music, as well as a movie that Eicher himself directed. For more information, go to www.cinematheque.seoul.kr.
By Cha Yo-rim (email@example.com)