The Korea Herald


Gugak orchestra to present works composed by foreigners

By Im Eun-byel

Published : Sept. 26, 2019 - 15:51

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The Contemporary Gugak Orchestra will present gugak, traditional Korean music, composed by foreigners.

The orchestra will hold its 98th regular presentation “Hidden Sides & Unique Beauty of Gugak” on Friday and Saturday at the National Gugak Center. 

The Contemporary Gugak Orchestra (National Gugak Center) The Contemporary Gugak Orchestra (National Gugak Center)
Poster image for “Hidden Sides & Unique Beauty of Gugak” (National Gugak Center) Poster image for “Hidden Sides & Unique Beauty of Gugak” (National Gugak Center)

According to the project’s music director Kye Sung-won, the audience will be able to see the difference between foreign and Korean composers’ approach to gugak.

“The title ‘Hidden Sides’ refers to how foreign composers will show the other side of gugak that we did not know about,” Kye said.

Edmund Campion, one of the foreign composers, said it took him three years to complete “Audible Numbers.” Through the piece, the California-based professor explores the numeric relationships of ancient Korean instruments and scores.

“I had to start with baby steps, learning about the instruments of gugak,“ he said, explaining that he created a computer program for converting the numbers into a musical composition.

The program consists of three compositions composed by foreign composers, and two by local composers, including “Audible Numbers,” “Goblin’s Game,” “Dreams of Falling;” “Mountain Song” and Dance Concerto for Piano and Gugak Orchestra No.1.

Prior to the performances, four of the composers will discuss their works with the audience. Composers Lee Keon-yong and Edmund Campion are set to take the podium on Friday, Lee Hae-sik and Jeff Fairbanks on Sunday.

By Im Eun-byel (