Cal Performances at UC Berkeley celebrated a wide range of Korean music with an expansive day-long residency featuring two concerts by the Korean National Gugak Center Creative Traditional Orchestra on Saturday, October 28 at 3pm and 8pm in Zellerbach Hall. The flagship ensemble of Korea’s respected National Gugak Center, the 55-member orchestra is responsible for both preserving ancient musical traditions and developing contemporary works of performance.
The Creative Traditional Orchestra’s 3pm concert provided a unique collaboration between Western composers and the world’s leading Korean music orchestra, featuring the world premieres of six works by international contemporary composers: Edmund Campion of UC Berkeley; David Evan Jones of UC Santa Cruz; Chinary Ung of UC San Diego; Shih-Hui Chen of RIce University; George Lewis of Columbia University; and the esteemed Korean composer Lee Geon-yong.
Featured in the 8pm concert was the refined, elegant court music of Korea as a product of more than 1,000 years of development in the rituals, banquets, and ceremonies of the royal court. The folk music expressed the daily lives of the Korean people, reflecting regional characteristics and unique performance styles.
In addition to the orchestra’s residency at UC Berkeley, two special public programs were planned. Hi Kyung Kim, professor of music at UC Santa Cruz and founder and artistic director of the Pacific Rim Music Festival, hosted a public forum with the Korean National Gugak Center Creative Traditional Orchestra’s artistic director Park Chi-wan in conversation with the six composers who created new work the orchestra on Saturday, October 28 at 1pm in the Alumni House at UC Berkeley.
The project with the National Gugak Center, the Pacific Rim Music Festival at UC Santa Cruz, and Cal Performances made this collaboration with world-premier compositions possible. This year’s festival was the first time the National Gugak Center presented a program of new music outside of Korea, and marks the Center’s Creative Traditional Orchestra’s first performances in California.