The Wooden Fish Ensemble in conjunction with Old First Concerts will present a program of traditional Asian music and recent compositions by Hyo-shin Na along with music by European masters Schoenberg and Mozart. The concert will take place on Sunday, April 3 in the beautiful sanctuary of the First Presbyterian church in San Francisco.
The concert will feature two premieres and a stellar cast of musicians and composers. The 12-stringed Korean zither called gayageum will be in the spotlight at this concert. It will be showcased in both modern and traditional contexts.
The program will include the World Premiere of Song of the Bear (2015) by composer Hyo-shin Na for string ensemble and kayageum. The inspiration for “Song of the Bear” came from Joanne Kyger’s poem “Destruction,” which describes a bear breaking into a quiet cabin in the woods when nobody is home, eating fruit, granola, coffee, and the LSD and peyote stash, spilling spices and ink, and ripping open the water bed. As the poem ends, the bear finds a good cave in which to sleep it all off.
Composer Hyo-Shin Na states: “While I was amused and entertained by the bear’s activities in Kyger’s poem, I was much more intrigued by the curiosity and straightforwardness of the bear’s mind and this was my focus in writing the music.”
Featured gayageum soloist on “Song of the Bear” will be Kyungso Park. Park is a versatile player who demonstrates equal expertise in both traditional and contemporary art. She is active in expanding the scope of gayageum music and in challenging its traditional boundaries. Since her debut in 2004, her solo performances and collaborations have delved into many genres; these include avant garde improvisation, experimental music, new music, and jazz.
Also on the program will be the U.S. Premiere of “Invisible Door” (for violin and harpsichord, 2015). “Invisible Door” is inspired by Swiss painter Arnold Böcklin’s Self-portrait with Death Playing the Fiddle.
Instrumentalists for “Invisible Door” include Sonia Lee, a harpsichordist of considerable stature who has given performances on historical and modern keyboard instruments in more than eighteen countries on four continents. Her performances have been praised by critics as “nicely rendered” (Early Music America Magazine) and “full of elegance and expression” (Cleveland Classical). Joining her will be violinist Hyunjung Choi who is currently music lecturer at Wonju National University and Jeonju University in Korea. She is also an active performer as a member of Baroque Company, Camerata Antiqua Seoul, Alla Classica, La Réunion Musicale and Quatro Ewha.
The composer of these pieces is Hyo-shin Na who has written for western instruments, for traditional Korean instruments and has written music that combines western and Asian (Korean and Japanese) instruments and ways of playing. Her music for traditional Korean instruments is recognized by both composers and performers in Korea (particularly by the younger generation) as being uniquely innovative. Hyo-shin Na’s writing for combinations of western and eastern instruments is unusual in its refusal to compromise the integrity of differing sounds and ideas; she prefers to let them interact, coexist and conflict in the music.
In addition to the ensemble pieces, the solo gayageum will be showcased in traditional context courtesy JiHye Lm. In this program she will play gayageum “sanjo” (virtuoso solo work from the late Korean Choseon era).
JiHye Lim received a master’s degree from the Korean National University of the Arts with a specialty in the gayageum. She has given performances with the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) Traditional Music Orchestra and the Se-Jong Traditional Orchestra and was awarded the 1st prize in the 35th Nange Traditional Music Competition.
Renowned pianist Thomas Schultz will add to the concert piano pieces Op. 33a/b by Arnold Schoenberg and a piano concerto K. 415 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to the concert. Thomas Schultz has established an international reputation both as an interpreter of music from the classical tradition – particularly Bach, Beethoven, Schubert and Liszt – and as one of the leading exponents of the music of our time.
A string orchestra will play String Symphony No. 4 by Mendelssohn to round out the concert.
For tickets and further information see the Old First Concerts performance page.
In addition to the April 3 concert more opportunities abound to hear the Wooden Fish Ensemble, in a series of concerts beginning March. 30.
On Wednesday, March 30, 12:15 – 1 p.m, in Hertz Hall on the campus of UC Berkeley will be a free concert of music composed by Hyo-shin Na for Japanese koto and Korean kayageum performed by Shoko Hikage and JiHye Im.
The Center for New Music on 55 Taylor St. in San Francisco will be the venue for Hyo-Shin Na’s “Music for Asian Zithers” and will take place on Monday, April 4, 2016 at 7 p.m. This will be a rare opportunity to see virtuoso performer Shoko Hikage play koto and bass koto at the same time, a feat of high accomplishment seldom seen or heard.
Tickets are available at the door only. Further information available via the CNM website.
On Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at 7:00 p.m., the Maybeck Studio for the Performing Arts – 1537 Euclid Avenue, in Berkeley will host a concert that will feature the rare and beautiful 25 string kayageum in a program of all Hyo-Shin Na compositions. This concert is $20 General Admission paid at the door. A reservation on eventbrite must be made ahead of the concert to make sure the room does not over fill. Maybeck Studio for the Arts, seating is limited. To attend this concert get your required online reservation.
If you would like to continue receiving Asian Music related articles including the latest news, upcoming events, and reviews, please click the subscribe icon. It is free and anonymous. Thank you for reading and thank you for sharing this story with others.