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Korea Improvised Music Festival to kick off next week

Feb. 15, 2023 - 21:12 By Hwang Dong-hee
Poster for the 2023 Korea Improvised Music Festival (Seoul Namsan Gugakdang)

An improvised music festival exploring different genres, from traditional Korean to electronic music, kicks off at Seoul Namsan Gugakdang on Feb. 22.

The Seoul Namsan Gugakdang, in collaboration with the Seoul Donhwamun Traditional Theater, will stage the first inaugural “Korea Improvised Music Festival” with musicians in various fields.

The festival hopes to break down the boundaries of music genres, with its focus on traditional music.

The main performance of the festival begins Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m., with a duet performance of jazz saxophonist Kang Tae-hwan and daegeum player Yoo Hong.

Kang is one of the pioneers of free music in Korea. Yoo, also the artistic director for the festival, said Kang was the top pick because he wanted to include historical meaning in the festival with the first-generation free music artist.

The 120-minute performance is poised to unleash new musical energy with two following trio performances. Haegeum player Kim Bomi from Korean avant-rock band Jambinai, guitarist Lee Tae-hun and piri player Mok Gilin will perform together; while cellist Ji Park, traditional percussionist Bang Ji-won and vocalist Lee Na-rae, formerly of band Leenalchi, will offer exciting improvisation.

Three ensembles are scheduled for Thursday.

Geomungo player Shim Eunyong from Jambinai, harp player Kihwa, computer music player Richard Dudas and pianist Jared Redmond; vocalist Baik Hyun-jhin, saxophonist Kim Oki, gayageum player Park Kyung-so and percussionist Lim Yong-ju, also at electronic music; then four-member traditional performance group WhatWhy Art, drag artist and dancer More Zmin and DJ Djilogue will explore the artistic spectrum based on the spontaneity of music.

Seats for the main performance are 20,000 won, and can be reserved via Interpark.