Examining Cultural Diplomacy through the Eyes of a Clarinetist with Cecilia Kang

By examining three isolated examples of Korean culture and music, Dr. Kang presented an intriguing look into the melding and power of music and society. The first example showcased was the New York Philharmonic’s tour of North Korea in 2008. The orchestra performed the most famous folk songs known to Koreans as a symbolic gesture to show the west reaching out to North Korea. The second example was of composer Isang Yun’s Work entitled Piri. The work carries great symbolic and emotional meaning for Yun as he was involved in the Dongbaeklim Sagun 1967 Abduction. The work portrays East-Asian esthetics yet calls for a western instrument as well as contemporary musical notation to capture the subtleties of traditional Korean music. Finally, the third example focused on Mary Simoni’s Armé Ariang for Clarinet in A. The work incorporates modern technology yet uses the traditional Korean songs with the western tune of L’homme armé in counterpoint.

–Notes By Dr. Victor Chavez, Jr.
Dr. Victor Chavez, Jr. teaches at The University of Tennessee in Knoxville as Lecturer in Clarinet and currently performs with the Tri-Cities Opera Company in Binghamton, New York.

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