Mu­si­cians seek truth in com­po­si­tions on life, death

The Korea Times - - CULTURE - By Anna J. Park an­na­j­[email protected]­re­

Every­one on earth will sooner or later face death, and un­til that fi­nal mo­ment, they live their own lives within the lim­its of time.

“SaengSa_­mu­sic of the liv­ing, to those be­yond,” two-day per­for­mance this week­end delves into this un­avoid­able ques­tion of life and death through con­tem­po­rary mu­sic in­spired by tra­di­tional Korean mu­sic, as well as an­i­mated vis­ual arts.

Three com­posers, Jang Young­gyu, Se­bas­tian Claren, and Lee Tae­won, each with ex­per­tise in film scores, con­tem­po­rary classic mu­sic and tra­di­tional Korean mu­sic re­spec­tively, rein­ter­pret tra­di­tional Korean mu­sic re­lated to fu­ner­als, com­mem­o­ra­tive rit­u­als or re­quiems into orig­i­nal works.

Au­di­ences will be able to trace el­e­ments of tra­di­tional fu­neral mu­sic, the royal an­ces­tral rit­ual per­formed at shrines, and shaman­is­tic rites through the 75-minute per­for­mance.

Mu­si­cians of tra­di­tional Korean mu­sic in­stru­ments, in­clud­ing haegeum artist Kang Ji-eun, who is also the artis­tic direc­tor of the per­for­mance, per­cus­sion artist Kim Wooung-sik, ge­o­mungo artist Kim Joon-young, and daegeum artist Hong Yoo, per­form nine pieces of mu­sic, along with lecture per­for­mances.

This multi-genre per­for­mance, com­bin­ing mu­sic, theater and vis­ual arts, has a ba­sic nar­ra­tive that starts from the death of a per­son.

Peo­ple gather to hold a fu­neral, invit­ing the soul of the de­ceased to join the event.

At the com­mem­o­ra­tive rit­ual, the bound­ary be­tween the liv­ing and the dead gets blurred, as both the liv­ing peo­ple and the dead soul min­gle to­gether and share ideas on life and death.

The rit­ual ends, and peo­ple send the soul back to heaven; and they re­turn to their daily rou­tines.

Through the mu­sic in­spired by tra­di­tional Korean mu­sic and fu­tur­is­tic stage de­signs, this per­for­mance aims to en­com­pass the past, present and fu­ture in one space, con­vey­ing a sooth­ing mes­sage that life and death are in­ter­linked and united as one.

It also asks ques­tions to each au­di­ence mem­ber to pon­der on the univer­sal themes of life and death that they all face, while pro­vid­ing them a con­so­la­tion for hu­man fini­tude.

The per­for­mance is part of this year’s Seoul Per­form­ing Arts Festival (SPAF) pro­gram.

The two-day per­for­mance is sched­uled to be held at five p.m. on Satur­day and Sun­day at Se­jong Cen­ter for the Per­form­ing Arts’ S Theater.

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Cour­tesy of WhatWhy Art

“SaengSa_­mu­sic of the liv­ing, to those be­yond” presents con­tem­po­rary mu­sic in­spired by tra­di­tional Korean mu­sic, as well as an­i­mated vis­ual arts.

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