Tuesday, 29 March 2016

ISCM World Music Days

The ISCM World Music Days are now in full swing in Tongyeong, South Korea, where delegates and composers from all over the world are attending meetings and performances of 67 different works over a period of five days.

The performances are being given as part of the Tongyeong International Music Festival at the city's magnificent concert hall, positioned on the tip of the peninsula of South Korea, overlooking some 190 islands.

The festival was started to commemorate the composer Isang Yung (1917-95), born in Tongyeong and the first international Korean composer to come to prominence. Despite the composer's stormy relationship with the country of his birth, a concert of his music was mounted in 1999 when he was still seen in South Korea as a divisive presence which was later to blossom into the present festival.

The first ISCM World Music Days were mounted in 1923 and consist not only of concerts of music from over fifty countries, but also of meetings of delegates from those countries to discuss the society's plans and strategies. Here is a photo from one of today's meetings.

And a reception for the composers and delegates this evening.

The world music days are hosted by a different city every year, who undertake to raise the budget to pay for the days. One of the most exciting aspects of this year's festival have been the assured and polished performances by relatively recently established Asian ensembles and orchestras, including the Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa, the Changwon Philharmonic Orchestra, Hong Kong Music Ensemble and the Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra.

There are also several installations including Robert Cahen's meditative film of Boulez conducting his Memoriale, filmed as recently as 2011. Watch an extract here.

There is also this playful installation by the Chinese composer Hui Ye: It was so quiet that the pins dropped could be heard - a small fitting attached to the ceiling in which a mechanism constantly causes small pins to be dropped.

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