Events

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Preservation Through Improvisation: The Korean Haegeum

Preservation Through Improvisation: The Korean Haegeum

Featuring Soo Yeon Lyuh
January 18, 7:00 pm, La Jolla Community Center

Soo Yeon Lyuh is a master of the haegeum, a traditional Korean bowed string instrument. She is known for her flawless technique and full command of the haegeum’s traditional repertoire. At the same time, she is widely recognized for promoting the creation of new pieces for the instrument. For this event, Dr. Lyuh will play solo Korean court and folk music (Ji Yonghee school of haegeum sanjo). Composer and improviser Christopher Adler will join Lyuh in two improvisatory pieces. Dr. Adler is a member of the composition faculty at the University of San Diego, and for this performance will play piano and the Southeast Asian Khaen, a multi-pipe mouth organ.

For twelve years, Lyuh was a member of South Korea’s National Gugak Center, the foremost institution for the preservation of Korean traditional music. At that institution, she was known for her pioneering efforts to reinvent improvisational methods that, while integral to historic Korean traditions, had been lost to generations of performers.

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Since then, Lyuh has endeavored to weave authentic styles into new musical domains. In the process, she relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she has drawn inspiration from its dynamic improvised music scene. Her contributions have sparked the creation of a new haegeum repertoire. She has premiered dozens of new works from numerous American composers, including Larry Polansky, Cindy Cox, Karlton Hester, Thomas Osborne, and Donald Womack. She recently made her own debut as a composer with the Kronos Quartet, premiering one of her compositions live with Kronos at WNYC’s Greene Space in New York in March of 2017.

There is no question that she [is] a phenomenal instrumentalist. The sounds she is able to create on the haegeum are wholly unique and open up a vast new realm of sonic possibilities to Western ears. Moreover, the breadth of her knowledge of Korean traditional music is an incredible resource for musicians and scholars alike.

​–David Harrington, Kronos Quartet violinist

Lyuh earned her Ph.D. in Korean Traditional Music from Seoul National University. Currently a scholar-in-residence at Mills College, she has also served as a visiting scholar at the University of Hawai’i and at UC Berkeley.

Lyuh’s early musical studies were in Western classical music, in which she underwent rigorous training and achieved considerable success at a young age. After quitting music in her mid-teens, she took up the haegeum as a hobby. She had no idea that it would become the pursuit that would define her future.

“I think that it will be impossible to conquer the haegeum in my lifetime,” says Lyuh. “That is because it becomes harder the more I play it. The instrument continues to reveal itself. It is full of untapped possibilities.”Korean musician holding stringed instrument with dress blowing in the wind

The Haegeum

The haegeum is a traditional Korean instrument known for its pathos and vocality. It offers a colorful tonal palette and broad expressive range. Dating from the Goryeo Kingdom (918-1392), the instrument is a small, two-stringed fiddle with a slender, rodlike neck and small sound box. The bow hair permanently passes between its two strings, which are tuned a perfect fifth apart.


Program

6:30pm – Doors open. Light refreshments served. Wine available for purchase.
7:00pm – Performance begins.

Directions & Parking

For detailed directions to La Jolla Community Center via car or by MTS bus, please visit their location webpage. Street parking is available on Bonair. If you prefer, valet service will be offered on the curb in front of the Community Center.

Click this link to view the Passport to Worlds of Music Concert Series Booklet.

Thanks to our 2019-20 Concert Series Sponsor!

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World Music at Mingei International Museum

The Center for World Music proudly announces its Spring 2022 concert season, “World Music at Mingei,” presenting an inaugural series of six performances at Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park. The series includes music and dance traditions, both classical and folk, that will introduce the audience to the sounds, aesthetics, and cultural significance of the music of select regions from around the world.

Ticket Packages

General Seating Package: SOLD OUT
VIP Seating Package: SOLD OUT

Individual Tickets

General Seating: $20
VIP Seating: $40

To purchase tickets to individual events, please visit the links below.

Mingei Members receive a 10% discount.

The ticket price includes admission to the performance and access to Mingei International Museum’s Gallery Level ($14 value) after 4 PM on the day of the performance. The Commons Level is free for all.

Please purchase your tickets early. These performances sell out well in advance. 

Proceeds support hands-on world music and dance programming for San Diego students in schools underserved by the arts.


Master of the Ghanaian Gyil: SK Kakraba
Friday, February 18, 2022, 7:30 PM

Let Your Spirit Soar: Afro-Cuban Music, Dance, and Culture with Omo Ache
Friday, March 18, 2022, 7:30 PM

Maqāmāt: Pathways to Beauty in Arab Music with the Al-Salam Ensemble
Friday, April 15, 2022, 7:30 PM


The Music and Dance of Bali: I Nyoman Wenten and Gamelan Burat Wangi
Friday, May 20, 2022, 7:30 PM

Flamenco with Lakshmi “La Chimi” Basile
Friday, June 17, 2022, 7:30 PM

Expressions of Joy: Festival Music and Dance of Korea with the San Diego Korean Pungmul Ensemble
Friday, July 8, 2022, 7:30 PM

Health and Safety

Proof of vaccination is required to attend these performances. Please bring a picture of your vaccine card or the card itself.

Masks are required indoors for all guests (ages 2+) regardless of vaccination status. For more information about visiting Mingei International Museum, please visit their website.


Co-Sponsor

Mingei Logo

Major Grant Sponsor

 

Financial support provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.


Become a Sponsor

For details on sponsorship opportunities, please visit the Center for World Music’s 2022 World Music at Mingei Sponsorship Information.

 

Expressions of Joy: Festival Music and Dance of Korea

San Diego Korean Pungmul Ensemble

Expressions of Joy: Festival Music and Dance of Korea

Join us for an exciting evening of dance and music inspired by the percussion-centered pungmul traditions of the Korean peninsula. Pungmul (풍물) is a colorful and dynamic Korean tradition of folk performance that features drumming but also includes lively dancing and singing.

Rooted in village culture, pungmul was originally performed as part of farm work, at harvest festivals, and to accompany shamanistic rituals or mask dances. Villagers would come together to play and dance to the rhythms, expressing solidarity and relieving the hardships of their daily lives. Also known as nogak (farmer’s music), pungmul was recognized as an Important Intangible Cultural Property of Korea in 1966.

Since the mid-twentieth century, new styles of pungmul have been created, bringing the outdoor tradition to contemporary urban audiences in concert halls. Musicians are now experimenting by fusing the traditional music and dance with different genres, such as rock, jazz, or classical music.

Tickets

General Seating: $20
VIP Seating: $40

Mingei Members receive a 10% discount.

The ticket price includes admission to the performance and access to Mingei International Museum’s Gallery Level ($14 value) after 4 PM on the day of the performance. The Commons Level is free for all.

Please purchase your tickets early. These performances sell out well in advance. 

Proceeds support hands-on world music and dance programming for San Diego students in schools underserved by the arts.

About San Diego Korean Pungmul Institute

San Diego Korean Pungmul Institute (SDKPI) is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Korean traditional performing arts while supporting personal and community development. SDKPI master artists and students regularly perform at notable venues including the Hollywood Bowl Parade, the Moon Festival at Balboa Park, the San Diego County Fair, and the SeaWorld Lunar New Year observances.

Read more about The San Diego Korean Pungmul Institute.  Watch a video of a contemporary pungmul performance.

Health and Safety

Proof of vaccination is required to attend these performances. Please bring a picture of your vaccine card or the card itself. Masks are required indoors for all guests (ages 2+) regardless of vaccination status.

 


Co-Sponsors Mingei Logo


Major Grant Sponsor

Financial support was provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.


Become a Sponsor

For details on sponsorship opportunities, please visit the Center for World Music’s 2022 World Music at Mingei Sponsorship Information.