Posting Date: October 29, 2009
Korean Zither Musicians Association has residency at KSU
By Jarmea L. Boone
KSU student learning how to drum with member of percussion quartet
Photo courtesy of Karen Robinson
During Year of Korea week on Oct. 12-16, members of the Korean Zither Musicians Association had lectures and demonstrations for eight TPS and music 1107 arts appreciation classes.
Heeman Kim, assistant professor of communication, Karen Robinson, associate professor of theatre and performance studies, Barry Morris, executive director of the Institute for Global Initiatives and Dan Paracka, director of international programs, worked collaboratively during the planning period for the Year of Korea in communicating with the group and solidifying arrangements for them to come to KSU. Kim had made the acquaintance of the Zither Musicians Association’s group coordinator, Heesun Kim, and their music director, Prof. Lee, during a visit to Korea last year.
“I worked with Heesun Kim, a professor, ethnomusicologist and zither musician, to finesse and coordinate the lecture demonstrations,” says Robinson. “The lecture demonstrations were an engaging introduction to Korean traditional music that integrated Prof. Heesun Kim’s remarks about origin, historical context and style.”
As part of the lecture series, the musicians gave live solo and ensemble zither performances. There were examples of pansori, a form of storytelling song by a soloist and a drummer, and a percussion quartet performance.
“One of the many memorable moments was the percussion quartet,” says Robinson. “Called SamulNori, this is a type of performance with roots in Korean farming culture that became a stage act in the 1970s. It consists of lively music played on small and large gongs, a double-headed barrel drum and a double-headed hourglass-shaped drum. The ensemble electrified the audience with their lively and dynamic performance. During one session, they bought some students onstage and taught them how to play the drums and gongs.”
The association includes 22 professional musicians and teachers from major universities in South Korea. The Korean Association of Zither Musicians is based in Seoul, Korea and has performed on both national and international levels to promote Korean zither music.