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2018 Korean Focus

“Korean Focus” is a partnership programme between Korea and Taiwan, designed to provide an international platform for excellent musical talents. Through bilateral invitations and collaboration projects, the scheme expands and deepens cultural exchanges between the two countries. While producing outstanding content and nurturing talents, it also connects performance venues, fostering high-quality, professional stages to provide a supporting framework for local musicians. In the meantime, international performance exchanges also increase global visibility of the venues. Korean Focus is more than a meticulously planned series of concerts, it is also an arena for Taiwan to showcase both its hardware of professional venues, and its soft power of musical culture. It is thus that this international collaboration pushes both local talents and loci onto the global scene.



In traditional, conservative society, Ong-nyeo was regarded as a cursed, immoral woman. Yet, if we were to look at her story with a little bit more empathy, and through today’s social values, might we see her in a different light? “Ong-nyeo” seeks to retell the story of this extraordinary woman in a brand new style of Pan-so-ri.

Pan-so-ri is a Korean folk music style that developed during the Korean Dynasty (1392-1897), and was declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2003. Pan-so-ri is performed by one single singer, called a So-ri-ggun, who acts as a kind of storyteller and performs many roles at the same time, conveying the narrative to the audience through voice and body movements. This performer is accompanied by a drummer, called a Go-su, who echoes the singer with a series of typically Korean rhythms called Jang-dan, changing the pace and force of the rhythm as the story slowly unfolds.

Unlike the five libretto versions that were passed down through history, the original Ong-nyeo was called Byeon-gang-seo-ga, as it was centred around her husband, Byeon-gang-seo. However, this original version was considered too degenerate and grotesque under the conservative climate of the time, and was banned by the government and subsequently lost.

In the open-minded world we live in today, Lee Na-rae decided to subvert the original storyline and rewrite it from the perspective of Ong-nyeo. It takes us through the eventful life of this legendary lady and shows us how she fought the tough hand of cards she was dealt in life, turning all the stereotypes that were associated with this play on their heads.

The piece is divided into eleven scenes and makes full use of the characteristics of Pan-so-ri. It moves between sarcasm and moral teaching with remarkable ease, as the viewer is absorbed by the artists’ outstanding performances.

This particular interpretation of the story also subverts the traditional performance style of Pan-so-ri, as the drum is replaced with the Geo-mun-go performed by Hwang Gina, accompanied by the Ga-ya-geum performed by Lee Hwa-young, and the wood guitar performed by Lee Si-mun. This multitude gives the piece layers of melodies not seen in traditional Pan-so-ri, making it an extraordinary audio enjoyment.


2018/10/27 14:30 Recital Hall, National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying)

2018/10/28 14:30 Concert Hall, Pingtung Performing Arts Center



Both the Korean band Duo Bud and the Taiwanese band 3peoplemusic are highly skilled, young ensembles who are not afraid to challenge boundaries, proudly presenting an innovative repertoire that spans across tradition and avant-garde. The two first collaborated during the 2016 Young Performers’ Workshop. Three years later, 3peoplemusic travelled to Korea, where their joint performance with Duo Bud at the Jeonju International Sori Festival won great acclaim. This year, Duo Bud is once again visiting Taiwan with nine epic pieces, so the Taiwanese audience can enjoy their innovative music on their home turf. At the end of the concert, the two bands will once again play together. After the previous experiences of 2016 and 2017, it is greatly anticipated what they will bring to the audience this time.



2018/11/03 14:30 Recital Hall, National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying)

2018/11/04 14:30 Concert Hall, Pingtung Performing Arts Center

Korean Masters Miyeon & Park and Taiwanese Friends


Miyeon & Park’s wild impromptu performances set them apart from the crowds. They often build their pieces around the traditional Korean rhythm “Jang-dan”, while integrating Eastern and Western, classical and modern elements. Such diversity gives their music great space for maneuver in terms of impromptu melodies. This year, we have invited five Taiwanese musicians to share the stage with Miyeon & Park, including the renowned Erhu player Ying-chieh Wang, the first Indian Zither composer and ethnic Kavalan singer Uz AZeR, and the new generation of traditional music, 3peoplemusic—with KUO Min-chin on Zheng, PAN I-tung on Zhongruan, and JEN Chung on bamboo flute and vertical bamboo flute (dizi/xiao). What ingenious music will spark from this extraordinary collaboration? That’s for you to go and find out! 



2018/11/10 14:30 Recital Hall, National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying)

2018/11/11 14:30 Concert Hall, Pingtung Performing Arts Center

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