Discovering the New in Seoul

Joey Tan (BMus Year 2, Composition) shares her trip experience from the Seoul National University International New Music Conference & Workshop held from 22 – 24 February 2018.  

Ding Jian Han (BMus Year 3, Composition) and I recently spent three rewarding days representing YST Conservatory at SNU’s New Music conference and workshop. During our visit, we attended various presentations including Dr Jean-David Caillouët’s “From Music to Multimedia: Perspectives in Audio-Vision” and Dr Chen Zhangyi’s (Assistant Professor of composition, YST Conservatory) “Musical Inspirations of Nature, Vernacular Culture and Exploration”. From these presentations, I learnt how the composers create and share their music and also how they source inspiration.

Discovering Live Electronics

The multimedia workshop by Dr Caillouët was particularly memorable for me. We did an improvised piece with piano, violin, electric guitar, and Korean haegeum, which also incorporated live visuals, triggered samples and live electronics. Despite not having any prior experience, I volunteered to control the live electronics. It was an interesting and fun experience as I discovered the possible effects and how to manipulate sounds of the instruments. It was my first time working with electronics and definitely will not be the last!

There was so much variety in the music style that the student composers chose to write, it was fascinating to hear so many different pieces within the span of three days!
— Joey Tan, BMus Year 2, Composition

From Traditional to the New

During the festival, we also had the opportunity to listen to various genres of music through a variety of concerts held throughout the festival. Concerts included western classical chamber music and Korean music performed on traditional Korean instruments. There were also ‘fusion’ concerts, which combined Western and Korean music traditions.

New Premieres

Jian Han and I most enjoyed the process of having our compositions rehearsed and performed with the SNU students. Our compositions were performed at new music concerts, alongside other student compositions.

 Performance of Joey Tan’s  Decomposition for Flute, Clarinet in Bb and Piano

Performance of Joey Tan’s Decomposition for Flute, Clarinet in Bb and Piano

My composition which was performed was titled ‘Decomposition for Flute, Clarinet in Bb and Piano’.  And Jian Han also conducted his String Quartet No. 1 'Re-imaginations of Works by M.C. Escher’. It was very rewarding working with the SNU students as collaborative performers, as we were all very invested in the rehearsal process.  

In the New Music concerts, I observed that there was so much variety in the music style that the student composers chose to write and it was fascinating to hear so many different pieces within the span of three days. It was a great opportunity to share our music with the students and faculty at Seoul National University!

We made many new friends from Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Switzerland and Belgium. It was an enriching and fun experience and I am grateful to have learnt so much and looking forward the Sounding Now Festival at YST Conservatory next month!

 Students and faculty from SNU and YST at the New Music Conference

Students and faculty from SNU and YST at the New Music Conference

Featured photo: Participants of the Multimedia Workshop with Dr Jean-David Caillouët (3rd from right), Joey Tan (far right) and Ding Jian Han (2nd from right)