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March 14, 2005

Nine-day Pacific Rim Music Festival to feature artists from 12 countries

By Scott Rappaport

Thirty composers, 15 ensembles, and more than 100 performers will be featured in the 2005 Pacific Rim Music Festival--a nine-day international celebration that will be presented by the UCSC Music Department from April 29 to May 7.

Photo: Wu Man

Tickets for the 2005 Pacific Rim Music Festival go on sale March 15. Featured performers include pipa (lute) virtuoso Wu Man, top; the Kronos Quartet, center; and master percussionist Zakir Hussain.
Photo: Kronos
Photo: Zakir Hussein

Highlights of the festival include a celebration of composer Terry Riley’s 70th birthday featuring the Kronos Quartet and tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium; an evening with the Berkeley Symphony conducted by internationally renowned conductor (and UCSC alumnus) Kent Nagano at the Music Center Recital Hall; and guest performances by Japan’s celebrated pianist Aki Takahashi.

Festivities will kick off on the afternoon of April 29 with a parade and outdoor performance in downtown Santa Cruz by the Korean Folk Percussion Ensemble (Samulnori), a group of 20 performers from Korea. The ensemble will be met at the UCSC campus by percussion ensembles from UC Berkeley and Stanford as the procession makes its way to the university’s arts complex.

“It will be a really grand opening,” noted Hi Kyung Kim, UCSC professor of music and artistic director of the festival. “When all three groups reach the Music Center Plaza on campus, they will be joined by the UCSC Gamelan Ensembles.”

Later that evening, San Francisco’s Ensemble Parallele will be joined by guest mezzo-soprano Mutsumi Hatano, pipa (lute) virtuoso Wu Man, and violinist Young-Nam Kim for an opening concert titled Hun Qiao (Bridge of Souls) Remembrance, Reconciliation and Peace—a program created in response to modern wartime atrocities. “It’s a very meaningful project featuring guest artists coming from Korea, China, and Japan,” said Kim. “We are trying to pass the spirit of reconciliation and peace to all the countries of the Pacific Rim.”

Kim added that the festival will also include performances by New York’s acclaimed contemporary music ensemble, Speculum Musicae (“the most famous New Music ensemble in the United States”); Germany’s EarPort ensemble; and the New Asia String Quartet during the nine-day event.

The Korean Musical Ceremony on May 6--a collaborative multimedia concert focusing on both the traditional and new music of Korea--will include Kim’s own composition Rituel III. This concert features some of Korea’s major performing artists such as dancer/choreographer Aeju Lee (honored as one of Korea's National Intangible Treasures), daegeum (bamboo flute) master Jeong Seung Kim, and gayageum (zither) master Byung Ki Hwang.

“That particular performance will also be on tour to Disney Hall in Los Angeles on May 11 and will be the opening event of the San Francisco International Arts Festival on May 18 at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater,” Kim noted.

The 2005 Pacific Rim Music Festival will close on May 7 with Kent Nagano conducting the Berkeley Symphony in a sneak preview of the world premiere of Manzanar: An American Story. The piece is named for one of the 10 Japanese American internment camps during World War II and reflects upon freedom and civil liberty in America. The Santa Cruz preview will also feature the UCSC Concert Choir and be narrated.

In addition to music and dance, the festival will include four different symposia, including a topic on Japanese musical development, as well as eight special lectures by visiting composers that are all free and open to the public. Kim said that students are planning to attend these sessions from Australia and Korea, as well as from a variety of different UC campuses.

“We are very excited about promoting international collaborations between new and traditional cultures through this festival,” Kim noted.

“Our ultimate goal is to establish a Pacific Rim Cultural Center and Korean Music Center at UC Santa Cruz.”

Tickets for the 2005 Pacific Rim Music Festival go on sale March 15. For ticket information, call (831) 459-2159 or go to Further information and the concert lineup can be found at the festival web site.

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