Contact: Yvonne French (202) 707-9191

September 18, 1997

An Evening of Korean Classical Music Celebrates the Centennial of the Thomas Jefferson Building

To celebrate the centennial of the Thomas Jefferson Building and the opening of the Asian Reading Room, "An Evening of Korean Classical Music" will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 8, in the Great Hall of the Jefferson Building, at 10 First St., S.E.

Five court musicians and dancers from the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts in Seoul, South Korea, will perform seven items:

  • Ch'onnyon manse (Quintet for changgo, kayagum, p'iri, taegum and yanggum). An example of traditional chamber music requiring several instruments, Ch'onnyon manse was a favorite of the upper class.
  • Ch'un-aengjon. Dating back to the early 19th century, this court dance is a solo piece performed by either a man or woman. In this version, the female dancer wears a yellow robe representing a nightingale's plumage and a crown of flowers on her head. The dancer performs within the borders of a straw mat woven with floral patterns. Within the limited space, the dance expresses the nightingale's flight in the open sky.
  • Kayagum pyongch'ang. Pyongch'ang denotes the singing of either a tan'ga (a short song) or excerpts from p'ansori (a long dramatic song) while playing an instrument, usually the kayagum (a 12-stringed zither).
  • Komun'go sanjo. Derived from southern provincial songs and shaman music, sanjo, an improvised solo, consists of several movements in different rhythmic patterns. The music begins slowly and gradually increases in tempo. It is characterized by subtle melodic decorations and microtonal shadings. Today, sanjo is played on the komun'go, a 6-stringed zither, plucked with a short bamboo rod.
  • Salp'uri. This dance belongs to the tradition of shamanistic dances. Salp'uri literally means "exorcism of calamity." It begins slowly, gradually increasing in tempo. The performer, clad in a white robe and scarf, uses the scarf and her body creatively to convey different moods "in the midst of silence."
  • P'ansori. A long dramatic song based on folk stories and legends is performed by one person to drum accompaniment. The singer speaks, sings and gesticulates with a fan, while the drummer, who sits to the singer's left, gives words of appreciation and encouragement.
  • T'aep'yongso and Samul. The t'aep'yongso (a conical oboe) plays shinawi, music originally used for shaman rites, while samul, meaning "four elements" of Korean percussion instruments--a small gong, a large gong, an hourglass drum and a small drum--play rhythms from nong'ak, traditional farmer's music.

The concert is sponsored jointly by the Asian Division of the Library of Congress and the Korean Information Center, an information clearinghouse affiliated with the Korean Embassy, The concert will last approximately 90 minutes. Because only limited seating is available, the event is expected to be standing room only. It is free and open to the public. No tickets are required. Accommodations for individuals with disabilities will be made upon request. For information, call (202) 707-5424.

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PR 97-154
ISSN 0731-3527

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