An unveiling ceremony of a stone monument was held on 3. November, the day of remembering the 22nd year of Isang Yun’s death at the Isang Yun Memory Hall. The ceremony was organized to mark the reopening of the hall with a new name.
Although the hall was built near the site of the birthplace of Isang Yun to remember the late Tongyeong-born world-renowned composer in 2010, it could not be named after Isang Yun but as Docheon Theme Park due to the heated , protracted ideological dispute relating to him.
Isang Yun is the first and most important Asian composer, who achieved international acclaim in the Korean music history. His tarnished reputation was officially restored in his home country, but he is still not appreciated as much and as for what he should be due to ongoing prejudice and political differences.
Last August, a civil group in Tongyeong known as Golden Wave submitted a proposal to the city council to bring the right name back to the hall. Later, the council supported the proposal and voted unanimously to rename the hall, making changes to the regulation on the management and operation of the hall.
The memorial hall finally regained its title back. This event adds historic meaning to the celebration of the centennial of Isang Yun as the city of Tongyeong, together with Tongyeong International Music Foundation, and other related organizations, are all collaborating with a number of festivities in his honor.
The tide has turned more favorably towards him as seen in the country’s recent political developments. The changing political climate along with the momentum of his 100th anniversary has brought more attention to the life and feats of the late composer. Isang Yun was never able to return his home country, but his music returned. The Tongyeong International Music Festival and the Isang Yun Competition will continue to keep alive his legacy.
The Korean Notional Commission for UNESCO in cooperation with the city of Tongyeong hosted “2017 UNESCO Creative Cities Network Workshop” on 21. November at the Grand Ballroom of Standford Hotel & Resort in Tongyeong.
Officials of the Korean cities appointed as UNESCO Creative Cities gathered together with experts in the field of culture and urban development to attend the workshop featuring three sessions of ‘UNESCO Creative Cities and Sustainable Development,’ ‘Korean UNESCO Creative Cities Activities,’ and ‘the future direction of the Creative Cities Network.’
For the session titled ‘Korean UNESCO Cities Activities’ arranged to share their UCCN activities both at local and international levels, the Tongyeong city presented a variety of projects that have been done in 2017 in order to celebrate the centenary of Isang Yun, who is foremost in its recognition by UNESCO as a city of music.
The UNESCO Creative Cities network workshop has been held for 3 years, serving as a comprehensive platform to share success stories of sustainable urban development among the Korean UNESCO Creative Cities and to discuss how to make use of the Network with the presence of those who are specialized in the culture and urban development. This kind of national sub-network also offers an opportunity to consolidate working relationships among the Korea cities and enable them to coordinate their activities.
At this annual gathering, the UCCN officials of the Korean National Commission for UNESCO emphasized the importance of understanding the vision of the Network towards incorporating the objectives of the UN 2030 Sustainable Goal Agenda and New Urban Agenda.
Tongyeong hosted the 8th General Assembly of Tourism Promotion Organization for Asia-Pacific Cities(TPO) from October 18th to 21st of 2017. TPO is an international network of Asia-Pacific Cities established since 2002 for the purpose of promoting tourism in the Asia-Pacific region. It is currently comprised of 85 cities, and 45 non-profit and non-government organizations in the Asia-Pacific countries.
Tongyeong, successfully developing its city brand as UNESCO Creative City of Music, invited people to discuss ways to attract more tourists by strengthening city’s brand image and enhancing their charms, featuring the theme “City Brand and Tourism.”
As a host city, Tongyeong initiated the idea to hold a music concert in cooperation with the member cities to present a perspective that cultural creativity and artistic excellence could also provide great momentum for a city’s long-term direction towards attracting more visitors. This performance project was pushed forward by inviting representative art troupes from the member cities. As a result, an Asia-Pacific traditional music/dance concert of 7 groups was staged at the Blackbox of Tongyeong Concert Hall on October 19.
The performance groups who gladly took part in this collaborative project were Seungjeonmu Preservation Society from Tongyeong(South Korea), Gentak Laras Khatulistiwa from Jakarta(indonesia), Scenic Area Art Group from Dujiangyan (China), Heike Odori Preservation Society from Shimonoseki(Japan), Gema Warisan Budaya (GWB) from Ipoh City Council(Malaysia), Shawan Ancient Towns from Guangzhou(China), and Bong Sen Traditional Music and Dance Theater from Ho Chi Minh City(Vietnam).
The delegates all enjoyed an array of the cultural performances - such a good opportunity for the member cities to understand each other’s artistic excellence and appreciate traditional value and cultural diversity.
Photo by Sihoon Kim, TFO@Elbphilharmonie
In honor of the 100th anniversary of world renowned composer, Isang Yun(1917-1995), Tongyeong Festival Orchestra completed its first European tour. The concerts in remembrance of his musical feats were staged in German cities of Bochum(September 25/Anneliese Brost Musikforum Ruhr), Hamburg(September 26/Elbphilharmonie), Hannover(September 28/Orangerie Schloss Herrenhausen), Linz of Austria(September 29/Brucknerhaus), Brno of the Czech Republic(September 30/Desedni Dum), and Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia(October 2/Reduta).
Following the example of Lucerne, Switzerland, Tongyeong Festival Orchestra (TFO) was created to enhance the musical spectrum of the Tongyeong International Music Festival in 2011. Since then, this multinational ensemble has been assembled for performances in Tongyeong, Korea and abroad.
For this occasion, musicians from the Munich Philharmonic, NDR Elphilharmonie Orchestra, Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Kremerata Baltica, Sydney Symphony and many others gathered. Led by conductor Heinz Holiger(a longtime friendand supporter of Isang Yun), the orchestra performed Harmonia(1974) and Yun’s violin concerto no.3 (1992) with Clara-Jumi Kang.
Yun: Violin Concerto No. 3 (1992)
Yun: Harmonia (1974)
Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin
Ravel: Ma Mère l´oye (Complete Ballet)
Beethoven: The Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43 (Overture &1 Scene)
Saint-Saens: Introduction and Rondo Cappriccioso
Marking the centennial of Isang Yun, who was a musical bridge between Asia and Europe, TFO presented his music on an international platform as well as promoted his birthplace, Tongyeong. Serving as a cultural ambassador for Tongyeong, TFO carried the flag of Tongyeong and made the city known abroad.
UNESCO headquarter(Director-General, Irina Bokova) has designated 64 cities from 44 countries as UNESCO Creative Cities on 31. October in 2017. With these new cities joining the Network, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network is currently formed by 180 members from 72 countries, covering 7 creative fields : Crafts & Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Music and Media Arts.
UCCN continues to attract local authorities who perceive culture and creativity as key drivers for a more sustainable and inclusive urban development.
The new music cities among 64 UNESCO Creative Cities are:
Auckland (New Zealand)
Brno (Czechia) – Music
Chennai (India) – Music
Daegu (Republic of Korea)
Kansas City (United States of America)
Praia (Cabo Verde)
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