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HAN Sang Il

The Asia Traditional Orchestra was founded in 2009 in cooperation with the governments of 10 ASEAN countries and their respective advisors, under the guidance of the Asia Culture Hub City Promotion Team of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Korea in 2008.

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[Keynote Speech] ASEAN-KOREA: Leap Forward with Cultural Resilience

HAN Sang Il (Artistic Director, ‘Asia Traditional Orchestra’ of Asia Culture Center)

Presentation Video




 

Description

I’m Han Sang-il. I have been a permanent conductor of the Gwangju Municipal Gukak Orchestra and an artistic director of the Asia Traditional Orchestra since 2019.


First, I would like to express my most profound appreciation to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Korea's officials and the Korean Foundation for International Cultural Exchange for inviting me to the 2022 ASEAN-KOREA Innovative Culture Forum.


The Asia Traditional Orchestra was founded in 2009 in cooperation with the governments of 10 ASEAN countries and their respective advisors, under the guidance of the Asia Culture Hub City Promotion Team of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Korea in 2008.


Members of the orchestra are masters of their respective instruments. They have practiced together for a long time to create a musical harmony between Korean and ASEAN member countries’ traditional instruments. Accordingly, they’ve performed various activities at significant international and summit-level events in and outside Korea. Specifically, 2019 was a significant year since it marked the 30th anniversary of the ASEAN-KOREA relationship.


The city of Gwangju hosted the 2019 Special AMCA Plus ROK Meeting performance. In Jakarta, there was an exceptional performance for the 2019 ‘Korea Festival in ASEAN Festival’ as well. While in Bali, we performed under the Indonesian Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology, management which strengthened the relationship between Korean and ASEAN traditional musicians.


In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic became an unexpected moment of concern and crisis for the Asia Traditional Orchestra. However, we took this opportunity to present three original compositions as part of a new online repertoire that we still needed to try. Through that, harmony was created continuously in which we could experience the connectivity of Asian musicians once again and find hope in a crisis.

Such movements gained recognition in the opening ceremony of the 2020 ASEAN-ROK Culture Innovation Summit, the opening and closing ceremony of the 2020 Global Korea Convention, and the signing ceremony for the memorandum of understanding on cultural, art, and heritage cooperation for the 60th anniversary of Korea-Malaysia diplomatic relations.


These are examples of how the KOREA-ASEAN Culture Art Exchange Cooperation Project seeks sustainable cooperation and coexistence even under the circumstance of direct person-to-person interaction being closed off around the world. Since then, in 2021, we have successfully produced four new compositions through collaboration between governments, composers, and orchestra members.


As the Asia Traditional Orchestra is celebrating its 13th anniversary this year, We plan to release a music video showcasing the beautiful natural environments of both Korea and Vietnam using leading-edge technology in December via the YouTube channel of the Asia Culture Center(ACC) of Korea to celebrate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Vietnam in 2022. For this music video collaboration project, members of the Asia Traditional Orchestra met again in Gwangju after three years and engaged in memorable music and video production.


The Asia Traditional Orchestra has a deeper relationship between performers than any other orchestra I have ever experienced. It was only possible to continue the orchestra over such a long time with the trust and communication between the governments of Korea and 10 ASEAN countries and, of course, the musicians. When looking into the instruments of the Asia Traditional Orchestra, there are similarities and differences. Respecting and understanding those differences and working together through music over the decade has, in return, made the connection between our 11 countries more profound.


As the art director of the Asia Traditional Orchestra, the beautiful echo of the Asia Traditional Orchestra music will continue to take a significant role in the future friendly relationships between Korea and the other 10 ASEAN countries. Finally, I hope these active and positive cultural exchanges continue between ASEAN-KOREA countries from and beyond this Innovative Culture Forum.


 

Bio

HAN Sang Il (Artistic Director/Conductor, ‘Asia Traditional Orchestra’ of ACC, South Korea)

During his career as a Piri (Korean pipe/flute) player, Han became a conductor of instrumental parts for the National Changgeuk Company of Korea from 1987 to 1994. From 1995 to 1998, he served as the head and permanent conductor of the National Orchestra of Korea from 1995 to 1998 and also an artistic director of the Seongnam City Gugak Orchestra from 2005 to 2011. Since 2019, he has worked as an artistic director and permanent conductor of the Gwangju Municipal Gukak Orchestra. His experience as an artistic director and conductor, such as the Hallyu Arts Festival, Silk Road IRAN-KOREA Cultural Festival in 2017, and Gyeongju International Music Festival in 2018, led the Asian traditional music community by suggesting various directions for traditional music.


 

Organization

  • The Asia Culture Center (ACC)

The Asia Culture Center (ACC) is an international art and cultural exchange organization that produces new, future-oriented results through the convergence of Asia’s past and present arts and culture with innovative ideas and beliefs. Having the context of artistically sublimating the significance of the May 18th Democratic Movement’s human rights and peace as its point of departure, the ACC, which opened in November 2015, is a Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism–an affiliated institution established for the advancement of mutual understanding and cooperative growth with different Asian countries through an exchange, education, research, and other efforts concerning Asian culture.


  • The Asia Traditional Orchestra

The Asia Traditional Orchestra is the outcome of ASEAN countries’ acceptance of Korea’s proposal to create an “Asia that is united through music” by forming an orchestra exclusively of traditional Asian instruments. The Asia Traditional Orchestra was unique in that sense, and it is the world’s third traditional orchestra of international nature. The Orchestra was established during the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit held on Jeju Island in May 2009. The orchestra member countries are Korea and Southeast Asian ASEAN member nations: Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.


Now, the Asia Traditional Orchestra is run independently from the ACC and is a key element of the ACC. Functioning as a hub facility, the ACC serves as a cultural research center for exchange and creations, education, and research projects through systematic collaboration. Similarly, the founding objectives of the Asia Traditional Orchestra were also to promote friendship and understanding through cultural exchanges while promoting Asian music around the world. Therefore, a cross-cultural composition such as the Asia Traditional Orchestra is an excellent example of how the ACC’s vision is accomplished.

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