Tag Archives: composer residency

Korea-bound in June for International Gugak Workshop

NGC logoI’ve just been invited to attend the 2013 International Gugak Workshop, held at the National Gugak Center in Seoul, South Korea June 17-29.  15 participants, mostly composers and ethnomusicologists, were selected from a larger pool of applicants for this prestigious and exciting opportunity.  For two intense weeks we’ll be trained by masters in all aspects of Korean traditional music (gugak), from history, theory, instrumental technique, etc.  As a composer fascinated by this music and a self-taught piri- and taepyeongso-player, I couldn’t be more thrilled.  Basically I’ll eat, sleep, breathe, sweat, and bleed Korean music until I probably forget what my name is.  This is the exact type of thing I’ve been looking for (not forgetting my name): to dig deeper and broader into these traditions, and to in turn inform my own music-making.

NGC pic 5

By night we’ll have opportunities to attend concerts at the Center, and undoubtedly also venture through the city to see similar offerings (there are many, as appreciation for its own classical music runs high in Korean culture); or enjoy Seoul nightlife (our hotel is in/near the now-famous Gangnam district as it turns out).  I hope to maybe pay a visit to The Palm or other Jazz clubs, and also run into a friend or two …and I’ll have my main axe in case any playing comes up.  But any extracurricular activities won’t be easy as the workshop schedule is demanding.  A weekend performance/workshop/sightseeing trip to Jindo Island is planned.  Best of all is that airfare, room and board are all covered in essence by the Korean government; one that gets its priorities right in supporting initiatives like this, that help proliferate its unique arts and culture throughout the world.
Needless to say I’m excited about this trip.  Of course this comes at an uncertain time on the Korean peninsula, amid all the current rhetoric from the North.  But here’s to hoping (and praying) for a peaceful resolution and the safety of all involved; and that come June, April’s headlines will be a faded memory.

I expect to update here again about the workshop as the dates approach.  I highly doubt I’ll be able to post during it, but if nothing else, I’ll certainly follow up afterwards with as many photos and writings as I can.  JF

Grant, Great Gig, Grace, Gratitude: January/Winter 2013

SAMSUNG CSCDear Friends,

Happy New Year and a thank you for your continued interest in my music.  2013 is full of promise with both ongoing and new opportunities detailed below: the Composers Now Festival, my commission to compose for the Airmen of Note, and a grant award to fund an exciting new project. You’ll also find links to my recent interviews on WICB radio and Exploring the Metropolis, plus a short recap of the high points of 2012.  Pictured above, I share a break with Chang JaeHyo (at left), during an October rehearsal with his Sonagi

Sunday, February 17 at 5pm at Flushing Town Hall: 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, NY 11354 map.  Free.   In a first for me, my upcoming lecture offers my closest audience interaction to date. Part of the Composers Now Festival, this event will be a great
chance to meet any local readers (you!) and to open a window into what I actually do between newsletters!  Here’s a blurb about it:
Composer-in-Residence Lecture: Composing on Korean Wind Instruments
I’d like to invite you to a presentation I’m giving at Flushing Town Hall on Sunday, February 17 at 5pm. During the Fall I served as composer-in-residence at this venue, in an opportunity funded by Con Edison and administered by Exploring the Metropolis. To
culminate this residency, I will give a talk about my unique choice to compose during this time solely upon Korean wind instruments, the piri and taepyeongso — including teaching myself to play them. I will talk about this composing method, my findings, and briefly
demonstrate the work in progress on these instruments.
Many of you know me to date as a composer and trombonist. So I’m excited to share this new instrumental path and deeper study of Korean music that I’ve begun; a path I intend to continue long after the residency. I believe those of you who will be in the area on 2/17
will have a unique interest in attending. See event details and links below.

The Queens Council on the Arts has awarded my proposal for a new project I’m calling New Sounds of East and West. It’s still being  developed and I don’t have many details to share yet, but here is a little more info in my recent blog post:


Listen to my recent interview with WICB 91.7FM Jazz Impressions, where we spoke about the cultural background to Mulberry Street and some recent happenings:



A new international review! The Italian critic Maurizio Comandini reviewed Mulberry Street recently for All About Jazz Italia.  My link  includes the English translation and a link to the original article.

exploring_the_metropolis_logoETM INTERVIEW
Read my extensive interview published by Exploring the Metropolis, the organization that administered my composer residency funded by Con Edison:

What an eventful year 2012 was for me, both personally and professionally. My dental
implant procedure is now complete, ‘capping’ a 15-month journey since my career-altering injury. But truly teaching me about healing is my two year old son Kyle, whose miraculous recovery and progress since his traumatic fall in May has made my family is intensely grateful. (Pictured bottom-to-top are Kyle, his mom Choi, brother Teo, and Daddy — after Kyle’s return home in July from two months in the hospital).  Looking back, I thank God for this miracle, as well as for opening professional doors during the year. I find it important to reflect, appreciate, and share highlights of these opportunities here:
…launching and performing with Street Beat in Spring and Fall including being pictured in the NY Times, the alliance of Project Hansori and Soh Daiko at the Locating the Sacred Festival, the Sammy Nestico Award and performance with the USAF Airmen of Note, performance at the All Nite Soul Festival, my first radio interview, an extensive interview with Exploring the Metropolis, an ASCAP Plus Award, a thrilling collaboration with Sonagi Project, the Con Edison Composer Residency, the premiere of Cumberland Gap commissioned by West Point Band’s Jazz Knights, the premiere of Sanjo for Violin and Piano commissioned by JongEun Lee, and new international praise for my 2011 album Mulberry Street.

Best of health, happiness, and musical experiences to you in 2013.

Thank you,

Jeff Fairbanks
Composer, Performer, Bandleader