SOURCE: Korean Cultural Service New York

November 30, 2015 17:10 ET

4th Season of Performing Arts Showcase OPEN STAGE 2015-2016 Begins as Korean Cultural Service NY Brings Top Groups From Korea and New York

2015-2016 Season Announces Special Partnership With La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club and Flushing Town Hall; Season Will Kick Off December 11th With Dongrak Performing Arts Group

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - November 30, 2015) - The Korean Cultural Service New York proudly presents the 4th season of the OPEN STAGE performing arts series starting this December with a rich program of various genres of performing arts including Korean traditional music and dance, modern fusion world music, jazz, as well as contemporary dance and theater. Through a rigorous selection process, 7 groups have been chosen to take part in this season that runs from December of 2015 to September of 2016. The first performance of the season will be Friday, December 11th with the Dongrak Performing Arts Group presenting at the Flushing Town Hall in Queens, New York.

This year, Open Stage is expanding in both program and reach. First introduced in 2012, Open Stage has been playing a crucial role in presenting opportunities for rising performers to display their talents to a wide New York audience. This year, the selected performers not only include newcomers on the performing arts scene, but also established groups who have come directly from Korea.

The unique showcase consists of each performing arts group putting on one performance at the Korean Cultural Service New York (460 Park Ave. in NYC), Flushing Town Hall (137-35 Northern Blvd. in Flushing), or First Floor Theatre of La MaMa (74A East 4th St. in NYC) held approximately once per month. The performing arts groups are (in order of performance date): Dongrak Performing Arts Group (Korean Traditional Music & Theater), Chulsoo Kim & ridMos (Jazz), Joo Hee Yoon's Microcosmic Ensemble (Korean Traditional Fusion Music), Jeong Ga Ak Hoe (Korean Traditional Music), Suk Soon Jung Project S (Contemporary Dance), Playfactory Mabangzen (Theater), and Jeeyoung Kim (Korean Contemporary Music).

A special partnership with La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club and an extension of our ongoing partnership with Flushing Town Hall, which began last 2014-2015 season, is in response to the growing demands of our audience in New York and its boroughs. This new collaboration with La MaMa and the ongoing alliance with Flushing Town Hall is in line with the Korean Cultural Service New York's mission to provide genre-expanding works that introduce aspects of Korean culture to an ever-growing New York audience. KCSNY continues this expansion by providing a wide range of artistic programming and accessible works to New York City and its boroughs.

"The Open Stage performances began with a vision of providing a platform for emerging Korean and Korean-American performing arts groups to showcase their works in New York, and it's been exciting to see not only the growth of the programming, but also the ways that this opens doors for the continued development of these gifted artists" says Seung Je Oh, Director of the Korean Cultural Service New York. "We're especially excited to invite such top artists from Korea to perform here this season. We're very impressed with the sheer talent that these seven groups consistently demonstrate and looking forward to presenting them in our community."

Open Stage 2015-2016 is presented in partnership with Flushing Town Hall and La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club.

2015-2016 Season Overview

1) Friday, Dec. 11, 2015 (Korean Traditional Folk Music & Theater)

At Flushing Town Hall at 8 pm

Dongrak Performing Arts Group

< Kkun's - Master Players >

Performance Notes

Dongrak Performing Arts Group is an established team of top artists of Korean Traditional Folk Arts, blending music, theater, and acrobatics in their soulful and dynamic performances. Yeon-Hee is an artistic genre of traditional Korean folk theater and dance that use 'Yeomin Dongrak' in its choreography. 'Yeomin Dongrak' refers to the free-flowing dance movements that originated from our ancestors who went against the tradition and hierarchy that ruled Korea in the past. The program features works that remain true to the original traditional rhythms while blending and mixing sounds to make their own unique color.

About the Artist

Dongrak Performing Arts Group (Dongrak Yeon-Hee Dan in Korean) is a performing arts group that was founded under the auspices of the CROWN HaiTai company and its group members include many initiators of Important Intangible Cultural Properties in the performing arts as designated by UNESCO. With Han Bok Kim (awarded the Presidential Award at the World Samulnori Competition and Initiator of the Intangible Cultural Property, Taepyeongmu music) at the helm as the Group Leader and Ki Chang Kim (also winner of the Presidential Award at the World Samulnori Competition) as Master, Dongrak continues to impress its audience with its passion and sheer skill.

2) Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016 (Jazz)

At the Korean Cultural Service New York at 7 pm

Chulsoo Kim & ridMos

< Follow the Shadow >

Performance Notes

"Wonderfully exhibited crossroads of genres" - pianist Vardan Ovespian

Chulsoo Kim & ridMos, well known as "the best Hip Hop Jazz band" in Korea, shows how the music of New York City connects to the music of Korea, transcending geographic boundaries. Not only performing jazz standards, Chulsoo Kim & ridMos provides fresh jazz interpretations of each song performed, from traditional Korean children's songs to new compositions.

About the Artist

Chulsoo Kim & ridMos has become a pioneering group of the jazz scene in Korea and are known for the strength of each individual member, all of them being the top live session artists in the Korean music scene. Each member has led their own band and been taking on significant roles in the greater Korean music scene as solo musicians and even K-pop recording artists. Chulsoo Kim & ridMos features members who are graduates of renowned Berklee School of Music and they have performed not only in international jazz festivals, but also are regular performers for major TV broadcast programs.

3) Thursday, Mar. 24, 2016 (Korean Traditional Fusion Music)

At the Korean Cultural Service New York at 7 pm

Joo Hee Yoon's Microcosmic Ensemble

< The Wind From Korea >

Performance Notes

Joo Hee Yoon's Microcosmic Ensemble's program transports the audience to magical world transcending natural and human boundaries, performing works "on nature, human beings, and the universe with Korean traditional instruments in a Jazz setting." Audience will be treated to a program that blends Korean traditional sounds (with the group leader, Joo Hee Yoon on the haegeum) with new world music.

About the Artist

Joo Hee Yoon's Microcosmic Ensemble is a world music ensemble team formed by haegeum player and composer, Joo Hee Yoon. The ensemble made its debut in 2012 with Joo Hee Yoon's first album, Microcosm, which was sponsored by the Arts Council Korea. The team consists of highly acclaimed young musicians playing traditional Korean musical instruments and alongside internationally recognized jazz artists from all over the world.

4) Friday, Apr. 8, 2016 (Korean Traditional Music)

At Flushing Town Hall at 8 pm

Jeong Ga Ak Hoe

< JGAH concert – AkDanGwangChil >

Performance Notes

In celebration of 70 years of Korea's independence, JGAH aims to express the true meaning of liberation and South Korea's desire to be one. This unique program features works that are primarily from the northern regions of Korea as well as of the western provinces of North Korea. JGAH's purpose in utilizing the music from gut (spirit ritual music) and minyo (folk song) of the western provinces is to share and communicate with the audience the intense energy originating from gut and minyo, in particular, to emphasize the energy from the spiritual rituals of the Hwanghae province.

Rather than simply being classified under the label of North Korean music, this project seeks to be an artistic reflection on the meaning of liberation and unification through the music of today, emphasizing that which was once a singular culture and music.

About the Artist

Now in its 16th year of operation, JGAH is a talented traditional Korean music performance group based in Korea. In 2009, JGAH was the top recipient of the KBS Traditional Korean music award, and consistently leaves a memorable impression at their performances on stage in main events such as the National Theatre of Korea Yeowoorak Festival, Ulsan World Music Festival, Jeonju International Sori Festival, Incheon Pentaport Arts Festival, and more. Starting in 2005, JGAH's talent began to be sought out outside of Korea, all over the Americas and Europe, to countries such as the U.S., England, Spain, Italy, Brazil and more, and early this year was invited to the reputed Hong Kong Arts Festival, Asia's largest international arts festival.

JGAH has released a total of 5 albums from the past 8 years together. Praised for its excellence in interpretation of the depth and aesthetics of traditional Korean music, JGAH situates traditional music not merely in the past, but in the here and now, as music which breathes together with the present.

5) Friday, Apr. 29, 2016 (Contemporary Dance)

At La MaMa Experimental Theatre at 7:30 pm

Suk Soon Jung Project S

< For Whom >

Performance Notes

< For Whom > is a story about dreams -- both what we are dream about, and what we used to dream about. Project S urges the audience to remember the dreams we had as children, wearing masks and pretending to be superheroes. But as we live in the present, we have forgotten these dreams.

Through this work, two versions of "myself" are presented by the dancers as we look back at our lost youth, but also look towards our future dreams.

About the Artist

Consisting of an all-male group of performers, Project S is a dance company from Korea that presents refined choreography with powerful and energetic movements with a youthful vigor with a touch of humor. Suk Soon Jung, the artistic director and choreographer of Project S aims to communicate with the audience through his performances.

< For Whom > is presented by Korean Cultural Service NY in partnership with La MaMa as a part of La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival 2016

6) Friday, Jun. 17, 2016 (Theater)

At Flushing Town Hall at 8 pm

Playfactory Mabangzen < Hong-do >

Performance Notes

< Hong-do > is Playfactory Mabangzen's adaptation and revival of Sun-gyu Lim's most famous shinpa (a genre of popular drama), 'Deceived by Love, Despaired by Money' first written in 1936 about a courtesan's tragic love story.

In 1930s, introduction of the shinpa genre had brought on a great interest in theater and showed the potential of theatrical arts as an occupation. However, it has been disparaged in Korean theatrical history as a vulgar and inferior form of popular entertainment with poor artistic value. Nevertheless, shinpa gained huge success for its reflection of the general ethnic sentiment with an approachable style.

There is no typical shinpa approach in Hong-do. Instead, there is beauty of space and nuance with this new interpretation. With the absence of blackout scene changes, there are no boundaries of space and time. The undefined pure-white stage transforms into "anytime" and "anywhere," opening itself up to such moments when intensity coexists with silence and stillness. In that strange moment, the audience is immersed in emotion while simultaneously existing in the rational.

In today's world, the concept of purity is lost as self interest and instant pleasure prevail all around. In contrast, Hong-do foolishly keeps her loyalty to the end. As an everlasting classic, this sends a message to our modern society; Hong-do reminds us not only the virtues we have forgotten, but the true value of love.

About the Artist

In 2005, Playfactory Mabangzen was founded by writer and director Sun-Woong Koh. As a fan of magical realism, Koh is interested in depicting the strange realities and characters of the world. His aim is to find that which lies at the core of the piece, the essentiality, and recreate it. Trademarks of the company's performance include the actor's constant and unrelenting stage movements and unusual rapid fire speech. The name "Mabangzen" in Korean represents the sum of significant numbers spreading in all four cardinal directions. This became the name of the troupe as the company believes that no matter the level of emotion or deviation, the sum of the whole must be the same.

Mabangzen's major works include Hong-do, Killbeth, King of Steel, The Moon of the Buffalo, Luck Man Show, and Marijuana. The Moon of the Buffalo won the top prize at the Seoul Theater Festival in 2010 and Killbeth won the best play and best director at Donga Theater Festival in 2011; recently, Hong-do was selected as one of the 7 best plays of the Seoul Theater Festival in 2014, won the best acting at Donga Theater Festival, and best play at the E-daily Culture Award in 2014.

< Hong-do > will be performed in Korean with English subtitles

7) Friday, Sept. 2, 2016 (Korean Contemporary Music)

At the Korean Cultural Service New York at 7:30pm

Jeeyoung Kim

< Self Portrait. Music, Culture, and Literature >

Performance Notes

"Even to the untrained ear, there was no mistaking the elegance and poignancy of this music" - Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

This program presents Jeeyoung Kim's music and how her cultural and literary background as a Korean-American composer shapes her work. Kim's music illustrates her engagement with Korean literature and culture in her native country as well as her experience living in the U.S. < Self Portrait. Music, Culture, and Literature > is an intimate illustration, with clearly delineated Korean touches with both Korean and western instrumentation.

The first half of the concert will be a combined lecture concert with an explanation of the program before each piece

About the Artist

As a Korean-born composer who was educated in Korea and in the U.S., Jeeyoung Kim's music harmonizes the unique cultural aspects from eastern and western traditions. Recent works include two pieces, "Tryst" and "Ancient Bell," that were commissioned and toured worldwide by the Silk Road Ensemble lead by Yo-Yo Ma. In the summer of 2012, her orchestra piece Heroes was performed at the EXPO Yeosu in Korea and at Ozawa Hall in Tanglewood. Her opera, From My Mother's Mother, was commissioned and premiered in November 2012 by the Houston Grand Opera in Houston, TX.

Kim has won awards and recognition from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the ASCAP, International Alliance for Women in Music (IAWM), National Association of Composers, USA (NACUSA), Meet the Composer, Bunting Fellowship from Harvard University, Dale Warland Singers New Music Competition, American Music Center, Seattle Creative Orchestra Competition, Jerome Foundation, Ellen Battell Stoeckel Fellowship at Yale University, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Aspen Music Festival, and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. In addition, she has received numerous commissions and her music has been performed by many chamber orchestras and ensembles in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

All Open Stage performances are free admission, but online RSVPs through the Korean Cultural Service website at www.koreanculture.org is required. All performances are followed by a reception.

About the Korean Cultural Service New York

Inaugurated in 1979, the Korean Cultural Service New York (KCSNY) is a branch of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) of the Republic of Korea. Under the authority of the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in New York, KCSNY works to promote cultural arts exchange and stimulate interest in Korean culture through various opportunities. KCSNY provides diverse activities including exhibitions, concerts, film festivals, and educational programs. KCSNY is located at 460 Park Avenue (at 57th Street), 6th Floor, New York City. www.koreanculture.org

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