Nov 25, 2013
Nearing the end... - Japan/South Korea Tour, November 23, 2013
Patrick G. Jordan, viola
Our travel to Korea was largely uneventful, aside from someone’s jacket that got left on the plane – once the Korean Air Lines staff were informed, it was delivered very swiftly. While we were waiting, we noticed an unusually large number of young women outside the arrivals door, and learned from Jiwon Choi, who met us, that there was some K-pop star on a flight arriving around the same time as ours. When he and his posse of security left the arrivals area, there was a huge shriek, cameras were flashing, and Brandon Chui (viola) got smacked by three different pursuers as they trailed this guy. Maybe when we get back to Toronto, Tafelmusik will get the same reception…
Our venue and hotel are in the town of Goyang, which is actually closer to the DMZ between North and South Korea than it is to downtown Seoul. The huge local attraction is KINTEX, the Korea International Exhibition, the largest facility in South Korea for conferences, industrial shows and MICE events. Our hotel opened only last March primarily to serve the needs of KINTEX. As a result, it is on the leading edge of development in this neighbourhood, if I can use that word to describe the former farmland nearby that has huge urban thoroughfares cut through it, ready for all the people that will use them, rather than the abundant mice in the fields. I suspect that in 10 years, this area would be unrecognizable to us!
View from the Hotel KINEX. Photo by Julia Wedman
Our contact here, and the coordinator of programming for Classical music at the Aram Nuri Arts Centre is the woman who met us at the airport, Jiwon Choi. Curiously enough, she interned in the Tafelmusik marketing department when she lived in Toronto some years back. She and her team have been very helpful in all sorts of ways, not least of which as a liaison and translator between us and Dong-hwan Chung, the actor we’re working with here. The hall itself has a lovely acoustic, and the stage is large enough to offer some space around us and the screen, which always makes the show look better. We’re off this morning for our dress rehearsal and concert in a few minutes, so ciao for now!
Group shot (some members missing), outside Aram Nuri Arts Centre. Photo by Patrick Jordan