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Nat'l Gugak Center marks 70th anniversary with special court music performance Updated: 2021-05-28 13:41:26 KST

It's Friday and that means it's time for our weekly 'Life With Culture' segment. Our culture correspondent Kim Bo-kyoung is here at the studio, Welcome Bo-kyoung. I heard that there's a rare chance to enjoy Korea's traditional music this weekend?

Hi Conn-young, you are right. National Gugak Center marks the 70th anniversary of its foundation this year and to commemorate the special year, the center's 'Jeongak Orchestra' which plays what is considered Korea's classical music, has prepared a special show. Although the three-day performance ends on Saturday, I thought it would be a great chance to briefly take a look at the center's history and listen to the beauty of Jeongak. Let's take a peek.


The unique sound of traditional Korean instruments being played together comes from a type of music which dates back more than a thousand years.
"Eumseongseo," an organization in charge of music during the Silla Dynasty, is considered to be an early version of Korea's home of traditional music: the National Gugak Center.
As time passed the name changed but its purpose of showcasing Korean traditional music for future generations remained.
Following Korea's independence in 1945, a petition was submitted to the government by Lee Ju-hwan, the representative of traditional musicians, urging for the establishment of a state-run organization similar to "Eumseongseo".
The petition was accepted and the National Gugak Center was to be established.
But as the Korean War broke out in 1950 the center was set up in the temporary capital, Busan.
The center later returned to Seoul and had many different locations until it finally settled in the Seocho-dong neighborhood.
This year the National Gugak Center is in its 70th year and to celebrate, it is opening several special court music performances known as "Jeongak," similar to classical music from the West.

"It is not an exaggeration to say the center's history is also Jeongak's history. Ever since its establishment, Jeongak was the music that was usually played in royal courts or by the elite. It's different from folk music, it isn't very emotional - it's calm and peaceful as it was played to stimulate the minds of the literati."

The court music orchestra showcases what's called "Yongsanhoesang" which has three very distinct versions with instruments ranging from string to wind.
One of the orchestra members, who is the intangible cultural heritage holder for the royal ancestral ritual in the Jongmyo shrine and its music, says the task of promoting gugak is not yet finished.

"From now on, the center needs to turn gugak into music that all people including people from other countries can enjoy. Making it globally-recognized is what we need to do to honor those who have struggled to preserve it."

With keen determination to preserve the beauty of gugak, those who play and promote Korean traditional music are working together to ensure that gugak lives on for another thousand years.


It's wonderful to hear how our thousand-year-old traditional music gugak is being preserved and played for us to enjoy. Turning to more recent music, I heard K-pop sensations BTS have yet another performance today?

That's right, BTS are set to return to the 'Good Morning America' 2021 Summer Concert Series as the first performer in the series.
BTS are among a lineup of more than 20 musicians including Pitbull. who are to perform virtually on the famous U.S. morning talk show's summer series until August.
This is not their first time that BTS are a part of the show as they did a live performance of two songs "Boy with Luv" and "Fire" in 2019 at New York's Central Park.
This year's show comes a week after their second all-English song "Butter", which according to the Guinness World Records, has broken five world records across YouTube and Spotify including 'Most viewers for the premiere of a video on YouTube' and 'Most viewed YouTube music video in 24 hours'.

Wow that's amazing, I am pretty sure BTS fans ARMY would be looking forward to the show. Thank you Bo-kyoung for sharing information, I will see you next week.

Thank you.
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