Performances 2020

Research Grant for Korean-Australian Heaven to Earth Multimedia Expressions

Heaven to Earth: Border House(sanjo gayageum, taegum) was awarded a Western Sydney University RIF-funded Collaborative Seed Funding Grant for the project ‘Heaven to Earth Multimedia Expressions: Border House SanjoFragments and Korean-Australian Improvisations with Filmic Interactions’. The project was to have been recorded and filmed in Western Sydney from 11-16 August 2020, but this was postponed to 2021 due to the world pandemic.

The focus of the research, is a double multimedia project between Dr Hyelim Kim (London-based taegum musician), Prof. Yi Ji-young (Korean-based kayageum musician) with WSU researchers, Kate Fagan (poet), Bruce Crossman (composer/piano improviser), Waldo Garrido (bass improviser) and Vincent Tay (filmmaker).  The idea is to create two intercultural ‘Border House’ works that explore intercultural creativity between Korea and Australia through the frame of the traditional Korean instrumental form of Sanjo: firstly, a multimedia work for taegum/voice (traditional Korean flute) and kayageum/ voice (traditional Korean zither) with filming/ interpretation by Tay; and secondly, record two improvisations between the Garrido-Crossman Duo and Yi and Kim with filming/interpretation by Tay.


Recording Project: Korean-Australian Heaven to Earth Border House

Bruce Crossman and Kate Fagan’s Heaven to Earth: Border House (sanjo gayageum, taegŭm) (2019-20) and Gyeonggye: Border (solo taegŭm) (2020) will be recorded by Dr Hyelim Kim (London-based taegŭm musician) and Professor Yi Ji-young (Korean-based kayageum musician) in October 2020. The projected is funded by Western Sydney University with their RIF-funded Collaborative Seed Funding Grant and School of Humanities and Communication Arts Researcher of the Year 2019 (Practice-based Research) Award.

Heaven to Earth: Border House (sanjo gayageum, taegŭm) (2019-20) and Gyeonggye: Border (solo taegŭm) (2020) will be recorded by Yi Ji-young and Hyelim Kim at Seoul National University, Korea and in London, Stella Polaris Studios, United Kingdom. The recordings will be used as the basis for two experimental films with Australian cinematographer and director, Vincent Tay.


WSU-Create NSW & Make Music Australia: Make Music Day 2020

Bruce Crossman’s music-theatre work, Shy Like Blushing Flowers, featured at the online showcase of music in  ROOM 2: Intercultural Explorations at the Western Sydney University, Create NSW & Make Music Australia: Make Music Day 2020. The showcase was curated by WSU academics A/Prof Sally Macarthur and Dr Clare Maclean with state partner, Augusta Supple, CreateNSW, on 21 June 2020.

Still from the video Shy Like Blushing Flowers by Simon Killalea (filmmaker)

Shy Like Blushing Flowers takes its point of departure from the sensuality of Tang Xianzu’s poetry as well as the structured sense of revelatory space from the Chinese Gardens in Sydney. The music explores the poetry’s static sense of understated erotic tensions that suddenly strike the senses through nature allusions through inside-the-note vocalizations and operatic vibrato through the mezzo-soprano line, and accentuates the colours through drawing on both traditional Chinese and extended European instrumental techniques.

Shy Like Blushing Flowerswas performed by Anna Fraser (mezzo-soprano), Claire Edwardes (percussion), Linda Yim (piano), Michael Kieran Harvey (piano), Tim Phillips (percussion) and Chiu Tan Ching (guzheng) with Simon Killalea (video) & Ian Stevenson (sound diffusion).


Sydney Sacred Music Festival Forum Seminar Sessions: Sacred Creativity

A/Prof Bruce Crossman (Western Sydney University) was a panelist in Sacred Creativity: The Situation Now as part of a series of forums organised by Dr Nicholas Ng, Research Fellow, at the Australia-China Institute for Arts and Culture, 9 September 2020. The other panelists included Prof Jocelyn Chey (Western Sydney University), Geoff Wood (ABC Radio National) and Dr Mahesh Radhakrishnan (Sydney Conservatorium of Music).

Panelists were asked to address the central theme of ‘sacred creativity in the postdigital age’. This forum brought together some of the world’s leading practitioners and thinkers in the field of spiritually-inspired music and related art forms. Are we transitioning away from technology to return more to nature? Where will the ‘new normality’ take us creatively as a result of the global pandemic?


Research Creation Showcase: Western Sydney University

Bruce Crossman’s improvisation trio—Garrido-Crossman-Muru—featured in the Lunchtime Concert section of the School of Humanities and Communication Arts’ Research Creation Showcase, Research Week 2020 at Western Sydney University, curated by Professor Hart Cohen and team. The online event featured ‘That Witch, That Knife’ (narrator, piano, bass) with performers Bruce Crossman, Waldo Garrido, and Evan Yanna Muru on 23 October 2020.

Waldo Garrido, Bruce Crossman and Evan Yanna Muru at the Live Space, Recording Studio, Penrith Campus, Western Sydney University

This freeform improvisation was sparked by the narrative sense of meditative space and drama in Aboriginal storyteller Evan Yanna Muru’s dreamtime spiritual narratives of place, which pianist Bruce Crossman and bassist Waldo Garrido respond to with meditative-to-explosive dialogues, drawing on Chilean Mapuche rhythms and momentary Asian-Pacific living colours.


Korea-Australia Creativity Seminars: Something Inexplicably Subtle

Bruce Crossman organises a Western Sydney University & Seoul National University Creative Collaboration: Heaven-to-Earth Inspiration: Gugak Performers & Australian Composers on UN Sustainability Mandate on Diversity (intercultural), 15, 22 October & 19 November 2020.

Following on from Gayageummaster Hwang Byung-ki’s idea of ‘something so inexplicable subtle that is can only be felt deep in the heart…[it] comes down from heaven to stay in the human mind…It touches the heart of everyone…and activates his spirit’ (Hwang 2002), Western Sydney postgraduates collaborate through file-sharing to compose and improvise music with their counterparts in Seoul National University, research students in traditional Korean music—Gugak—on gayageumand haegeum. The students were supervised by Professor Yi Ji-young—considered one of the most important Korean gayageum players of our time, and Professor Sngkn Kima highly respected Korean composer and cultural organiser. A research panel including Australians Dr Kate Fagan (WSRC) and Dr Waldo Garrido (SHCA) in conversation with Korean musicians Professor Yi Ji-young  (Seoul National University and Dr Hyelim Kim (Barbican Third Orchestra, London) discussed the ‘inexplicable subtle’ creative interactions between Korea and Australia.


Seminar 2: Thursday, 5-6.30pm, 22 October 2020—Zoom link Heaven-to-Earth Inspiration 1: Gugak Performers & Australian Composers

Crossing cultural borders electronically between Korea and Australia to explore the inexplicably subtle pulses of sound that stir from heaven and connect human hearts creatively. Chair: Associate Professor Sally Macarthur (SHCA, Director of Academic Programme, Music); panelists: Dr Waldo Garrido (SHCA) with special guests Professor Yi Ji-young (Korean Music Department, Seoul National University) and Dr Hyelim Kim (Visiting Research Fellow, Bath Spa University, UK) Creatives: Joe Tabua (electric guitar) and Jess Irish (voice/violin) with Yoon Ha-young (gayageum) Park Si-hyun (haegeum), research students in traditional Korean music—Gugak.

Dr Hyelim Kim (Visiting Research Fellow, Bath Spa University, UK) & Professor Yi Ji-young (Seoul National University)

Yi Ji-young—a Korean official master (yisuja) of the Intangible Cultural Property No. 23 Gayageum Sanjoand Byeongchang(singing self-accompanied on gayageum)—kicked off the proceedings with a beautiful cultural framing of creativity form her Korean perspective, as working from tradition but with intercultural openness which makes for a rich and strong culture. Moderator Sally Macarthur, talked of the sensitivity and ‘inexplicableness’ of the beauty of Yi’s traditional sanjosounds, that kicked off the music section. Chilean jazz virtuoso bassist Waldo Garrido and leading Korean taegum performer form London, Hyelim Kim, unpacked the necessity of openness—as in her work with Nils Frahm, and in his solid knowledge of tradition that builds virtuosity as in work with Ornette Colman’s drummer, Nacho Nena.

There were beautiful and inventive outworking’s of this sense of tradition, with multi-award international winning Jess Irish (violin) working with Park Si-hyun (haegeum) in sensuous and sinewy interweaving of western and Korean violin sounds. The two plan to embark on further collaborations. Indie rock electric guitarist Joe Tabua worked with Yoon Ha-young (gayageum) in a drone based music with inside the note electronic pedal and finger wriggling aftertones.

Photo Documentation: Seminar 2: Thursday, 5-6.30pm, 22 October 2020

Photo Documentation: HDR Studio Recording: Monday 19 October, 2-5pm in Sydney


Seminar 3: Thursday, 5-6.30pm, 26 November 2020—Zoom link 

Heaven-to-Earth Inspiration 2: Gugak Performers & Australian Composers 

Crossing cultural borders electronically between Korea and Australia to explore the inexplicably subtle pulses of sound that stir from heaven and connect human hearts creatively

Chair: Dr Eve Duncan (former Executive Member, Asian Composers League); panelists: Dr Kate Fagan (HCA, Director, Writing and Society Research Centre); Mr Vincent Tay (Film, SHCA) with special guests Prof. Kim Sngkn (Professor of Composition, College of Music, Seoul National University) and Dr Hyelim Kim (Visiting Research Fellow, Bath Spa University, UK)

Creatives: Robert Moss (guitar, voice), Jin-ju Yang (gayageum),Alex Frendo (guitar) and Emma Harlock (bass) with research students in traditional Korean music—Gugak—Chuljin Kim(gayageum), Soojeong Ko (haegeum) and Eonhwa Lee (gayageum)

Dr Hyelim Kim (Visiting Research Fellow, Bath Spa University, UK) & Dr Kate Fagan (Director, Writing and Society Research Centre)

This forum focussed on the multidisciplinary creative arts, chaired by Dr Eve Duncan (former Executive Member, Asian Composers League)—a long-term Asian cultural organiser and executive of our partner organisation The Melbourne Composers League. She drew out exciting ideas from the presenters around surrounding beautiful presentations of poetry, film and music. Dr Kate Fagan (HCA, Director, Writing and Society Research Centre), Mr Vincent Tay (Film, SHCA) and Dr Hyelim Kim (Visiting Research Fellow, Bath Spa University, UK) unpacked their ideas around poetry of permeable borders of place and spirit and nature, bamboo as evocation of birds and spirit, and searing Cambodian imagery—where nature becomes brooding poetry. The creative context, included the partial première of a RIF supported film project Fagan, Crossman, Kim, Yi and Crossman are involved in Heaven to Earth Border House. Tay presented his poetic cinematography with Vanna Seang in 1979and Fagan unpacked her beautiful poem Border House, with its majestic openness to ideas.  Prof. Kim Sngkn presented via video his production of Ahn Yiho’s Yard—a disturbing look at industrial exploitation using the Korean narrative storytelling form of Pansori as a contemporary criticism of injustice within imaginative symbolic film images.

The postgraduate exchange between Seoul National University and Western Sydney University students ended the session with a refreshing joy.  Jinju Yang (gayageum) & Soojeong Ko (haegeum) in Married Lifejuxtaposed Korean women discussions over bluesy string vibrations and kitchen sounds, whilst 5 million stream man Robert Moss (guitar) worked with Eonhwa Lee (gayageum) in a gritty indie timbre piece in Two Faces, and the night closed beautifully with lyrical cultural melodies in dialogue within Holding the Gates Between Heaven and Earthwith Alex Frendo (guitar/electronics) & Chuljin Kim(gayageum).

As Prof. Kim Sngkn, Professor Sngkn Kim (founder, Tongyeong International Music Festival) pointed out in his opening speech, this cultural exchange project leads to the hope of developing further works—especially in contemporary Pansori narratives between our poets, filmmakers and musicians in the future.

Photo Documentation: Seminar 3: Thursday, 5-6.30pm, 26 November 2020

Photo Documentation: Studio Recording: Monday 23 November, 2-5pm in Sydney