ASEAN-Korea Flute Festival Triumphs with Back-to-Back Gala Concerts

The Philippine leg of the ASEAN-Korea Flute Festival concluded its week-long celebration with a gala concert at Carlos P. Romulo Theater, RCBC Building, Makati City on December 1, 2017 (Friday) and a public concert at Concert at the Park, Manila on December 2, 2017.

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Under the artistic direction of National Artist for Music Dr. Ramon P. Santos, the two-night showcase of contemporary and traditional music pieces gathered some of the most prolific flutists and musicians from the ASEAN-member states and The Republic of Korea.

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The concert kicked off with key musicians performing “Fireflies”, a piece composed by Qinglun Tan, Festival Director and ASEAN Youth Camp alumnus from Singapore.

The opening number captured the cultural background and artistic peculiarity of the country that each flutist was representing, while providing a platform for the audience to understand and appreciate ASEAN and Korean flute traditions.

As expected, the 11 lead flutists broke new grounds as they collaborated for a special number that combines the indigenous origins of Southeast and East Asian music with modern and experimental approaches. Other musicians playing a variety of Oriental instruments from strings to percussions, joined the musical convergence as the mood varies from sunrise to sunset, dark to whimsical.

The second part of the concert highlights the extraordinary oeuvre of Dr. Ramon Santos called “Ihip-ihip-an,” which he specifically wrote for the ASEAN-Korea Flute Festival. As an experiment in showcasing the possibilities of music with flute as its primary element, the pan-Asian piece not only evoked beauty and mysticism beyond words but also stood out as a masterwork that deserves some recognition here and abroad.

The 2-night celebration wrapped up with a standing ovation from the audience, a proof of the flute’s lasting impact in safeguarding and promoting ASEAN and Korean histories, cultures, arts, traditions, and values.

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The ASEAN-Korea Flute Festival is a project of the  ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information that is being spearheaded by the Philippines’ National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs. Supported by the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the ASEAN-Korea Cooperation Fund, the Festival whose Korean leg runs from 03-09 December 2017 in Seoul and Busan, is being made possible in collaboration with Korea’s Seoul Music Group.

Although being implemented at the tail end of the Philippines’ Chairmanship of ASEAN, the event still forms part of the commemorative activities for the 50th  anniversary of ASEAN, that coincides with the 25th anniversary of the ASEAN-Korea dialogue relations, and the 2017 ASEAN-Korea Cultural Exchange Year.  

Congratulations on an extremely successful event. We’re looking forward to your cultural efforts next year.