Hanguk Jeongakwon (Korean Traditional Music Academy, 韓國正樂院) and the Graduate Institute of Musicology of National Taiwan University present a joint concert of Korean gagok (歌曲) and Taiwanese nanguan (南管). Gagok in Korea is a cultivated lyric song cycle accompanied by instruments and was enjoyed by the gentry yangban class in Joseon Dynasty, while nanguan is a classical vocal and instrumental ensemble music that has been transmitted in amateur music clubs patronized by social elites in the Hokkien diasporic communities in southern Fujian, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia. Gagok and nanguan are not only similar in their elegant and contemplative music styles and intricate ways of vocalization but their wooden clappers and two-stringed bowed fiddles are also almost identical and preserve traces of instruments from the Tang and Song dynasties. Gagok has been designated as intangible cultural property in 1969 by the Korean government and as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2010, while nanguan received worldwide acclaim after Taiwanese nanguan group’s tour in Europe in the early 1980s, with its counterpart in China designated as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2009. Both music genres have been preserved in both institutional spheres and private organizations in Korea and Taiwan.
Hanguk Jeongakwon (韓國正樂院) was founded in 1909 as Joyang Gurakbu (調陽俱樂部) and is Korea’s first private music education institution. It was renamed as Chosun Jeongak Jeongseupso (朝鮮正樂傳習所) in 1911 with support from the Royal and Preservation Society as a response to political shifts and the decline of the royal music institute. Nowadays, apart from its scholarly endeavors such as the transcription of antiquated musical manuscripts into contemporary notation, the institute ardently engages in performance by establishing a professional performance ensemble in 1989. It held a concert at the prestigious National Gugak Center Concert Hall in 2019 to commemorate its 110th anniversary.
Gang-a Tsui Theater (江之翠劇場) was established in 1993. Presently, the group is committed to continuing the vision of its founding director, Chou Yi-chang, to modernize nanguan by keeping its beauty while simultaneously imbuing it with a contemporary spirit.