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Nagi (2019) for shakuhachi solo and pork belly barbecue in Daegu, South Korea!

Daegu Concert House

I was told that the bus from Seoul airport to the city of Daegu takes four and a half hours. I am surprised to see so much nature without seeing civilisation for several hours during the trip, and started to be a little worry if I have took the right bus... Most of the road signs are not comprehensible for me as they are written in Korean, and only alphabet I see says Busan... But if this bus is going to Busan, then I have gone too far... All passengers except me are peacefully sleeping. The bus driver looks scary and I don't want to bother him...

Suddenly I saw buildings and houses - the city of Daegu! Phew... I was very honoured to be greeted by the festival director Cheol-Ha Park and the former director Eunsil Kwon of Daegu Contemporary Music Festival! One of the great things about this festival is that the staff members really take good care of the performers and the composers. The whole festival has a warm and friendly atmosphere! We were of course greeted with Korean energy food - pork belly barbecue with a looooooot of onions and garlic!

Pork belly barbecue with onion right before the attack of a looot of garlic bombs!!!

My new piece, Nagi (2019) for shakuhachi solo, was virtuosically performed by shakuhachi master, Teruhisa Fukuda.

Nagi (2019) for shakuhachi solo

Teruhisa Fukuda, Daegu

Nagi is all about how an identity exhausts its shape and voice. For example, it is incredible how a pop singer idol keeps singing the same song thousands of times over many decades during his or her life. Gradually he or she looses voice, flesh, and eventually the existence. But somehow it feels as if the repetition of the same old song gives some kind of mark on the timespace and it will never disappear. I am not sure what it is... perhaps some kind of energy that is concentrated like a ghost.

The amazing sound of shakuhachi beautifully resonated in the fantastic chamber music hall of the Daegu Concert House. With detailed interpretation and enormous effort by Mr. Fukuda, the piece beautifully came through with a great sense of focus and concentration!

The program of the concert also consisted of works by Yasunoshin Morita, Choji Kaneta, and Mihi Maria Yeom.

The city of Daegu!

I did not have too much time to stroll around the city centre, but I managed to find a little time before the final concert of the festival. And I loved all the people I got to know during the festival!

One thing I noticed: When you meet someone for the first time and shake hand, some people here hold your hand for a VERY long time. In Europe, people usually shake hand for 1 - 3 seconds. If it is longer than 3 seconds, you must be shaking a hand of a very special person. In Daegu, I met several people who held my hand for 10 - 20 seconds regardless of the gender! I felt so welcomed and appreciated! This is very different from Japan where people almost never touch each other.

What is this? Is it rice burger?

Apart from Mr. Fukuda, there were invited ensembles such as NeoQuartet (Poland), Ensemble S201 (Germany), and Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble (Russia).

The members of NeoQuartet are my close friends, who have performed my string quartet, Pleats, several times including in Daegu last year. Karolina, the first violinist of NeoQuartet, once made Polish dumplings when I visited her home. I had a great time eating delicious dumplings with her family, brother-in-law and his family, and the parents of brothers. Pleats is about the warmness and the strong bonding of a family.

Pleats (2016) for string quartet

NeoQuartet, Gdansk

I just had to try how Koreans interpret ramen... It was really good!!!

Buchimgae. Almost seafood buchimgae, but very little sea food in it...

Rolled dumplings!!!

Kimchi with pork on top of tofu with Korean nori.

Beondegi. This is my first time eating silkworm!It is strange... when you have a few beers, it starts to look like they are moving around on the plate trying to escape from my chopsticks.They are actually quite innocent and delicious!

Hope to be back to Daegu International Contemporary Music Festival in the near future!!!!