Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Sejong Cultural Society highlights Korean culture in 20th Anniversary Concert

Courtesy of Karisa Chiu and Sean Jang
Karisa Chiu won the Sejong Cultural Society Violin Competition in 2015.

This Sunday, Bienen and Weinberg freshman Sean Jang will play the violin at Galvin Recital Hall on campus in the 20th Anniversary Concert hosted by the Sejong Cultural Society, a Chicago-based Korean-American cultural association.

Jang has been playing violin since he was 4 years old and will be playing alongside his long-time violin teacher, Kyung Sun Lee, a professor of music in violin at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

“Lee’s the reason why I am where I am now,” Jang said. “It’s an honor to be able to play with her.”

This is Jang’s first involvement with the Sejong Cultural Society. He was invited to perform by Lee and Lucy Park, the executive director of the organization.

According to Park, the Sejong Cultural Society’s objective is to bridge the cultural gap between Koreans, Korean-Americans and Americans in the U.S.

“Our mission is to introduce Korean culture to American audiences, and our focus is young people and the younger generation,” Park said.

The 2015 Sejong Cultural Society violin competition winner, Karisa Chiu, will also play in the concert.

Chiu is currently pursuing her master’s degree in violin performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music and has been involved with the Sejong Cultural Society for more than a decade.

“I first participated in Sejong when I was 10 or 11 in 2010,” Chiu said. “Back then I was doing the junior division, and I participated every year since then, until 2015 when I won the senior division.”

The Sejong Cultural Society also works toward its mission through other programming, such as competitions in piano, violin, music composition, writing and most importantly, sijo.

The ancient writing style has been prevalent in Korean culture for centuries. Sejong Cultural Center is trying to bring sijo to a wider audience here in the U.S. 

“The biggest program is writing Korean poetry, sijo, and writing sijo in English so it immediately becomes a part of American culture, and it enriches American culture,” said Park.

David Ludwig, the dean and director of music at the Juilliard School, shares this sentiment. 

Ludwig originally became involved with the society as a music competition judge at Park’s request and is now returning as the 20th Anniversary Concert’s keynote speaker. He will deliver a speech via Zoom at the event.

“There’s something really beautiful about the idea of building bridges between multiple cultures, finding ways for people to find common ground and communicate together,” Ludwig said. “And I think that’s ultimately the goal of this organization.”

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X: @FrancescoThorik

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