It’s not an everyday event where a Korean cultural performance is showcased in an American university. On May 3rd, however, UCSD, students and faculty were able to gather at the Conrad Prebys Music Center in order to watch the Pansori Performance of Professor Chan Eung Park from Ohio State University. UCSD Professor Eun Yeong Jung from the Music department says that she invited the renowned Professor Park in order to spread the awareness of the Korean culture not just to the Korean-Americans of UCSD, but to anyone that finds themselves stumbling upon UCSD a Friday afternoon.
What is pansori? Professor Park describes Pansori as a musical performance that incorporates both singing and storytelling, in a nutshell. Pansori has recently even been proclaimed by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2003. Professor Park, however, deviates from the traditional pansori in that she does the storytelling in English! The piece that Professor Park performed this day was the “Heungbo-ga.” Many Koreans might be familiar with the story of the “Heungbo-ga” but at UCSD, everyone was mesmerized by the synergy effect of the dynamic plot and Professor Park’s voice.
Professor Park travels all around the country performing and holding different seminars and workshops related to Pansori. What makes her special is that she reaches out not just to Koreans, but to Americans and foreigners who may be completely new to Pansori or Korean culture. She not only introduces Pansori, but makes sure everyone enjoys it. This was apparent in the many positive reviews she received from the guests this day. UCSD graduate student Laura stated that “it was simply amazing. I am glad that she was able to mesh tradition with creativity to make this performance so fun and humorous.”
Professor Park was flooded with questions after the performance, but she was generous to answer every single question. She did not forget to briefly the history of Pansori and technicalities related to Pansori. The Pansori performance by Professor Park was undoubtedly successful. People commented that it was “refreshing” and lingered even after the performance was over in hopes to take a picture with Professor Park.
This was the first time such a performance related to Korean art was held. Professor Jeong added that it would be her goal to try to hold at least 4-5 events such as these in the future for UCSD students in order to further spread awareness of the Korean culture.