Seoul International Guitar Festival 2007
Public Performance by Niibori Guitar Ensemble <NE>, Big Success with Standing Ovation!
Korean & Japanese Joint Guitar Orchestra was realized!

Kiyomi Niibori (a member of NE & Ladies' Quartet, Master of Arts in Music)

"Seoul International Guitar Festival", introduced in this column of Oct. 2007 issue, is reported here.
Some change from the schedule, reported formerly, was happened actually. KBS National Orchestra and "World Guitar Ensemble" were scheduled to appear on stage but they did not. Many changes of schedule occurred in accordance with above change, and we felt uneasy. But actual preparations such as arrangements for air tickets and hotels were completed to start our trip to Seoul. It became possible as we believe Niibori Guitar Ensemble=NE would be able to deal with any occurrence. That will be said as the result of the lead by Dr. Hiroki Niibori, musical director.
Affairs of the festival will be reported in daily order.

Oct. 23 (Tues.) Our plane took off Haneda International Airport at 15:35 and arrived at Kimpo Airport, Seoul after 2 and half hours' flight. The sponsor Mr. Jang Yoon-Sick and his wife came to air port to see us and took 1 hour drive to hotel, Coatel Chereville, in Gannam, Seoul. After checking in, we went to near-by restaurant, and Mr. Jang entertained members with baked chicken.

Oct. 24 (Wed.) The performance was held at Yeouido Gospel Church, locating in Yeouido, island in Hangang, big river streaming through center of Seoul. This is a demonstration for next day's performance by NE, and some pieces of music were presented in the intervals of a mass. Mr. Jang said as the church was the biggest one in Asia and capacity of hall was 7000 peoples. It is truly a big church and big screens, to project big images, are installed at left and right side of platform where clergyman preaches. PA equipments are also perfectly prepared. Here, NE performed Bach's "BWV1006a prelude" by Cembalo Guitar Ensemble and Mozart's Flute Concert by NE in the intervals of a mass. Performers' expression of faces were said to be projected at the screen. And for big surprise after mass, "Recuerdos de la Alhambra" and "Spanish Coffee", quite different image from church, were performed! These were requested from sponsor, of course. Christians just going back homes after the mass supposed to be surprised by this performance. They stopped to hear the performance and gave big hand claps and excited cries. Of course it was standing ovation. Many peoples in this audience came to public performance by NE on next day. Ms. Yeong Sil, worked as interpreter and manager, was a conductress of choir of the church.

Oct. 25 (Thu.) The public performance by NE was held at World Gloria Center in Gangdon, locating near to Seoul Olympic Park. The hall was also equipped with big screen. Rear side of stage could be used as a big screen but we asked not to use as screen to help conductor's concentration and better sound effect.
Capacity was about 800 seats.
The concert was started with "Canzone in Baroque Style" in 3 movements. Response of audience was quite hot and hand claps came soon after finishing the 1st movement. Good responses were seen especially for rhythmical and humorous pieces of music such as "Csikos Post" with guitarron solo. The last piece of music for concert program was "Kalinka, Memory of Russia". They gave us hot hand claps and shout for "encore", but standing ovation did not occur. The first encore piece "Spanish Coffee" showed standing ovation here and there, and the last one, Korean Folk Song "Hometown in Spring", caused ------,when melody began, stir in the audience seemed, then NE sang in Korean language caused increase of stir and finally just before final phrase was sung, explosive standing ovation occurred with big excited cries. Later, audience told us they were very glad to hear their national piece of music and really surprised and impressed at members singing in Korean language.

Oct. 26 (Fri.) Seminar by NE and joint exercise with Korean guitar ensembles were held. Contents of seminar was lecture by Mr. Naoto Shibayama explaining N-Method Guitars of each sound range with performances as solo and ensembles. Also DVD of Japanese Guitar Orchestra performance was projected. Students seemed to be interested in the performance by "Guitar Orchestra organized with 400 members". Actually, the joint exercise was held just after the seminar and some performers would possibly be attendants of the seminar. The joint exercise was held at same room for seminar. Number of performers was about 80. Lead by Mr. Kazuyuki Terada, conductor of NE, was joyful and effective to be praised highly. Korean performers were especially interested in the way of playing tremolo and they learned eagerly from NE members. All Korean performers were expected to play prime guitars (as all of scores received from sponsor were prime guitar scores) but alto guitarlike ones, double stringed alto cembalo guitars and guitarrons were seen. Rumor said there were ensembles using N-Method instruments in Korea, and that was true. Also latest-model-tuners were used.

Oct. 27 (Sat.) Joint Concert was held at World Gloria Center. Three professional orchestras performing for each 15 to 20 minutes and joint orchestra for the last were initially scheduled, and, as two professional orchestras changed the schedule to stay away from concert, NE performed 45 to 60 minutes (notified 2 weeks before departure and pieces of music were newly prepared). A few guitar ensembles, could not join exercise on the day before, came to join and the rehearsal of just before this public performance was done with about 200 members. Among them, guitar circles of Korean adults and house wives, guitar ensemble of Seoul University, guitar ensemble of middle school students, and other circles, about 10 groups in total were seemed to be joined.
They suffered many difficulties before rehearsal and took long time for preparation. Niibori Guitar has know-how of big organization and those tasks will be done easily. Wonderful Niibori Method was realized again. They planned and brought to reality for the performance by big organized guitar orchestra, and that would be praised with hand claps.
The performance of NE was done for about 60 minutes, exceeding scheduled time, and could finish the performance with big hand claps.
Next, big organized Korean and Japanese Joint Guitar Orchestra performed. Medley of Korean folk songs arranged by Mr. Jang, the sponsor, was performed with Korean conductress, Ms. Mikeong Lee, for the beginning. Then, Mr. Terada took baton and performed "Theme of James Bond" from movie and "Recuerdos de la Alhambra". Performing with Korean members uniting our hearts was the most delightful matter in the festival.
Autograph session and taking picture were held after the concert. The liveliest peoples were Korean performers, especially ladies' power was surprising, among general peoples! Korean drama became familiar among Japanese ladies and travelers to Korea are increasing, and NE boom will be expected among Korean ladies. It will be wonderful to be good friends with Koreans and Japanese, adjacent countries. Hot power of love of Korean and Japanese ladies will build the bridge of peace!! Perhaps---

Oct. 28 (Sun.) Mr. Jang and Ms. Lee Kyung-Hee, worked to prepare for festival and attended to 50th Anniversary Concert of Niibori Guitar in Japan and celebration party, came to see us off, and we left for home.

We appreciate kind arrangements and preparation by Mr. Jang and his wife, took care for us during our stay in Seoul, Mr. E Jieun and other interpreters, and other staffs. We are looking forward to spread guitar ensembles in Korea and to increase foreign students to fully learn N-Method.

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