The 4th Seoul International Community Orchestra Festival
(Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, Seoul, 2017.9.16 Sat – 9. 24 Sun)
Orchestra for All
On the initiative of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts and the Korean Amateur Musicians’Association (KOAMA), the Seoul Community Orchestra Festival was launched in 2014 and brought 2200 citizens, ‘amateur-musicians‘, on stages of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts.
The interest for the “Orchestra for All” festival increased every year.
In 2017 the Seoul Foundation for Arts & Culture was joining the organization and from now on the festival was not just for amateur musicians from Korea any longer; it became an international event for musicians from all over the world.
In spring of 2017 the Korean Amateur Musicians’ Association (KOAMA) and the Seoul Foundation of Culture and Arts (SFCA) announced the Seoul International Community Orchestra Festival (SICOF) for amateur musicians worldwide as an expansion of the ”Orchestra for All” music festival, to be hold in September 2017. Out of a few hundred applicants from 39 countries, the organizing committee selected – through video-applications – 63 musicians from 29 countries to be founding-member of the Seoul International Community Orchestra (SICO). Those founding-members are also representative for their country and community.
The SICO-orchestra has been launched for a period of 3 consecutive years. At least 1/3 of the invited musicians for the edition of 2017 will be re-invited in 2018 but new candidates will also get the opportunity to apply in spring 2018 for the next festival.
The musical direction is entrusted to the French conductor Antoine Marguier, artistic director and co-founder of the United Nations Orchestra in Geneva.
Without any doubt the SICO-orchestra was a tremendous success. 63 enthusiast instrumentalists and an enthusiast professional conductor sharing great masterpieces by Van Beethoven, Dvorak, Nielsen, Brahms and proving the significance of amateur arts by the power of music.
At the official ceremony on Thursday 21rst of September at 13:00 in the Seoul Citizens Hall the orchestra members presented the Seoul Community Arts Declaration (see attachment). A joint declaration, consisting of 10 key-issues, which are basic for community arts.
But SICOF, Orchestra for All 2017 was more than only one International Community Orchestra. Numerous Korean community orchestras could present their program, 3 orchestras from abroad were invited – the orchestra of the Federation of Japan Amateur Orchestras, the North Devon Sinfonia (United Kingdom) and the Recycled Orchestra from Cateura or Landfill Harmonic (Paraguay) – and finally there was the Asian United Orchestra. Following the words of the mayor of Seoul 4.400 participants of 70 groups from 31 countries were present.
The official opening on Sunday 17/09 at the Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul was a united performance of the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura (Paraguay) and 1000 student representatives from 435 Korean youth orchestras. A few hours later, on the stage of the Sejong Grand Theater, – after their separate performances – the Recycled Orchestra united with the Seoul Student Philharmonic Orchestra.
One week later on Sunday 24/09 at the very last performance of the festival the Seoul Civic Philharmonic Orchestra brought a united performance with the Seoul International Community Orchestra.
This list of facts can sound a little bit dazzling but it proves the importance and the need for all citizens – here amateur-musicians-, to join in community arts. I would like to quote LEE Sung-Yeop, President of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts: There is no denying that it (= community arts) made everyone in the community happier. I would like to applaud all the amateur-musicians for their passion and drive which enables them to realize their dreams through music.
This first international festival was a Korean initiative. WFAO will continue and increase his contribution in close harmony with the local organizers in the common interest of all amateur-musicians in their communities worldwide.
– Alex Van Beveren
Read more on the facebook pages of SICOF,