Korean Concert Marks Friendship Between Berlin and Busan

The Busan-Berlin Peace Concert: The Beginning of a Friendship sought create closer cultural ties between Korea, Eurasia and Europe

August 08th, 2019
Frankie Fraser, News from Berlin
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On the 7th of August the Heimathafen theatre in Neukölln, Berlin witnessed an evening of Korean song and dance. The event was instigated by the Busan Philharmonic Orchestra and the Eurasia Expedition Ensemble with both hailing from the port city of Busan in South Korea, in commemoration of the coming 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is hoped that Berlin, a symbol of reunification following the collapse of the wall, can serve as an example to the Korean Peninsula during ongoing animosity.

The concert titled the Busan-Berlin Peace Concert: The Beginning of a Friendship bought together a hugely diverse audience made up of Berlin locals and Koreans alike. It is hoped that it will mark the beginning of a firm friendship between the pair of cities. Busan is South Korea’s second-most populous city, with 3.5 million inhabitants and acts as the economic, cultural and educational hub of southern Korea. Its port is essential for Korean trade, with it the fifth-busiest globally.

In the spirit of creating closer cultural links, the Eurasia Expedition Ensemble undertook a remarkable journey to arrive in Berlin. They travelled solely overland, baring an initial flight to a city on Russia's eastern coast, Vladivostock. Before embarking on an overland rail trip that saw them stop at 10 different cities on the route. It took the 56 participants an astonishing 25 days of travel to cover the distance of 12 218 kilometres. Highlights included Beijing, Ulaanbataar, Moscow and Warsaw, before concluding in Berlin. This was the fourth year of the Eurasia Expedition Ensemble, with the furthest west any prior trip managed to get was Saint Petersburg. This trip was supported by the Busan Foundation for International Cooperation which aims to promote the city to the wider world, through the expedition it was hoped that the Eurasian gap would be crossed, allowing for closer ties between Korea, Eurasia and Europe. In each city, they showcased Korean culture, through food, dance, music and seminars. The trip aimed to give a space to allow cultures to mix and meld, learning from each other in the process. 

The evening commenced with speeches welcoming guests in both German and Korean, before speeches from a representative of Busan and Berlin respectively. The expedition was then called to the stage and met with applause from the audience before a film was played detailing their remarkable journey. The opening act, a performance of traditional Korean music by the Eurasia Expedition Ensemble, featuring a classical Korean bamboo flute and drums. What followed was a performance of Korean dance, featuring three dancers in simultaneously. On conclusion of both performances, they were met with rapturous applause.

Following a brief interlude, the Busan Philharmonic Orchestra was welcomed to the stage. Prior to conducting renditions of Brahms’s Klarinettenquintett, Bach’s Doppelkonzer, and Tschaikowski’s Serenade für Streicher. The selection of the composers was emblematic of the objective of the journey undertaken by the Eurasia Expedition, featuring two German and a Russia composer. The evening concluded with a performance of Arirang, a folk song generally considered the national anthem of Korea and is estimated to be 600 years old. The audience left the theatre with a fantastic insight into the rich Korean culture, with the evenings objective of bringing a slice of Korea across the Eurasian space and into Europe well and truly achieved. 


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