Two Cellists is part of the Spring Revolution festival, National Sawdust’s annual two week festival celebrating the musical revolution created by Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. Held from March 1st through March 11th, this year Spring Revolution celebrates the voice of multicultural women, with every night featuring female curators, artists and composers because the female perspective is the human perspective and the human perspective should be inclusive.
This performance features works by seminal composer Isang Yun (1917 – 1955), to be performed in collaboration with Bhutanese musicians. The performers are the “remarkable virtuoso” Matt Haimovitz (The New Yorker) and Frances-Marie Uitti, dubbed by The Guardian as “arguably the world’s most influentially experimental cellist,” who will perform with her signature two bowed style.
Isang Yun’s music is most known for its remarkable combination of elements from East and West, and for his harrowing tale of political repression that in many ways mirrors that of Dmitri Shostakovich. A student of studies in both Japan and Korea, he was active in the resistance against Japanese occupation, resulting in his political imprisonment in 1943. After wartime, he worked as teacher and lecturer at the University of Seoul. Yun eventually achieved a compositional breakthrough with premiere of orchestral work Réak at the 1966 Donaueschingen Festival. However, he was soon kidnapped in 1967 by the South Korean Secret Service, transported to Seoul, tortured, and threatened with death. In prison, Yun composed the opera Butterfly Widow on the floor of his cell. Following diplomatic pressure from the international composing community, he was released to return to Germany in 1969. In the last 20 years of his life, he concentrated on concerto form and composed 5 symphonies. Yun’s works explore aesthetic and philosophical issues relating to Asian traditional music, Chinese Taoism and Western avant-garde compositional procedures and draw heavily from his humanitarian spirit.