Samulnori Fantasy: Seasons

Saturday, September 10 at 7:30 pm

New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall

290 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA



Boston’s night skyline with moonlit waters of the Charles River evokes the magic that inspired Mina Cho’s second musical narrative, Samulnori Fantasy: Seasons. In the style of the Pansori Cantata first introduced in Cho’s 2019 Gilryungjeon (“The Dream of Gilryung”), the narrative takes the form of Korean traditional Pansori [storytelling in voice] with Samulnori [four primary percussion instruments – Jing (big gong), Janggu (drum), Kkwaenggwari (small gong), and Buk (barrel drum)].

Samulnori is a contemporary counterpart of Korean Pungmul (a Korean folk music tradition rooted in the collective farming culture called ‘Dure’) and Namsadang (an itinerant traditional performing arts troupe). Throughout, the piece interweaves Korean traditional music with the sounds of modern jazz and Gospel music.


Seasons features a moon rabbit 'Rain,' whose singing has the power to call forth the rain, and a young woman 'Sunnie,' who studies business in Boston, having abandoned her dream of becoming a master Pansori singer. After celebrating his retirement from 100 years of musical priesthood in Lunar Land, Rain is allowed to travel to the Human World, but for only one night of the full moon. A magical pathway, named 7th Moonstar Street, appears between Lunar Land and the Charles River for Rain’s trip. Upon reaching the Charles River, he meets Sunnie. Powerfully inspired through music and conversation, Rain and Sunnie begin to explore their passion for music and embrace a new season in their lives.


In the story, the overarching imagery of Moonstar Street connects seemingly unrelated events in life, embracing the ideal Lunar Land and the human world. The successive movements portray scenes of Lunar Land, of Boston’s Charles River, Sunnie’s funeral, and an ideal world where Sunnie reunites with her loved ones. As the narrative evolves, the spirit of Korean traditional music infused with contemporary music elements resonates with many aspects of life and emotion. 


Samulnori Fantasy: Seasons is the second Pansori Cantata composed by Mina Cho, director of the International Gugak Jazz Institute (IGJI) and the associated ensemble, Gugak Jazz Society.  After a well-received premiere of Mina Cho’s first Pansori Cantata, Gilryungjeon (“The Dream of Gilryung”) in 2019, the Gugak Jazz Society members return to Boston for Samulnori Fantasy: Seasons, which will be premiered on September 10, 2022, 7:30pm at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall. The concert happens to coincide with the Korean Thanksgiving Day with a full moon, and thus unfolds the story of Seasons.   



Prelude: Moonlit Invodation


Mov I. Moon Rabbits in Lunar Land


Mov II. The Moonlit Charles River

Mov III. In the Moonlit Shadow


Mov IV. Sunnie's Funeral

Mov V. A Time to Dance

Postlude: Seasons



Mina Cho (director, piano)                        Insoo Kim (kkwaenggwuari, buk)

Yeojoo Yoon (janggu, puppet show)        Ji Hoon Kim (buk, puppet show)

Yugyeong Seong (jing, kkwaenggwuari) Borim Kim (voice, vocal)

Nayeon Lee (piri, taepyungso, vocal)      Miho Song (bass)

Youngjin Kim (drum)                                  Lihi Haruvi (saxophone)

Robbie Pate (vocal)                                    Farayi Malek (vocal)

Joseph Copeland (vocal)


Proof of COVID 19 vaccination is required. Masks are optional.

For a complete program note including lyrics, click here.