I had a brief but very memorable trip to Busan, thanks to my wonderful friend and colleague Dr. Useon Bryan Choi who organized a series of master classes for me. I have never visited this incredible city since when I lived in Korea in the 90s and things have changed completely since then. The nighttime scene of the port city was spectacular, and I very much enjoyed the view from my hotel!
Students were dedicated and hard working. The younger students from the Busan Arts Middle and High schools uniformly had great technique and bought in highly technical works by composers such as Weber and Spohr. While it was impressive to see what these young students could do, I was a bit concerned with their lack of fundamentals and broader understanding of the music they practice so hard. My schedule was very compressed (with some of the most exhausting classes I've ever taught), and I hope the time we spent together was helpful. I was also grateful to many of the local clarinet instructors who came out and introduced themselves. I look forward to our future exchanges, and we already made a plan for me to return next summer.
Dr. Choi's students at the Silla University also played very well, and I wish them my very best!
A student's parents took me and some of the teachers out to dinner. Super fresh Korea-style sashimi is difficult to describe in words! I also enjoyed various delicacies in Busan with a great company.