Last month, we came across a Korean article featuring Wan Yoon, our 1st Prize Scholastic Division winner of the the 2019 International Artist Competition! The article relives the competition weekend from his point of view and reveals his preparation process for the competition.
Our team felt especially touched to learn how the competition has helped Wan Yoon challenge and improve himself as an artist. For your viewing pleasure, we have translated the article into English below. Take a minute to read about Wan Yoon’s unique experience.
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Percussionist Yoon Wan, Winner of the Scholastic Category • International Artist Competition, May 31-June 2 at Chapman University
“At first, I felt burdened to fill the stage with only my performance, but as the years go by, I am now trying to enjoy my own performance on the stage.”
At the 2019 International Artist Competition from May 31 to June 2, percussionist Yoon Wan won 1st Prize in the scholastic category at Chapman University.
The competition provided an opportunity for the professional growth of marimbists from all over the world. It hosted three categories: Scholastic Solo, Collegiate Solo, and Open Duo. I met with Wan Yoon, who had a unique experience preparing for the international competition and listened to his story in detail.
The melodic sound of the marimba
Yoon Wan, a third year student at Sunhwa Art High School, was born in 2001 and majored in percussion at the beginning of 2016. In 2018, he received many acknowledgments from winning 3rd Prize at both the 22nd Seoul National University’s National Winds Performance Music Competition and the 20th Samyook University Music Competition. In addition to this, his musical talent won him 1st Prize in the 2019 Music Education Newspaper Competition.
“It was important for me to gain more experience, so I traveled overseas by myself and participated in the Scholastic Solo category of the International Artist Competition.
The international competition had a different charm to those at home. While Korea feels more competitive in good faith, the competition overseas felt more like a festival where we can encourage each other to grow.”
For each round of the International Artist Competition, Yoon Wan performed Pius Cheung <Etude in E Minor> (audio), Tomasz Golinski <Luminosity II> (semi-final) and Keiko Abe <Variations on Japanese Children’s Songs> (final) to show the marimba’s various sound colors, capturing the hearts of the judges.
“I tried to express my unique colors in my performance while selecting music that the judges would enjoy. In the audio round, Pius Chung’s piece required octaves and advanced techniques, so I missed many notes. I had to make over 30 recordings (laughs).
For the final, I performed Keiko Abe’s work, which is a familiar piece for percussionists. It was a piece that I wanted to challenge myself with as a performer to show the beautiful melody among the tricky technical challenges, and I was very happy to be able to perform it in front of our esteemed judges.”
The value of experience
I asked Yoon Wan, whose experiences were an opportunity of personal growth, what memorable episodes he had during the competition.
“As the competition was overseas, I did not have enough space to practice freely like in Korea. There were many technical aspects to practice, but there was not enough practice time. I imagined the keyboard in my head and practiced on that because of my situation. But through the image training, I was able to concentrate more on the tone and melody, and it became an opportunity to deepen my playing more musically (laughs).”
Yoon-Wan, who is constantly growing while overcoming realistic challenges, concluded his interview with his specific plans and goals.
“The advantage of percussion is that you can communicate with various musical instruments and genres such as jazz and classical in addition to practical music. I would like to learn the vibraphone with beautiful melodies along with the marimba more in depth and play them on various stages. I would also like to thank my parents for supporting me from behind and my teachers Choi Joo-ok, Gi Hyun-jung, Hwang Su-jin, and Kim Se-hoon for creating a solid musical foundation and showing me the way to continue to develop myself.”
Yoon Wan, who is now active in both Korea and other parts of the world, is looking forward to continue performing in various stages in the future.
[Source] [Music Education Newspaper] Percussionist Yoon Wan | Author Music Education Newspaper
Translated into English by Southern California Marimba staff (firstname.lastname@example.org)