RAS-KB News and Updates
Dear members and friends of the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch
Our final lecture for this year will be a special lecture-concert with 2 outstanding performers. It will be given this coming Tuesday, December 18, at 7:30 pm in Somerset Palace. The main performer will be Moon Hyun, one of Korea's paramount masters of classical art song. Moon is the current successor to Intangible Cultural Property No.41 (Gasa). There are three principal classical vocal genres in traditional Korean music, gagok, gasa, sijo which are termed jeongga, combined together). They developed in association with Korean classical poetry. These classical songs enjoyed the patronage of the gentry and aristocrats, the yangban, in traditional Korea. Tonight we will hear examples of each of these songs. Moon Hyun has also invited Park Kyung-min to perform for us on the Taegeum, the large traversal bamboo flute. She is currently a Daegum player with the National Orchestra of Korea.
Our excursions continue and on the last weekend of 2012, Prof. Robert Fouser will be leading a visit to Jeong-dong, the area behind Deoksu-gung where many of the early missionaries and diplomats lived. Full details will be in out home page very soon, and you can also find details of our other regular excursions there.
In 2013, the Lunar New Year falls on Sunday, February 10. There will be the traditional RASKB New Year's excursion to Seorak-san, leaving on the Sunday (so avoiding the traffic). Unless there is a last-minute blizzard, Seoraksan at that time is wonderfully beautiful, coated in snow and glistening in Korea's bright winter sunshine. Our Mount Seorak excursion is designed to offer exercise and relaxation. Those who wish can go hiking through the snow-covered landscapes; others can take the relaxed option and spend most of the time soaking in the multiple tubs of a very large, modern family spa. Because many Koreans also enjoy going to Mount Seorak for the New Year's break, places are limited and we ask you to sign up really early for this excursion. The return journey on Monday does not usually take too long, despite it being the last day of the holiday, so don't worry!
Our first lecture in 2013 will be held on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 7:30 pm in Somerset Palace (PLEASE NOTE THIS DATE IS THE 3rd TUESDAY in January). Robert Neff will be celebrating the publication of his latest book about the first foreigners to live in Korea: "Letters From Joseon: 19th Century Korea through the Eyes of an American Ambassador's Wife." This lecture will examine Korea - as seen through the eyes of Sally Sill, the wife of John M. B. Sill - the American Minister to Korea (1894–1897). Their stay in Seoul was during an extremely turbulent period of Korean history, a span of time that encompassed the Sino-Japanese War, the Gabo Reforms, the murder of the Korean queen, and King Gojong's subsequent refuge in the Russian legation. It will be illustrated by many historic photos.
I hope you can join us to enjoy some of these lectures and excursions, and I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a Happy Christmas / End of the Year, and also a very good 2013.