Perry So explained that the fusion of Eastern and Western musical pieces is such a rich, mostly undiscovered trove of music that they could have programmed ten concerts with other works. The concert started inauspiciously with the 2014 Bounce!!, a seven-minute curtain raiser by Korean-born, Yale-educated Texu Kim, who was also the baby of the bunch at age 41. It was a dry musical interpretation of basketball that did not contain enough of its own title.
Wu Man, for whom it was written.
Younghi Pagh-Paan, a Korean immigrant living in Germany. Her relentlessly loud, fierce 20-minute work takes its inspiration from a poem by Mun Byung-Lan about the earth. She writes: "The lyrics of this poem made a deep impression on me. The metaphors of the abused, tortured, and trodden soil clung to me." NIM was sort of frightening, so it was a relief to continue with The Age of Birds, a lushly gorgeous three-movement work from 1986 by Japanese composer Takashi Yoshimatsu. Recognizable bird calls and the sound of flocks flying are embedded in a score that sounds like a Japanese take on Respighi's The Pines of Rome, except this would be The Birds of Tokyo. The work could easily become part of the popular classical repertory, and again, it was surprising that this was its SF Symphony debut.