UC Santa Cruz chancellor hosted by Korean consul general

Chancellor Denice D. Denton underscored her value for UCSC's international perspective at a recent dinner hosted by the Korean Consul General in San Jose.

Designed to brief the Korean media and business community about the upcoming Pacific Rim Music Festival at UCSC in May, the event was part of an ongoing effort to promote cultural collaborations between the campus and Korea.

"Creativity flourishes in diverse environments where there are adequate opportunities for cross-cultural exchange," Denton noted in her opening remarks at the dinner. "Fostering stronger ties with the international community and building UCSC's global perspective is one of my top priorities as incoming chancellor."

Denton added that initiatives like the Pacific Rim Music Festival and a proposed UCSC Center for Pacific Rim Music and Culture are key examples of how the campus can benefit from its strategic location on the Pacific Rim next to the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley-major centers for international commerce and the arts.

The dinner was attended by a number of CEOs from the Korean press, radio, and television, as well as such business leaders as the president of the Korean-American Chamber of Commerce in Silicon Valley and the president of the Korean Industry Network. UCSC was represented by Hi Kyung Kim, associate professor of music and artistic director of the Pacific Rim Music Festival; David Evan Jones, Porter College Provost and professor of music; Ron Suduiko, vice chancellor of University Relations; and Steve Kang, dean of the Baskin School of Engineering.

"A new wave of musicians, composers, and artists grounded in the music and art of their own Asian cultures is invigorating and shaping what was previously considered the music of the West," Jones said in his brief address to the assembled guests. "At the same time, European and American composers are seeking influence in ever more fundamental ways from the rich and diverse cultural traditions of Asia."

Jones, who traveled to Korea last spring to hear his own opera performed in Seoul, observed that the UCSC Music Department offers an unusually diverse curriculum with an important focus on the study of world music. He noted that Santa Cruz recently became the first UC campus to offer a doctorate in music composition with a specialty focusing on indigenous non-Western composers.

"Americans have a great deal to learn from Korean attitudes toward culture and, indeed, a great deal to learn from Korean culture itself," said Jones. "It is very important--not only for Korean-Americans but for all Americans--that traditional Korean culture be prominently represented in our universities."

Engineering dean Kang additionally spoke about his personal pride as a Korean-American in seeing Korean traditions being presented and celebrated on an American campus.

The 2005 Pacific Rim Festival will take place at UCSC from April 29 through May 7. It will include a new composition by artistic director Hi Kyung Kim, who is internationally known for incorporating Western classical music with traditional techniques and instruments from her native Korea. For complete program information, visit the festival web site at: pacificrim.ucsc.edu.