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Bangsokol Virtual Festival features Arts and Healing

  • Date:2020-12-20
Bangsokol Virtual Festival features Arts and Healing

Cambodian Living Arts (CLA), together with ArtsEmerson are presenting "Arts & Healing: Bangsokol Virtual Festival" from Dec. 11 thru Dec. 20, inspired by the groundbreaking production "Bangsokol: A Requiem for Cambodia," which seeks to honor victims of violence and explore the healing, hope, and resilience of survivors.

The two-week series will consist of online performances, film screenings, and conversations between artists and audiences. Additionally, there will be a showcase of two brand new music and dance performances created exclusively for the festival.

The festival is one of the projects under the "Cultural Exchanges and Collaborative Projects between (the Regions of) South East Asia and Taiwan (新南向海外交流專題計畫)" proposed by Phloeun Prim, Southeast Asia Advisory Committee member and director of CLA, and supported by the Ministry of Culture.

Under the sponsorship of the Ministry, "Bangsokol: A Requiem for Cambodia" is a multi-disciplinary stage production combining music, film, movement, and voice on Khmer Rouge brutality, performed by the Taipei Philharmonic Chamber Choir (台北愛樂) and artists from other countries. After premiering in Australia in 2017, the performance has toured Cambodia, France, and the United States in 2019.

Opening weekend will begin with a screening of the documentary "Wandering Souls (遊蕩的靈魂)," followed by the performance of "Bangsokol: A Requiem for Cambodia." A conversation between composer Him Sophy, Oscar-nominated director Rithy Panh, and stage director Gideon Obarzanek about the making this masterpiece will be moderated after the screening.

There will also be more virtual talks between composer Him Sophy, librettist Trent Walker, and conductor Andrew Cyr, in addition to talks with Taipei Philharmonic Foundation music director Johnny Ku (古育仲), National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying) executive and artistic director Chien Wen-pin (簡文彬) and more international collaborators.

For the Festival finale, musicians and singers from five countries — USA's Metropolis Ensemble (with Sandbox Percussion) composer Vivian Fung, Taiwan's Taipei Philharmonic, Singapore's Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, Japanese harpist Yuko Tomonaga, and Cambodia's Krom Dontrey Bangsokol — will reinterpret music inspired by the different themes of Bangsokol composed by Him Sophy, with a video by filmmaker Rithy Panh, followed by a dance ritual created and performed by Cambodian contemporary dancer-choreographer Chumvan 'Belle' Sodhachivy, and featuring participation from the public.

For more details about the program, please visit the official website and Facebook page.