On Sunday, May 17th the Chinese, Japanese and Korean communities in Portland, with generous support from the Port of Portland and the Institute for Asian Studies at Portland State University, were pleased to present a “Strings of Three Nations Concert”. The event took place at 2:00 pm in the Ballroom (3rd Floor) of Smith Memorial Student Union located on the campus of Portland State University.
Three talented musicians from China, Japan and Korea played the “guzheng,” “koto” and “kayagum,” stringed instruments native to their respective countries. The concert was free and open to the public. Over 300 people attended and there was a VIP reception held afterwards.
The idea for the concert originated with officials from three Portland area offices: Jin Lan, President of Oregon-China Sister State Relations Council; Hiroshi Furusawa, Consul General of Japan in Portland; and Greg Caldwell, Honorary Consul for the Republic of Korea in Portland. In a joint statement, they said, “We want to show that, despite the political differences in our world today, our respective communities in Portland serve as a model of cooperation and friendship. In this spirit, we are delighted to share a bit of the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cultures with the citizens of Oregon.”
The musicians for the concert are Emily Deng (China), Mitsuki Dazai (Japan), and Myung-Ja “Donna” Jang (Korea).
Emily Deng holds the highest-level certification from the China National Association of Musicians. She has appeared on numerous television stations in China and has performed locally at events sponsored by the Lan Su Chinese Garden.
Mitsuki Dazai pursued advanced studies in the “koto” at a number of well-known schools and conservatories in Japan. She has performed professionally throughout Japan, the US, and Europe since 1997. She was featured locally on OPB's Oregon Art Beat. She currently leads Oregon Koto-Kai, a local “koto” ensemble group.
Donna Jang holds a master's degree in music from Surabul Art University in Seoul. She performed as a member of the Seoul Philharmonic and Korean National Philharmonic Orchestra from 1964-1973. She currently serves as staff member and instructor at the Korean Music Association in Seattle.