Wednesday's Child Still Holding Its OwnBrian McNight, Kenny G, Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea do not seem to have many similarities, but they do have one thing in common - they have appeared on the Korean television program called "Wednesday Live Show," which is aired every Wednesday night from 12:30 a.m.
This television show is one of the longest running in Korea, where programs tend to be ephemeral. Launched in 1992, "Wednesday Live Show" will celebrate its 360th episode this Wednesday
The highlight of this program is that it presents the opportunity to relish live performances by world-renowned musicians set in a cozy atmosphere. It is acknowledged as the place for performances by foreign musicians visiting Korea.
"Wednesday Live Show" is hosted by two local musicians, Kim Gwang-min and Lee Hyun-woo, who are known to spontaneously join the guests on the show and perform impromptu.
Mr. Kim, who has been with the show since its inception, is a professor at Dongduk Women's University. He studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and is regarded as one of the best jazz pianists in Korea.
Mr. Lee is a singer who joined the show four years ago. Before he arrived, the show had featured mainly jazz performances, but since Mr. Lee came on the scene, the program's content has become much more diverse. It now invites musicians from a variety of backgrounds and genres, including popular music.
The program's producer, Han Bong-keun, studied music composition as a university student. He says that he does not care about ratings, despite the fact that they are regarded as the only standard of evaluating the success of television programs in Korea. Even though it's ratings are low, "Wednesday Live Show" gets excellent reviews from its viewers. This may be explained by Mr. Han's persistence in producing a high-quality show. He is quite adamant about sticking to his principles in this regard. "I cannot compromise in choosing only the best musicians to perform on the show. Nothing would make me happier than being told that this program has made a contribution to improving Korean popular music," he remarked.
Mr. Lee said, "In Korea, television programs have a lot of influence over the popularity of music. Considering that almost every Korean music program is aimed at teenagers, we feel the responsibility to create a quality music program like 'Wednesday Live Show.'"
Although Mr. Han says he is keen on providing a chance for local musicians to perform on his show and perhaps get a break in their careers, he is concerned that there does not seem to be many local performers who can match the high standards he has come to expect through working with internationally renowned musicians.
by Choe Jae-hee
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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