Seattle musician brings friends to Seoul
This is the sixth visit to Korea for Lanz, an American pianist from Seattle, but it will be his first time to come with his long-time musical partners Nancy Rumbel, who plays oboe and ocarina; Eric Tingstad, a guitarist, and Gary Stroutsos, a flutist. The group, Tingstad & Rumbel, won a Grammy Award in 2003. Stroutsos, who is well-known for his performances of Native American songs (for a time, he lived with the Sioux), worked with Lanz on his latest album, “Spirit Romance,” released in September 2005.
Though Lanz’s writing for the jacket cover of “Spirit Romance” talks about the quality of Zen and Stroutsos plays the Chinese bamboo xiao flute, they didn't intend to give the album an orientalist feel, Lanz said in a recent interview. The two didn’t set plan out the music beforehand but improvised, riffing off of their shared ideas and philosophies. Stroutsos has played the xiao for five years now.
Stroutsos said the sounds of the xiao goes well with the piano and that he’s excited to see how his Xiao playing will be accepted in Korea, where bamboo instruments have been used for millennia. He added that he’d like to play a Korean bamboo flute sometime, such as the daegeum.
The sounds of the xiao and the piano do mix quite well, but many listeners find his music has a very melancholy mood. “The music is not sad,” Lanz said, “but it brings something out of people. [When people listen to] something quiet and emotional, people's sadness is brought out.”
“And romance is also kind of sad,” he pointed out later.
“Because instrumental music has no words, wherever your imagination goes, the thought goes,” Rumbel added.
You wouldn’t know it by listening to his current work, but Lanz was once a rock musician. He said that during his teens and 20s he played rock music, but added that even then he enjoyed playing sad Russian tunes. Although it's still fun to play rock music at a party, he said, he enjoys his current style of quiet instrumental music more than screaming to up-tempo beats. “[Rock] is a young man’s sport,” he joked.
The repertoire for the Korea performance includes “Over the Rainbow” and “Fisherman’s Dream” by Tingstad & Rumbel, and “Serenada,” “Oguerre/Blue Largo Arrangement” and “Spirit Romance” from Lanz's latest album. Rumbel said they will also play a Korean song, but didn't say which one, leaving it as a surprise for the Korean audience.
by Park Sung-ha
The concert will be held at the Concert Hall of Seoul Arts Center, southern Seoul, tomorrow at 8 p.m. Tickets cost from 30,000 won ($30) to 100,000 won. For more information, call (02) 529-3529. For tickets, call 1588-7890 or 1544-1555, or visit www.ticketlink.co.kr or http://ticket.interpark.com.