Spanish ambassador derives creative stimulus from Korea

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Spanish ambassador derives creative stimulus from Korea

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“I have a double life. Music has always been my contact with society,” says Delfin Colome, the Spanish ambassador to Korea since last July.
Mr. Colome, 60, is a modern day renaissance man. Although he has been a diplomat for 30 years, he is also a pianist, composer and writer.
With over 60 musical compositions for concertos, symphonies and choral music under his belt, as well as having been one of the Spanish composers who wrote music for the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, he is more than a music-lover or an amateur composer. He is in the middle of writing his eighth book. These days, he is also busy writing pieces for a clarinet performer from the Netherlands, a piece for a French choir and a one for a string quartet.
At Kumho Art Hall in northern Seoul last Tuesday, Mr. Colome’s composition “Three Trees” was performed by pianist David Gomez.
At the concert, Mr. Colome smiled as he said, “It is a great opportunity for me to share my music and Spanish culture with the Korean people on the week of my 60th birthday.” He said he was inspired to compose this piece as he was taking a stroll around a garden.
A native of Barcelona, Mr. Colome received his musical training in the Conservatorio Superior Municipal de Musica in the city, where he studied piano, composition and conducting.
“I wanted to be a musician when I was a young boy but my father told me it is very difficult to live your life only with music. So I graduated in both music and law,” Mr. Colome recalls.
He went on to obtain a law degree from the University of Barcelona and a Ph.D in Philosophy from Madrid’s Universidad Autonoma, specializing in music studies.
There were two reasons he chose the path of diplomacy.
“One is that living abroad, you get a lot of cultural differences, which is good for creativity and composing music,” he said. “The other is that you can organize your time very well and have discipline in your life.”
Mr. Colome’s love of music spreads beyond the realms of composition. He conducts about 12 concerts per year, mainly in Andalusia, Spain, where he is the artistic director of several Spanish chamber orchestras. He also contributes articles to the Spanish newspapers Diario 16 and ABC, as well as specialized magazines. As a professor at the Universidad Autonoma in Madrid, he has taught art and aesthetics as well as directing several courses on chamber music.
In Korea, Mr. Colome is finding more and more inspiration from Korean music. “When I’m driving, I always put on some Korean music,” he said. He cites Ahn Ik-tae, the composer of the Korean national anthem, as his favorite Korean musician, saying, “He had European connections but he always kept his eastern side very clear.”
The landscape of Korea is another inspiration for him. “Korean’s landscape is very dramatic. The mountains and coasts are very attractive in particular.” Mr. Colome is currently conceptualizing an idea for a composition that is inspired by the natural splendor of Korea.
When asked what is his top priority as Spain’s ambassador to Korea, Mr. Colome responded that there is an imbalance concerning trade relations between Korea and Spain and that he is encouraging more Spanish companies to come to Korea to correct this imbalance. He added that the Cervantes Institute, a Spanish cultural center in Seoul, will open its doors next year.


by Cho Jae-eun, Park Hyun-young
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