CSULB orchestra travels to South Korea

The Bob Cole Conservatory Orchestra will perform at Dong-Eui University.

CSULB orchestra travels to South Korea

Courtesy of Carolyn Bremer

The Bob Cole Conservatory Orchestra performs during a concert at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center last April. The orchestra traveled to South Korea Sunday to perform with musicians and educators at a South Korean University.

A Cal State Long Beach 50-member orchestra is spending its Thanksgiving in South Korea.

The Bob Cole Conservatory Orchestra left Sunday morning to perform at Dong-Eui University in Busam, South Korea, at the invitation of Cal State Long Beach cello professor Joon Sung Jun, who studied and performed in South Korea. The orchestra won’t return to Long Beach until Monday.

CSULB orchestra conductor Johannes Muller-Stosch said it is rare for a university orchestra to travel and that the opportunity to perform overseas inspired the orchestra to take advantage of the opportunity, even if it meant that students had to pay for part of the trip.

Although the CSULB orchestra usually has 75 or more musicians, its budget could fund travel for only 50 members, so students from Dong-Eui University’s orchestra filled the vacancies, Muller-Stosch said.

Had the orchestra taken all 75 people, the cost would have been around $120,000, but Muller-Stosch said the trip cost about half that amount.

“That’s a deal, considering airfare to Korea alone is $1,500 [a person],” Muller-Stosch said

The orchestra students didn’t pay for the entire trip, but they contributed some funding, Muller-Stosch said. The students paid anywhere between $400 and $1,200 to travel to South Korea, depending on how well they performed in their auditions.

Jun said he was pleased to have CSULB students travel to South Korea to showcase their talents and demonstrate the skills they have learned from their professors and conductor Muller-Stosch.

“[Students] will gain confidence as a leader, a member of an orchestra and as a musician,” Jun said via email. “Being able to collaborate with different musicians will grow their dynamic musicianship.”

Both Muller-Stosch and Jun said they feel that students can be ambassadors of American music education for South Koreans who are interested in learning about classical music.

Anne Marie Runco, a sophomore double major in music education and music performance who plays the classic bass, said she was excited to perform in South Korea, a country she had never visited.

“I’m just excited to pair my love of traveling with my love for playing music,” Runco said.

Muller-Stosch said the orchestra held only 10 rehearsals to prepare for their trip, and students auditioned for the chance to travel to South Korea.

He said he hopes that one day, Dong-Eui University students can travel to CSULB and strengthen the relationship between the universities.