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Award-winning Cambodian-American Musicologist to Run Workshop in Siem Reap


Pech Sarath, founder and a president of Community of Living Chapei, performed Chapei music during the first-ever Chapei Performance Festival at Chaktumuk Theater in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Sunday, April 3, 2016. (Leng Len/VOA Khmer)

Pech Sarath, founder and a president of Community of Living Chapei, performed Chapei music during the first-ever Chapei Performance Festival at Chaktumuk Theater in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Sunday, April 3, 2016. (Leng Len/VOA Khmer)

The workshop, which will run for two weeks, will begin with a ceremony at Wat Bo on Sunday, and will also include emerging musicians visit Cambodia from Laos and Myanmar.

Dr. Chinary Ung, the first Cambodian-American to win the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for music composition, is leading a workshop in Siem Reap starting next week.

Dr. Ung won the award for a piece he wrote in 1989 and has been a music professor at the University of San Diego.

The workshop, which will run for two weeks, will begin with a ceremony at Wat Bo on Sunday, and will also include emerging musicians visit Cambodia from Laos and Myanmar.

The New Generation of Creativity workshop will be the first in a series aiming to inspire young composers in Cambodia and the region.

The 10 Cambodian artists and emerging musicians, who were selected through a series of interviews, will include young composers from Myanmar and Laos.

Two composers from the United States will also join the proceedings at Wat Bo in Siem Reap on Sunday.

Dr. Ung told reporters this week that he wanted to see a revival of the arts in Cambodia akin to what existed in the country’s so-called golden age before the Khmer Rouge took power.

“This is the era where investing in 20 to 30 people, producing 200 to 300 pieces, could fuel even greater and more powerful creativity for the next generation,” he said.

Chanthy Yim, a traditional wind instrument player, said she wanted to learn “valuable lessons and practices” that she could apply in her own creative work.

Seng Song, the associate country manager of Cambodian Living Arts, which organized the workshop along with Nirmita Composers, said the project aimed to encourage artists to “draw on their cultural traditions, and to keep these traditions living, dynamic and meaningful.”

Bosba Panh, the only Cambodian composer to join the New England Conservatory of Music, will also take part in the project.

“It’s my way of giving back to my country,” she said.

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