International Society for Improvised Music (ISIM) Celebrates their 10th Anniversary in Korea.

On September 29 to October 2, ISIM, World Music Center, the Korean Society for World Music in Seoul, and the Jeonju International Sori Festival collaborated to organize and program workshops and performances with sixteen outstanding ISIM improvisers and virtuosic Korean soloists Kang Eunil, Park Kyungso, and Cha Sungmin.  The events were held in Seoul and Jeonju, South Korea.

ISIM holds an annual Conference/Festival in different cities and countries around the world. Recent events were held among three cities in Ontario, Canada, New York City, and Chateau d’Oex, Switzerland, with prior events held across the United States. The Korea event at the Sori Festival will be the culmination of the 10 year anniversary of ISIM, and will continue the theme of Cross Cultural Improvisation. Led by Artistic Director Jin Hi Kim, internationally acclaimed komungo virtuoso and composer living in the USA. Jin Hi Kim has organized highly successful Cross-cultural events in New York City and Ann Arbor, Michigan. This will be the fourth Cross-cultural Improvisation Workshop and Performance series. The program brings together musicians, scholars, promoters, and listeners  from around the world to share music and ideas of different cultures and explore the many facets of cross-cultural musical creativity. ISIM was founded by Ed Sarath, Professor of Music and Director, Program in Creativity and Consciousness Studies, at the University of Michigan.

Improvisation involves spontaneous creativity and interaction and thus enables musicians from various backgrounds to come together and generate entirely new kinds of expressions that transcend conventional styles and categories. Improvisation also promotes dissolution of boundaries between performers and listeners and gives access to the transcendent dimensions of creative experience. Melding diverse cultures, ethnicities, disciplines, and ideas that shape society at large, improvisation is at the heart of a new musical and cross-cultural paradigm that uniquely reflects contemporary life.

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ISIM has held ten Festival/Conferences since 2006, with a full schedule of talks, panel discussions, workshops, and performances during the day, and headliner performances in the evenings. Participants, including presenters, headliners, and audience, have been a mixture of academics and people from the wider musical and artistic communities. The next festival/conference will take place in September 2016 in South Korea in conjunction with the Sori International Festival. Reflecting its commitment to diversity in its many forms, ISIM welcomes participants from the widest possible variety of ethnic, racial, cultural, and geographic backgrounds, strongly promotes gender balance, and celebrates work that is rooted in the many styles, genres, ethnic and historical traditions, methodologies and technologies both old and new, that are linked by the central practice of improvisation. ISIM encourages collaboration with improvisatory practitioners from areas beyond music, such as dance, theater, visual music, and film, and also seeks to make its events open to a wider audience. This includes public school teachers, students, children, individuals from under-served communities, and others from the general cross section of people interested in the arts.

ISIM’s purpose is to promote performance, education, and research in improvised music, and illuminate connections between musical improvisation and creativity across fields. Melding diverse cultures, ethnicities, disciplines, and ideas that shape society at large, today’s musical world is rich with creative expressions that transcend conventional styles and categories. Improvisation is a core aspect of this global confluence.