Miami pianist and concert producer Markus Gottschlich has been presenting international artists to South Florida audiences for more than four years. Recently, the founder of Jazz Academy Miami was inspired by his travels to Asia, where he first heard the buzz about South Korean band Black String.
This week, Gottschlich brings Black String to Aventura Arts & Cultural Center for the band’s first U.S. performance.
“Black String’s motto is ‘Borderless contemporary music from Korea,’ ” said the band’s leader, Yoon Jeong Heo. “We wanted to prove that in the U.S., the largest music market in the world, and do so in the most Korean way.”
Gottschlich, who has previously presented Israeli saxophonist/singer Daniel Zamir and Australian instrumentalist James Morrison, said South Florida audiences are sure to be intrigued by Black String’s unusual instruments, including the stringed geomungo, the daegeum (a bamboo flute), and traditional Korean drums.
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“I think Miami is the perfect place for this type of experimental music because, as we know, more than 60 percent of the people in Miami are foreign-born nationals; it’s the most international city in the world and lends itself to this type of thing,” said Gottschlich, who was born and raised in Vienna, Austria. “The other thing is with the rise of nationalism and xenophobia it’s important to have cultural programming that demonstrates this cultural communication.”
Black String will perform Friday night in Aventura, as part of the cultural center’s Arts Access Program, which encourages unique artistic concerts and musical experiences within the South Florida community. While in town, Black Sting will do one major workshop at Miami Senior High School in collaboration with Miami International University of Art & Design and Miami-Dade Schools.
Gottschlich notes that an important part of these cultural immersions is the educational aspect. JAM, for the last year, has been exploring the idea of the intersection of Eastern musical styles with Western jazz. He said this was a perfect time to explore deeper into the topic and bring a musical group like Black String, which represents that idea so clearly.
“It seems that nowhere in the world is there a deeper appreciation for this American art form than in Asian countries like Taiwan, South Korea or Japan. They have a fond appreciation of the art form, and they study it, and they really embrace it like no other place in the world,” Gottschlich said. “It’s weird because jazz is American classical music, but my experiences there really showed me that this is where the music is appreciated the most with people spending money on it and studying it from childhood. It’s just really appreciated more so than here and Europe.”
Black String will participate in a panel discussion before Friday’s concert. Gottschlich said he hopes audiences will enjoy this musical experience and thirst for more.
“I’d like for them to suspend expectations and go for the ride and just see where it takes them,” he said. “Anytime you have expectations in a performance they are either met or most often not met. This is something hopefully the audience will be surprised and taken by the beauty of the music and leave wanting to listen to this type of music more. Since its such a unique cultural event hopefully it triggers more interest in going out and supporting live music, world music, and world jazz.”
If you go
▪ What: Jazz Academy Miami presents South Korean band Black String
▪ Where: Aventura Arts & Cultural Center, 3385 NE 188th St., Aventura
▪ When: 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13, with pre-concert panel discussion at 6:30 p.m.
▪ Tickets: $15-$30, available at www.aventuracenter.org