Juneau's Jocelyn Clark named among 'Alaska's Top 40 Under 40'

Posted: Friday, February 06, 2009

Jocelyn Clark, founder and director of Alaska's CrossSound music festival, has been named one of "Alaska's Top 40 Under 40" for 2008 by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce.

Courtesy Of Shelley Lightburn
Courtesy Of Shelley Lightburn

Clark grew up in Juneau playing piano and clarinet and played oboe in the Juneau Symphony. She attended the Sitka Fine Arts Camp and graduated from Juneau-Douglas High School.

At a luncheon ceremony held Jan. 16 in Anchorage, Clark was honored for her many contributions to the arts in Alaska and particularly for her work with CrossSound, which each year brings international musicians to Alaska to perform with CrossSound's four core ensembles.

Over the past 10 years, CrossSound has commissioned more than 50 new musical and multi-disciplinary works by and for Alaskans. In addition to organizing the annual festival, Clark has also written and produced nearly 100 hours of CrossSound Radio programs.

"Jocelyn is an outstanding scholar, musician, and organizer," said Kathy Kolkhorst Ruddy, who nominated Clark for the award. "The CrossSound music festival has gained national and international attention for Alaska, particularly Juneau, in the 10 years since it was founded. The festival has demonstrated a passion for excellence and a bold vision. The number of Alaska premiers and world premiers commissioned is particularly striking."

Clark first encountered Asian cultures as part of Juneau's Sister City program in Hokkaido Japan at age 14, and returned to Japan as an exchange student in Gifu Prefecture in 1987. Over the next 20 years, she would go on to study the Japanese koto at the Sawai Koto Academy and at Wesleyan University, and the Chinese zheng at the Nanjing Academy of Arts in China and in New York. In the early 1990s, she began her work on the kayag m, a traditional Korean stringed instrument, at the National Classical Music Institute in Seoul. In 1999, she received a Fulbright Fellowship, followed by a Seonam Foundation Fellowship to study Korean traditional music in Seoul.

In addition to her international solo performances, Clark co-founded the East Asian zither ensemble IIIZ+ ("three zee plus"), in 2001. The ensemble has commissioned eight new works and toured extensively in the United States, Europe and Asia.

Clark earned her Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Civilizations in 2005 from Harvard University, where she wrote on transmission of oral traditions in relation to the Korean musical genre Kayag m Pyôngch'ang. She is currently spending part of the year as visiting professor at Pai Chai University in Korea, where she is collaborating with Korean composers writing for Alaskan ensembles, including IIIZ+, and continuing her studies in traditional kayag m performance and storysinging under "National Intangible Human Cultural Asset" Kang Jông-Suk. She serves on the Alaska State Council on the Arts and on the Juneau World Affairs Council.

Each year, the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce solicits nominations from across Alaska for its "40/40" award. Clark was Juneau's sole 2008 recipient. More information on the award and a complete list of recipients can be found at www.anchoragechamber.org.

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