Namjooning, classical music converge at UST Museum exhibition
through Henry Cheng’s ‘Suite for Army’

The University of Santo Tomas Museum’s interactive exhibition titled “UST goes Namjooning: Capturing Moments on Campus” intensifies the multi-sensory experience as it unveiled a new section that highlights the musical composition “Suite for ARMY” by award winning conductor-composer Henry Cheng and co-composer Ari Fisher on September 21, 2022.

Open to the public from September 14 to October 23, 2022, the exhibition’s photo walls and interactive installations encourage students to showcase their Namjooning experiences, which will strengthen their appreciation of what the historic UST campus can offer, all while listening to Cheng’s BTS-inspired classical work, or playing interactive “Run BTS!”-featured games, like Halli Galli and Thin Ice, among others.

Henry Cheng’s musical analysis of BTS’ discography and research into BTS’ classical influences are evident in “Suite for Army”. While BTS has quoted Chopin’s “Farewell” Waltz Op. 69 No.1, Bach’s Mass in B minor – Kyrie, Debussy’s Claire de Lune, and Buxtehude’s Passacaglia in their previous tracks Fake Love, Blood Sweat and Tears, and Euphoria, Cheng’s “Suite for Army” takes these direct quotes from Chopin and Bach and uses Debussy and Buxtehude as inspiration for orchestration and color. According to Cheng’s website, “the philosophical beliefs, compositional techniques, and personal stories of Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Stravinsky are the sonic glue that binds BTS and Classical Music.”

Guests were encouraged to bring their own earphones/headset for a better immersive experience where they would personally and individually listen to “Suite for Army” at their own pace during the exhibition.

Winner of the Antal Dorati and European Union International Conducting Competition, Henry Cheng is currently the Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Klangkraft Orchester in Duisburg, Germany since 2017. Equally comfortable conducting symphonic, contemporary, operatic, and ballet repertoire, Cheng is a regular guest conductor throughout Asia, Europe, and America.

The exhibition, inspired by the social media term popularized by BTS leader Kim Namjoon, re-introduces UST’s history, culture, and heritage through the concept of “Namjooning” to the Thomasian community and its stakeholders. “Namjooning” refers to museum visits, communing with nature, biking, appreciating architecture and public art, reading, and any personal activity for self-care, relaxation, and downtime.

Curated by Assoc. Prof. Anna Marie H. Bautista, an academic staff of the UST College of Fine Arts and Design and a member of the International Society for BTS Studies, the exhibition ran until October 23, 2022 and was open for the general public.

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