The Korea Herald


Violinist Chung starts 3rd stage of life’ with Seoul concert

By Shin Hae-in

Published : Nov. 21, 2011 - 19:34

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Having lost three of her most precious people, including her mother and eldest sister, during the past five years, violinist Chung Kyung-wha feels she has now stepped into “the third stage” of life.

As the first task in this new stage, the world-class musician will hold a solo recital in Korea playing her “beloved” Bach and Brahms.

“This feels like a dream,” the 63-year-old said during a press conference in Seoul, Monday.

“I’d been given a chance to look back and reorganize my life,” Chung said, referring to a finger injury that had kept her from performing for five years.

Although she had been “happy enough” during the hiatus, the musician said she was “very excited” to be back on stage as a performer.

“I had initially thought of spending the third stage as a teacher. But I’ve been given a choice again now.” She said. 
Violinist Chung Kyung-wha speaks during a press conference in Seoul, Monday. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald) Violinist Chung Kyung-wha speaks during a press conference in Seoul, Monday. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)

Since 2007, Chung has been serving as a professor at the Juilliard School in New York.

The concert “She is Back” will be Chung’s first solo recital in her home country in nearly nine years.

Chung will be performing with American pianist Kevin Kenner, playing Mozart’s “Violin Sonata No. 21 in E Minor K. 304,” Brahms’ “Violin Sonata No. 1 in G Major, Op 78 Regenlied,” Bach’s “Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major, Air on the G String” and Cesar Frank’s “Violin Sonata in A Major.”

The virtuoso, whose teachers included one of the most influential violin teacher of the 20th century Ivan Galamian, boasted her partnership with pianist Kevin Kenner.

“Kevin is very good at Mozart,” Chung said. “He is a very good partner and I hope to continue performing with him.”

Chung, the 1967 winner of the highly competitive Edgar Leventritt Competition, said she felt at her best in solo recitals.

“I hope to do a lot more solo concerts. I like them because I can program the performances the way I want,” she said.

The violinist -- regarded as a “pioneer” in the history of Asian classical music -- discovered the musical world at the age of three and began playing the violin at age seven. Earlier this year, Chung received the Ho-Am Prize in the Arts division for her illustrious, 40-year career as a violinist and an educator.

“Musicians don’t age,” she said. “Art goes on forever and it is virtually impossible to label a musician with numbers.”

Chung’s solo recital in Seoul will be held at the Seoul Arts Center on Dec. 26. She will also perform in Incheon, Daejeon and Chuncheon on Dec. 19, 21 and 25, respectively.

In addition, the Chung Trio -- Chung Kyung-wha on the violin, maestro Chung Myung-whun on the piano, and cellist Chung Myung-wha -- will hold a concert on Dec. 13 in memory of their late mother Lee Won-sook.

Lee, renowned for the education of her seven children, passed away in May at the age of 93. Apart from the trio, eldest Myung-so, who died in 2007, was a flutist.

“I will be thinking of her smiling face as I perform. She used to like watching us play so much,” Chung said.

The private tribute concert will be held at the Grand Hall of Ewha Womans University in the morning and Onnuri Church in Seobinggo-dong in the afternoon.

It is the first time the trio is playing together in seven years.

By Shin Hae-in (