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Seoul Philharmonic to perform with Chinese instrument in Beijing

The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra will perform at the National Center for the Performing Arts Beijing on April 21 to mark the 20th anniversary of Seoul-Beijing ties.

The orchestra, named one of the finest orchestras in Asia, will present a concert featuring traditional Chinese musical instruments as a symbol of further cooperation between the capital cities of Korea and China, the orchestra said Monday.

According to the management, “u,” a concerto written by its composer-in-residence Chin Un-suk, which features the sheng, a traditional Chinese instrument, is one of the pieces that will be performed. The sheng is believed to have been invented in China more than 2,000 years ago and introduced to the Korean Peninsula before 725.

“u,” was composed in 2009 inspired by internationally acclaimed sheng player Wu Wei’s performance at a wedding. It premiered in Japan and was later played by noted orchestras from 11 countries including the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Seoul Philharmonic. Wu will be performing at the Chinese premiere. He reportedly said he was thrilled to present the very contemporary classical piece dedicated to the instrument that has been widely played in both countries.

The orchestra also hopes that the concert will become a stepping stone for its advancement into China, the largest classical music market in Asia. In 2007 the SPO performed in Beijing to mark 15 years of Korea-China ties and in Guangzhou in 2010 at the Canton Asian Music Festival.

“We are planning to launch the SPO’s albums released by Deutsche Grammophon, which will promote the sophistication of the orchestra,” said Kim Jin-young, SPO spokeswoman.

By Bae Ji-sook (