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Bach to be celebrated at DITTO Festival in June

It is always good to see young artists pouring out their passion on stage. If they are extremely talented, the pleasure doubles.

The fifth “DITTO Festival,” featuring young and talented musicians performing the most intimate form of classical music, chamber music, will be held June 9-30 at the Seoul Arts Center and LG Arts Center.

This year, the legendary German composer J.S. Bach will be highlighted at the hands of the main members of the Ditto Ensemble ― violist Richard Yongjae O’Neill, violinists Stefan Pi Jackiw and Daniel Chong, pianist Ji Yong, and cellist Michael Nicholas. The chamber ensemble formed in 2007 caught the attention of critics and classical music lovers from its very first performance. 
Ensemble DITTO. (Credia)
Ensemble DITTO. (Credia)

Powerhouses such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with “Chinese sensation” pianist Yuja Wang as well as violinist Anne Sophie Mutter with her 14 proteges are joining this year’s festival. Other musicians include bassist DaXun Chang, pianist Francesco Tristano, pianist Lim Dong-hyek, violinist Zia Hyunsu Shin, conductor Adriel Kim, and flutist Cho Sung-hyun.

“The first part of the festival will be a tribute to Bach, who is perhaps the most important composer of Western music. He took the counterpoint to things that nobody had ever thought of,” said O’Neill, who serves as the artistic director of the festival, at a previous interview with The Korea Herald. 
Shin Ara. (Credia)
Shin Ara. (Credia)

The festival will kick off with Lim and O’Neill playing Bach’s Choral Prelude “Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ” BWV 639 and Arioso, among others, on June 9 followed by O’Neill, Nicholas and Chang’s performance of “Three colors of Bach” featuring all Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello on June 15. Shin will portray the “passionate side of Bach” with Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor BMW 1041 on June 16 while Tristano will perform Bach’s Partita No. 3 as well as some Dieterich Buxtehude pieces on June 19.

The second part of the “DITTO Festival” will feature the works of composers that came after Bach. The Ensemble DITTO will perform a program entitled “Code Name: Bach” on June 20 featuring Beethoven while O’Neill will flaunt his vocal skills with some very contemporary pieces at the “Different DITTO: The Voice” concert on June 18.

“This will be the biggest festival we’ve had, quite grand in scope with the world’s biggest names like Anne and the Royal Phil. But what I am hoping is that the audience will follow our journey to find and enjoy music the way it is. I have seen that in the previous years and I can’t wait to meet them again!” O’Neill said.

Tickets, priced between 30,000 won and 100,000 won, can be purchased at, and For more information about the festival, visit

By Bae Ji-sook (