Cologne Phil to present rarely performed ‘Alpine Symphony’

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jan 12, 2014 - 19:30
  • Updated : Jan 12, 2014 - 19:30
Cologne Philharmonic Orchestra. (Vincero)
Richard Strauss’ “Alpine Symphony” is rarely performed because of the demands it makes on an orchestra ― for starters, it requires 125 players.

So far, no foreign orchestra has played the grandiose 50-minute piece here.

That is why so many Korean music fans are thrilled about the upcoming concert by the Cologne Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Germany-based orchestra will hold its first concert in Korea on Feb. 15 at Seoul Arts Center, with the program consisting of the “Alpine Symphony” and Mozart’s “Clarinet Concerto,” featuring renowned clarinetist Sabine Meyer.

The Cologne Philharmonic, which the late conductor Gunter Wand led for 30 years before becoming famous, is one of the top orchestras in Germany. 

Markus Stenz (left), Sabine Meyer. (Vincero)

Markus Stenz, the group’s musical director since 2004, will conduct Strauss’ work, which depicts an ascent up an alpine mountain, a storm at the top, the climber’s contemplation of nature and the descent.

Sabine Meyer will be performing for the second time in Korea, following an initial Seoul performance in 2008 with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. The clarinetist earned worldwide attention in 1982 when she became the first female member of the Berlin Philharmonic, selected by Herbert von Karajan, the orchestra’s then-chief conductor. She eventually bowed out of the running amid a conflict between players and the conductor over her appointment.

Tickets range from 80,000 won to 230,000 won. For more information, visit

By Lee Sun-young (