Chung Kyung-wha is back ― 100%

By Korea Herald
  • Published : May 21, 2014 - 20:08
  • Updated : May 21, 2014 - 20:08
Violinist Chung Kyung-wha has never felt so good in recent years.

With her fingers fully recovered from what was once thought a career-killing injury, she practices for hours a day again, plans concerts around the world and, most importantly, is dreaming again.

“It feels so good. My fingers have never been in such good condition before,” Chung said at her home at the foot of Mount Bukhansan, northern Seoul, on Wednesday.

A world-acclaimed violinist and sister of conductor Chung Myung-whun and cellist Chung Myung-wha, she ended her illustrious career in 2005 due to an unexpected finger injury.

Then, in 2011, she made a comeback, relaunching a concert tour. Her fingers were not like they were at the peak of her career, and she suffered occasional pain and discomfort. Instead of practicing with a real violin, she had to prepare herself for a concert through rounds of image-training. 
Chung Kyung-wha (J&C Corp)

“My fingers are 100 percent recovered now. I am so happy to be able to practice again,” she said.

And the 64-year-old virtuoso is practicing like “a student cramming for an exam,” her manager said.

“It’s not like I practice 13 or 14 hours straight a day,” Chung explained. “It’s like ... I practice maybe two hours and take a break, then go back to practice for another hour and a half, then take my dogs for a walk. Or I practice three hours straight and then relax for a while. That’s pretty much all I do these days.

“Of course, I have to be careful not to over-practice,” she added.

Like her late mother used to say, misfortune turns into a blessing. Because of the injury and ensuing five-year hiatus, she now fully appreciates the joy of music-making.

“In the past, there was a lot of pressure and stress. But now, I am free of all that and I solely focus on music,” she said.

As grateful as she is, the violinist is trying to share her music with those in need of solace. On May 28, she will be performing at a free concert at Myeongdong Cathedral. There, she will be playing, among others, “A Thousand Winds,” a song by composer Kim Hyo-geun dedicated to the victims of the recent ferry disaster.

“The song is so beautiful. It touched me so deeply and brought me to tears,” she said, expressing hope that her music would help people heal after the tragic accident, which killed nearly 300.

Next month, she will hold another concert at Seoul Arts Center to help children in Africa and young musicians here in Korea. The rest of her schedule this year includes tours of China and the U.K.

The highlight will be her recital in December at Royal Festival Hall in London. It was at the hall that she made her debut in 1970 with the London Symphony Orchestra.

“It’s very special for me. It feels like a homecoming,” Chung said.

By Lee Sun-young (milaya@heraldcorp.com)