Classical music lineup in August

By Korea Herald

Mid-summer low season opens up opportunity for local orchestras and musicians to perform in prestigious venues

  • Published : Aug 14, 2014 - 21:06
  • Updated : Aug 14, 2014 - 21:06
Is August really the low season for classical music in Korea?

If one judges it by the number of big-name international orchestras and solo instrumentalists coming here to perform, it may be true.

But that opens up the opportunity for Korean orchestras and musicians, which, at other times of the year, struggle to get the chance to perform in the city’s most prestigious concert halls.

From the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra giving a preview concert before a European tour, to a brand-new ensemble’s debut performance, here’s a summary of some noteworthy concerts that will quench local aficionados’ thirst for music. 

SPO Europe Tour Preview Concert

Maestro Chung Myung-whun and Seoul Philharmonic will hold a preview concert at Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul on Aug. 16 before it embarks on a four-nation European tour.

They will present Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor and Debussy’s “La Mer,” featuring 14-year-old pianist Lim Ju-hee as soloist instead of Kim Sun-wook, who will join the orchestra in Europe. 
Chung Myung-whun. (SPO)

Arguably Korea’s most renowned orchestra, SPO is to perform at four different music festivals in Finland, Austria, Italy and the United Kingdom from Aug. 21-27. The highlight will be its last concert on Aug. 27 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, which will be its debut at the BBC Proms festival.

Tickets cost 10,000 won to 120,000 won. For more information, call (02) 1588-1210 or visit www.seoulphil.or.kr. 

Bucheon Philharmonic Orchestra

Conductor Lim Hun-jeong will lead the Bucheon Philharmonic Orchestra in a world premiere of a new work by Korean composer Jun Sang-jick at the Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul on Aug. 21.

It is again a preview concert of its Aug. 31-Sept. 4 European tour of three countries ― the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria.

The program also features two masterpieces by 19th-ceuntry European composers ― Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major Op. 35, featuring violinist Kim Bomsori as soloist, and Brahm’s Symphony No. 4 in E minor Op. 98.

Tickets cost 10,000 won to 30,000 won. For details, call (032) 625-8330 or visit www.bucheonphil.org.

Debut concert of ‘Symphony S.O.N.G’

Conductor Ham Shin-ik who led the KBS Symphony Orchestra until 2012 is making a return with a brand-new ensemble he founded ― Symphony S.O.N.G.

On Aug. 23 at Seoul Arts Center, the group will have its debut concert, with a program of two Beethoven masterpieces ― Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, known as “The Choral,” and Piano Concerto No. 5, Op. 73, “Emperor.”

DITTO encore recital

Two months after this year’s DITTO festival, which was themed around Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the four members of ensemble DITTO led by violist Richard Yongjae O’Neill are reuniting for an encore recital.

The Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet and oboist Ham Gyeong will join the concert on Aug. 31 at Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall.

The program consists of three compositions by Mozart, including Divertimento for String Trio in E flat major K. 563 and Oboe Quartet in F major, K. 370/368b.

Tickets cost 30,000 won to 80,000 won. For details, call 1577-5266.

Opera ‘Tosca’

Good news for opera fans: One of the most beloved operas of all, Puccini’s tragedy “Tosca” will be staged in a joint production by a renowned Italian opera house and a Korean company on Aug. 22 and 23.

Korea’s Sol’Opera and the Rome Opera House are presenting the operatic masterpiece at the Grand Theater of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in Seoul. 
A scene from “Tosca.” (Sol’Opera)

Full of beautiful arias, “Tosca” tells a compelling story of love and death, revolving around the beautiful opera singer Tosca, who is in love with the artist Cavaradossi.

The tragedy unfolds as the chief of police, Scarpia, becomes infatuated with Tosca and stops at nothing to attain the object of his desire.

The joint production features a predominantly Italian artistic team, including an Italian conductor, director, stage designer and costume designers, while three Korean singers have joined the cast.

“Tosca” will be staged at 8 p.m. on Aug. 22 and 5 p.m. on Aug 23. Ticket prices range from 30,000 won to 280,000 won.

For more information, call 1544-9373.

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