Pianist Cho Seong-jin, conductor Chung Myung-whun to mark German record label’s 120th anniversary

By Shim Woo-hyun
  • Published : Sept 3, 2018 - 16:39
  • Updated : Sept 3, 2018 - 16:39

Rising pianist Cho Seong-jin and conductor Chung Myung-whun will mark the 120th anniversary of Deutsche Grammophon with a concert on Dec. 6 at Seoul Arts Center.

“Since when I was a child, I liked listening to CDs, and about 40 percent were by Deutsche Grammophon. I believe it is because the label has worked with many great artists over many years. I am really grateful to work with the label that I have grown up with,” pianist Cho said during a press conference Monday at the Plaza hotel in Seoul.

Pianist Cho Seong-jin (right) speaks at a press conference in Seoul on Monday (Yonhap)
cap - Pianist Cho Seong-jin (right) and conductor Chung Myung-whun attend a press conference in Seoul on Monday (Yonhap)

Cho has released three albums under Deutsche Grammophon since signing with the prestigious label in 2016, with another album due out in November.

Conductor Chung also expressed his gratitude to the Berlin-based label.

“I always thank Deutsche Grammophon for the support it has given while I was in Paris for the Paris National Opera and in Seoul for the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. Record production helps the development of classical music in general and the development of an orchestra in particular,” Chung said.

The concert on Dec. 6 will open with Cho’s performance of Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466, with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Chung. Cho played the same piece in 2011, with the SPO and Chung. The Mozart piano concerto will be included in Cho’s upcoming album.

“It has been about seven years since I first performed the Mozart piece with my mentor Chung Myung-whun and the SPO. I am really grateful to perform the piece once more,” Cho said.

“My performance of the Mozart piece now will surely be different from the one I did when I was 17, but my attitude toward music remains the same,” Cho said.

Maestro Chung recalled the moment he first met the pianist, when he was the music director of the SPO. Chung held the music director post at the SPO between 2005 and 2014.

“I remember it was at an event held at a hotel. Cho was 13 years old. Cho performed a Scherzo by Chopin, and I have never seen a kid with such talent. Later on, Cho and I performed many times, mostly concertos. Even though he was very young, he was an almost perfect pianist, I thought,” Chung said. “I can never be any happier about watching him grow as a great musician. It is like parents watching their kids growing,” Chung added.

“There is a large difference between holding a concert as a music director and a guest conductor. A music director is greatly responsible for bringing betterment to an orchestra,” said Chung. “I am rather lighthearted this time. It is more like coming back, meeting friends and colleagues to have fun playing music.”

On Dec. 7, internationally acclaimed violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter will perform Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26 with Chung and the SPO.

From left: Deutsche Grammophon President Clemens Trautmann, conductor Chung Myung-whun and pianist Cho Seong-jin pose for pictures after a press conference in Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)

The two concerts are part of a series celebrating Deutsche Grammophon. Starting with a concert in Beijing on Oct. 7, anniversary concerts are to follow in Berlin, Hamburg, Hanover, Hong Kong, London, Seoul Shanghai, Taipei and Tokyo.

“It is always important to remember what has made the music label strong,” Deutsche Grammophon President Clemens Trautmann said during the press conference, emphasizing the importance of continuing the classical music label’s tradition of maintaining relations with artists, as well as embracing innovative technologies and platforms to offer classical music to the public.

By Shim Woo-hyun (ws@heraldcorp.com)