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LA Phil to highlight Seoul with 10-day festival

Composer Chin Un-suk to invite leading Korean artists to ‘Seoul Festival’

The Los Angeles Philharmonic, also known as the LA Phil, will hold “Seoul Festival” in 2021, appointing celebrated composer Chin Un-suk as the curator of the 10-day event.

On Wednesday, the prestigious orchestra, led by music and artistic director Gustavo Dudamel, released its 2020-21 season program, including some of the programs for “Seoul Festival” which will be held from April 25 to May 4 next year.

From left: composer Chin Un-suk (Priska Ketterer) and Walt Disney Concert Hall (LA Phil)
From left: composer Chin Un-suk (Priska Ketterer) and Walt Disney Concert Hall (LA Phil)

LA Phil’s website says the city of Los Angeles is home to the largest Korean population in the United States, and the music festival will take an “in-depth look at the South Korean capital’s contemporary arts culture.”

Multiple award-winning composer Chin Un-suk is curating the event, inviting leading Korean musicians, composers and conductors. Most of the featured artists will make their debut with the LA Phil through the festival.

Based in Berlin since 1988, the Korean-born composers has stayed closely connected with the classical music scene here, serving as a longtime composer-in-residence at the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.

From April 30 to May 2, conductor Sung Shi-yeon will perform with pianist Kim Sun-wook, violist Lee Yu-ra and soprano Hwang Su-mi at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, presenting Brahms’ Piano Concerto No.1, Yun I-sang’s Etude No. 5 for solo flute, Texu Kim’s Viola Concerto “Ko-Oh” (world premiere of revised work) and Rhie Kay Kyu-rim’s newly commissioned piece for the LA Phil.

On May 2, pianist Mun Ji-yeong and the Novus String Quartet will present Romantic works, such as Ferruccio Busoni’s 10 Variations on a Prelude of Chopin, BV 213a, Schumann’s “Carnaval,” Op. 9, Dvorak’s String Quartet No. 12 in F, Op.96, “American,” and Schumann’s Piano Quintet.

The concert on May 4 is titled “New Sounds from Seoul” and will feature LA Phil New Music Group, Ensemble Nova, conductor Choi Soo-yeoul, flutist Kim You-been, violinist Clara-Jumi Kang and pianist Lee Mi-joo.

The program includes Yun I-sang’s 5 Klavierstucke, Seo Ju-ri’s Concertino for piano and chamber orchestra, Chin Un-suk’s “Gougalon - Scenes from a street theater” and two newly commissioned pieces, one by Bae Dong-jin and another by Chun Yie-eun.

Computer music composer Park Joo-wan will later present a live performance with multimedia, electronics and non-musical objects.

The LA Phil will be the main act of the festival, joined by a 13-member Korean ensemble specially formed for the event. During the festival period, a symposium, lectures and panel discussions about the Korean culture scene will be held.

More information on “Seoul Festival” will be released in December.

By Im Eun-byel (