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Coming to you live from an empty concert hall

Violinist performs to empty Kumho Art Hall as recital is livestreamed

Watching violinist Kim Dong-hyun’s recital via mobile device at home on Thursday (Im Eun-byel/The Korea Herald)
Watching violinist Kim Dong-hyun’s recital via mobile device at home on Thursday (Im Eun-byel/The Korea Herald)


Lately, online streaming has become the norm in the performing arts scene, with more artists playing to empty concert halls while the shows are livestreamed.

Kumho Art Hall Yonsei, run by the Kumho Asiana Culture Foundation, has joined in the trend, livestreaming two violinists’ performances online. Though the art hall has always streamed its recitals online, the musicians had never before played to an empty concert hall.

Kim Dong-hyun, a 2020 Kumho Rising Star, performed Thursday at the concert hall in western Seoul. The seats were empty as the show was aired live via online streaming platform Naver’s V app. Kim currently plays a violin made by Joannes Baptista Guadagnini in 1763 in Parma, Italy.

Kim, who won third prize at the prestigious Tchaikovsky International Competition in Russia last year, took to the stage with pianist Park Young-sung, performing Jean-Marie Leclair’s Sonata for Violin and Continuo in D major, Op. 9/3, and Igor Stravinsky’s Divertimento (transcribed for violin and piano by Stravinsky and Samuel Dushkin).

A short intermission was followed by Gabriel Faure’s Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1 in A major, Op. 13, and Camille Saint-Saens’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso for Violin and Orchestra in A minor, Op. 28 (performed on violin and piano).

“It was awkward to perform without an audience. But I was grateful to even be on the stage as most performances have been canceled lately. There was not much difference in preparation or the performance, though,” Kim told The Korea Herald via phone a day after the recital.

“In May, I have another performance with the Chuncheon Philharmonic Orchestra. The concert will be streamed online too, without the physical presence of an audience. It is strange, but still exciting,” Kim said.

Thursday’s show marked its peak at 4,443 viewers. Unlike on-site recitals, the livestreamed recital was accompanied by fans chatting on the streaming platform, showing their affection for the artist and cheering for him.

On April 23, the Kumho Asiana Culture Foundation will stream another performance by violinist Park Kyu-min. Park’s instrument was made in 1740 by Dominicus Montagnana and is on loan from the arts foundation.

At the upcoming recital Park will play Johannes Brahms’ Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2 in A major, “Thun,” Op. 100; Johann Sebastian Bach’s Partita for Solo Violin No. 1 in B minor, BWV1002; Paul Hindemith’s Sonata for Solo Violin, Op. 31/1; and Richard Strauss’ Sonata for Violin and Piano in E-flat major, Op. 18 (TrV151); with pianist James Jae-won Moon.

 
Violinist Kim Dong-hyun (Kumho Asiana Culture Foundation)
Violinist Kim Dong-hyun (Kumho Asiana Culture Foundation)


Park expressed disappointment at the prospect of playing to an empty concert hall.

“As a musician, I learned I should play for even just one person. I believe seeing the audience can make a great difference to my performance in many aspects,” Park said.

Trying to find a silver lining, Park said this disruption may be a chance for the classical music scene to establish a new system.

“For pop music, it is the norm to experience new music through the media first and go to the actual concerts if you really like the performance. Perhaps, this may be an opportunity where the same logic could be applied to classical music,” he said.

“As I prepare for the recital, I am considering exaggerating every little detail of my performance, from gestures to expressions, for my music to be better delivered to the audience at home. Watching the show online at home, it might be dull, hard to concentrate for the audience.”

Park’s recital at Kumho Art Hall Yonsei will be streamed live April 23 on the Kumho Art Hall channel on Naver’s V app.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)
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