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Seoul Phil to hold second Europe tour in August

Led by conductor Chung, orchestra to perform Edinburgh Festival debut

The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, led by music director and chief conductor Chung Myung-whun, will hold its second Europe tour concerts from Aug. 19 to Aug. 27, just one month after releasing a debut album under the prestigious label Deutsche Grammophon.

The SPO said it will hold a special concert on Aug. 9 at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall to celebrate the start of its Europe tour, which will be sponsored by Hyundai Motor.

Chung said earlier in April that if the SPO wanted to become one of the best orchestras in the world, it had to offer lots of recordings and tours.

“Although other Korean orchestras have been offering concerts overseas, the concerts were mostly one-off or free events. But in the case of the SPO, it has been holding long-term, contract-based concerts since the 2010 Europe tour,” the SPO said.
The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Chung Myung-whun. (SPO)
The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Chung Myung-whun. (SPO)

The upcoming Europe tour will start at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw on Aug. 19, as part of the Robeco Summer Festival Series, where the SPO will perform Ravel’s “La Valse,” Debussy’s “La Mer” and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in b minor “Pathtique.” The Ravel and Debussy works were recorded for the SPO’s first DG album, released in July.

Then, the SPO will move to Grafenegg in Austria to attend the Grafenegg Festival on Aug. 21. There, the orchestra will perform Messiaen’s “Forgotten Offerings,” Brahms’ Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major Op. 77 and Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.” For the Brahms concerto, violinist Nikolaj Znaider will join the orchestra.

The SPO’s tour will continue on Aug. 24 at the Edinburgh International Festival in the U.K. with the same repertoire of Messiaen and Tchaikovsky. The orchestra will also add Korean composer Chin Un-suk’s “Su,” a concerto with the sheng, a 17-pipe traditional Chinese reed instrument, to the repertoire.

Chinese musician Wu Wei will join in the performance of the modern music by Chin, who is composer-in-residence of the SPO. The concert will be also the SPO’s Edinburgh festival debut.

The last leg of the orchestra’s tour will be held on Aug. 27 at the Grand Theater in Bremen, Germany, where the SPO will stage the repertoire of Debussy, Ravel, Chin and Tchaikovsky.

After the summer tour in Europe, the orchestra will continue overseas tours in Japan and North America early next year.

In January, the SPO is scheduled to perform in Tokyo and Fukuoka with Chung’s specialty Mahler Symphony No. 1 “Titan.” In April, the orchestra will travel to Vancouver, Canada and several U.S. cities, including Seattle, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles with a repertoire that is similar to the one featured during the Europe tour, the SPO said.

Currently, Chung also serves as music director of Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, music director of the Asia Philharmonic and chief conductor of the SPO.

Chung’s contribution to music was highly honored in late June by the French government, when the French Ministry of Culture and Communication conferred the country’s top French cultural order “Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters” on Chung. He became the first Korean to be a recipient of all three French cultural honors.

The SPO’s special concert celebrating the 2011 Europe tour will take place on Aug. 9 at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall at 8 p.m. The program will be a preview of the tour ― Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 “Pathtique.” Tickets range from 10,000 won to 100,000 won. For more information, call 1588-1210.

By Kim Yoon-mi (
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Korea Herald daum