“Curtis and Friends”: Curtis and Friends, consisting of pianist Lee Kyung-sook and her alumni friends from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, will hold a chamber music concert on Nov. 10, as the first leg of the Kumho Art Hall’s concert series “Beautiful Thursday.” The group of 10 Korean artists’ program will be Schumann Fantasiestucke Op. 73, Dvorak Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 26 and Brahms String Quintet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111. Tickets are 30,000 won and 8,000 won for those under 18. For more information, call (02) 6303-7700.
Pianist Lee Kyung-sook (Kumho Asiana Cultural Foundation)
“Trio Owon”: Classical music group Trio Owon, led by cellist Yang Sung-won, will hold its debut concert in Korea at the LG Arts Center on Nov. 6. The other two members are pianist Emmanuel Strosser and violinist Olivier Charlier. The name “Owon” comes from late Korean painter Jang Seung-up (1843-1897), who was depicted in Im Kwon-taek’s 2002 film “Painted Fire.” The trio will showcase German Romantic musicians in the 19th century -- Schumann, Mendelssohn and Brahms. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 60,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2005-0114.
“Sydney Symphony Orchestra”: The Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s first concert in Korea on Nov. 16-17 at the SAC’s Concert Hall is also noteworthy. Virtuoso pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy is the principal conductor of the orchestra, visiting Seoul this time with cellist Mischa Maisky and pianist Evgeny Kissin. The program includes Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1, Brahms Symphony No. 1, Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1 and Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2. Tickets range from 70,000 won to 250,000 won. For details, call (02) 599-5743.
“Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra”: The world renowned Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, led by conductor Simon Rattle, will come to Seoul again for concerts on Nov. 15 and Nov. 16. Sponsored by Samsung Electronics and organized by Kumho Asiana Cultural Foundation, the first evening concert will take place at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall for Mahler Symphony No. 9 in D Major. The second day, the orchestra will move to Sejong Center for the Performing Arts for Bruckner Symphony No. 9 in d minor. The two works were both their composers’ last symphony. On Nov. 16, Ravel’s “Alborada del gracioso” from the suite “Miroirs” and Hosokawa’s Horn Concerto “Moment of Blossoming” will be also staged. Stefan Dohr will collaborate for the horn concerto. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 450,000 won. For more information, call (02) 6303-7700.
“St. Petersburg Philharmonic”: The St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, led by artistic director and conductor Yuri Temirkanov, will come to Seoul again to showcase romantic and powerful European classical music for two days. Violinist Sara Chang will collaborate with the orchestra. Tmirkanov’s seasoned skills and precise interpretation of music will create synergy with Chang’s stormy passion and energy. The concerts will take place at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall on Nov. 8-9. The Nov. 8 program includes Liadov Kikimora Op. 63, Sibelius Violin Concerto in d minor Op. 47 and Rachmaninov Symphony No. 2 in e minor Op. 27. The next day, the first half is the same, followed by Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5 in e minor Op. 64.
“Mamas Gun Live in Seoul”: Quintet rock band Mamas Gun from the U.K., which performed at the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival this year, will hold its first concert in Korea at Hongdae V Hall on Dec. 1-2 at 8 p.m. Debuting in 2009 with album “Routes to Riches,” the act has been often compared with U.S. group Maroon 5. All standing tickets are 66,000 won.
British rock group Mamas Gun (Southern Entertainment)
“Love Concerto That Year, Winter”: Balladeers Park Jung-hyun and Sung Si-kyung will hold a joint year-end concert tour “Love Concerto That Year, Winter” in December in five major Korean cities. The two will start the tour in Busan on Dec. 4 and move to Daejeon on Dec. 10. In Daegu, the concert will be held on Dec. 17 and in Gwangju, on Dec. 24-25. The Seoul concert will be held from Dec. 29-31 at the Jamsil Sports Complex. Tickets, priced between 88,000 won and 121,000 won, are open at ticket.interpark.com.
“SAC Singer-songwriter Series: Park Sun-joo”: The Seoul Arts Center said it will kick off a series of concerts covering singer-songwriters on Nov. 10-13. Park Sun-joo, famous as the vocal trainer of many K-pop artists, will cut the first tape. The concerts will be held at 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday; at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday; and 3 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 80,000 won. For more information, call (02) 580-1300.
“Chris Botti: Live in Seoul”: American jazz trumpeter and composer Chris Botti is to hold a live concert at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts’ Grand Theater on Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m.. Influenced by Miles Davis and Chat Baker, he has authentic jazz sounds which go well with other genres including pop, film soundtracks and classical music. Since his debut in 1995, he has released 12 albums including the Billboard Chart’s Jazz No. 1 albums “When I Fall In Love” (2004), “To Love Again: Duet” (2005) and “Italia” (2007). Tickets range from 50,000 won to 150,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3461-0976.
“The 9th Asiana International Short Film Festival”: The 9th Asiana International Short Film Festival will run through Nov. 7 at Cine Cub in Gwanghwamun in Seoul. This year, more than 2,000 short films from 90 countries have been submitted to the international competition. An award-winning short film will be screened as a closing at 7 p.m. on Nov. 7. There will be also national competition with a theme, “Traveling Shorts in Korea.” For more information, visit aisff.org/2011.
Poster of the 9th Asiana International Short Film Festival (Asiana International Short Film Festival)
“Makgeolli Expo”: B2 Expo, aT Center and Coex will jointly hold the Makgeolli Expo 2011 from Nov. 9-12 at the Coex in southern Seoul, inviting 1,000 companies related to Makgeolli, Korean rice wine. The event will showcase not only various kinds of makgeolli but the brewing equipment and traditional foods that can go well with the rice wine. For more information, visit www.makgeolliexpo.co.kr.
“The 13th Icheon Rice Cultural Festival”: Incheon City is to hold the 13th Icheon Rice Cultural Festival through Nov. 6 at the Seolbong Park in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province. The city is known for the supply of quality rice across the nation. The best thing about the festival is that you can buy newly harvested rice. Other programs include plays for children, an arm wrestling competition, rice cake making and a thanksgiving ceremony. For more information, visit www.ricefestival.or.kr.
“Seoul Lantern Festival 2011”: The Seoul Lantern Festival will be held through Nov.20 along Cheonggyecheon in central Seoul. Starting from Cheonggye Plaza to Gwansu Bridge, the 1.3-kilometer path will be decorated with various lanterns. The stream and the lanterns will make a unique scene at night. For more information, visit http://blog.naver.com/seoullantern.
“Art of Communication”: Four established media artists of different nationalities -- Anri Sala, Yang Ah Ham, Philippe Parreno and Jorge Pardo -- ponder on the question of communication at National Museum of Contemporary Art, Deoksugung, in central Seoul. The artists have worked together and apart to create media works with common and diverging themes: the intimacies of everyday life, social messages and the eternal dialogue between the arts. The exhibition runs through Dec. 4. Admission is 5,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2188-6114 or visit www.moca.go.kr.
A scene from “The Boy from Mars” by Philippe Parreno (MOCA)
“Work in Progress”: Daelim Contemporary Museum of Art in Tongui-dong, central Seoul, sheds new light on Karl Lagerfeld, not as a high-end designer but as a photographer. Lagerfeld has produced many impressive photos including images of fashion collections and more experimental shots of models. Chanel and Fendi’s 2011 F/W collection photos took by Lagerfeld is showcased to the public for the first time through the exhibition. The exhibition runs through March 18 at Daelim Contemporary Museum of Arts. Tickets range from 2,000 won to 5,000 won. For more information, call (02) 720-0667 or visit www.daelimmuseum.org.
“Body Worlds & The Cycle of Life”: The exhibition shows the complexity, resilience, and vulnerability of the human body by displaying more than 200 pieces of plastinated human bodies. Divided into four sections, the show presents the human life cycle and aging -- from prenatal development to old age by displaying a remarkable collection which ranges from plastinated embryos to findings on geographic clusters around the world where the oldest living people live. The exhibition is held as open run at The War Memorial of Korea in Yongsan-dong, central Seoul. Tickets range from 6,000 won to 15,000 won. For more information, call (02) 541-6235 or visit www.bodyworlds.kr.
“The Court Painters of Joseon Dynasty”: In celebration of its seventh anniversary, Leeum brought together 110 paintings by “hwawon,” or court painters of the Joseon Dynasty. It showcases works by master painters like Kim Hong-do, Jang Seung-eop, Shin Yun-bok and Kim Deuk-sin, who are well-known among the Korean public due to their immense influence. The exhibition is divided into two parts -- “The Court Painter’s Brush: Forming Royal Authority” and “The Court Painter’s Brush: Painting Joseon.” It runs through Jan. 29. Tickets range from 4,000 won to 7,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2014-6900 or visit www.leeum.org.
“My Way”: Plateau, Samsung Museum of Art, presents a mid-career retrospective of the leading French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel. The artist’s unique artistic spectrum -- from the early works of the 1980s to the latest monumental installations contemplating the philosophy of existence -- is on display. Some of the exhibits are being shown to the public for the first time. The exhibition runs through Nov. 27 at Plateau, Samsung Museum of Art in central Seoul. Tickets range from 3,000 won to 5,000 won. For more information, call 1577-7595 or visit www.plateau.or.kr.
“Agony and Ecstasy”: Artistic highlights from business mogul and noted collector Franois Pinault’s impressive collection have been brought to Seoul. Exhibits include paintings, sculptures, installation works and photos by four renowned contemporary artists -- Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Cindy Sherman and Takashi Murakami. The show offers a rare chance to see Hirst’s formaldehyde solution installations and Murakami’s sculptures of exaggerated sexuality. The exhibition runs through Nov. 19 at SongEun ArtSpace in Cheongdam-dong, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 3448-0100 or visit www.songeunartspace.org
“Teddybear & Swan Lake”: Seol and Company, one of the top musical producing companies in Korea, is showcasing an animal-version of the ballet “Swan Lake” at Garden 5 Art Hall in Munjeong-dong, eastern Seoul. Professional ballet dancers will be performing to Tchaikovsky’s music but only disguised in animal costumes. It is an opportunity for children to enjoy and get closer to ballet. The show runs through Sunday. Admission is 10,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2157-1140 or visit www.g5arthall.co.kr.
“What about Love”: Korea National Contemporary Dance Company will showcase “What About Love,” an original dance by legendary French choreographer Joelle Bouvier, a pioneer of the Nouvelle Danse trend. She selected 16 members of KNCDC in April to put on the show and has been training the crew ever since. The show will run from Nov. 5-6 at the National Museum of Korea’s Theater Yong in Yongsan-dong, central Seoul. Tickets range from 10,000 won to 16,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3472-1420 or visit www.kncdc.kr.
Dancers practice a scene from “What about Love.” (KNCDC)
“Onegin”: Universal Ballet Company presents “Onegin,” the tragic love story based on Alexander Pushkin’s “Eugene Onegin” which is one of the best known Russian novels in history. Music is by Tchaikovsky and choreography is by John Cranko. Kang Hyo-jung and Evan McKie, principal dancers from Stuttgarte Ballet, will each join the show as Tatyana and Onegin along with UBC’s principal dancers. It will run from Nov. 12-19 at LG Art Center in Yeoksam-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 100,000 won. For more information, call (02) 070-7124-1737 or visit www.universalballet.com.
“Miso”: Translated as “beautiful smile,” this musical offers a compact presentation of everything Korean culture first-timers could wish for. It blends ten different kinds of traditional dances, five traditional games and a wedding ritual into the storyline based on a well-known folktale, “The Tale of Chunhyang.” There are very few spoken lines throughout the performance, making it ideal for audiences of diverse nationalities. “Miso” is showing as an open run at Chongdong Theater in Jeong-dong, central Seoul. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 50,000 won. For more information, call (02) 751-1500 or visit www.koreamiso.com.
“The Last Empress”: Having debuted as Korea’s first original musical in 1995, “The Last Empress” celebrates its 16th year anniversary this year. Based on the true story of Queen Myeongseong of Joseon, the musical depicts her struggle to protect her kingdom against the Japanese, as well as her tragic death at the hands of Japanese assassins. The show runs until Nov. 20 at Grand Theater, Chungmu Art Hall in central Seoul. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 120,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2250-5900.
“Hamlet”: Czech republic’s rock superstar Janek Ledecky brings an exciting adaptation of the Shakespearean revenge tale to Seoul for the third time. The rock-star wrote the musical back in 1998, with no previous musical theater experience. It was a huge success in Prague and Bratislava, Slovakia, when it was first premiered in 1999, attracting some 10 million people over the next six years. The musical eventually made its way to Broadway in 2003, after a year-long adaptation process with Robert Johanson, a New-York based musical director. Its Korean edition was first premiered in 2007, and made another hit in 2008. Its third run, which kicked off on Oct. 10, runs until Dec. 17 at the Universal Arts Center in Seoul. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 100,000 won. For tickets and information, call (02) 6391-6333 or visit www.musicalhamlet.com.
A scene from the musical “Hamlet.” (EMK Musical Company)
“The Visit”: Director Lee Soo-in presents a new adaptation of Swiss playwright Friedrich Durrenmatt’s 1956 play “The Visit.” Taking place in the town of Guellen, which literally means “to manure,” the play starts as an old billionaire named Claire arrives for a visit. She had left the town some 40 years ago, and made her wealth by marrying an elderly Armenian millionaire whom she met while working as a prostitute. The town suffers financial destitution, and hopes Claire will help revive its economy. To everyone’s surprise, the old woman says she will offer $100 billion under one condition: She wants her first love named Alfred dead, and wants his body. The show runs until Nov. 12 at Space 11 of Doosan Art Center in central Seoul. Tickets range from 15,000 won to 30,000 won. For more information, call (02) 708-5001 or visit www.doosanartcenter.com.
“Musical Winter Sonata”: Based on KBS’ 2002 mega hit drama series of the same name, “Musical Winter Sonata” is a heart-wrenching love story. Using the beautiful winter scenery of Chuncheon, Gangwon Province as a sentimental background, the show tells a story of two people unable to let go of their first love. The TV version received enthusiastic reception both home and abroad, especially in Japan. The musical is directed by Yoon Suk-ho, who directed the TV series, while Oh Eun-hee composed the music. The show runs until March 18 of next year, at Myungbo Art Hall in central Seoul. Tickets cost 50,000 won. For tickets and information, call (02) 1544-1555, or (070) 7019-6707.
“Mimosa Pudica”(Yutzpracachia): Inspired by the real-life story of Anne Sullivan (1866-1936), the famous teacher of Helen Keller, Bukchon Art Hall’s current play “Mimosa Pudica” tells a story of a young girl who has been traumatized by the American Civil War and a disease that leaves her almost blind. The play starts as Annie, who lives in a hospital orphanage, becomes emotionally unstable after her only sibling dies. As her aggressive behavior gets uncontrollable, the abusive staff of the hospital decide to send her to the institution’s mental unit. Tormented and hurt by her past and her failing eye-sight, Annie refuses to talk and acts violently whenever the Big Annie, the kind-hearted nurse at the mental unit, tries to console her. Annie’s condition doesn’t seem to improve, but Big Annie doesn’t give up. One day, the nurse gets Annie a flowerpot of Mimosa pudica, a strange plant which apparently has to be constantly touched by humans in order to survive. Open run at Bukchon Art Hall, near Anguk subway station exit number 3, in central Seoul. Tickets cost 25,000 won. Children must be 10 or older to be admitted. For more information, call (02) 988-2258.
“Mamma Mia!”: The global smash hit musical “Mamma Mia” is back as a Korean production. Based on songs of ABBA, including “Dancing Queen,” “Money, Money, Money,” and “Thank You for the Music,” the musical offers a hilarious tale of a young bride-to-be’s search for her unknown father. The show premiered in Korea in 2004, and was last performed here in 2009 at the National Theater of Korea. The current show stars musical actress Choi Jung-won as Donna, the single mother whose daughter is about to get married. Pop singer Lee Hyun-woo, who had his musical debut with “Singles” back in 2007, appears as Harry, one of the three potential fathers of Sophie, Donna’s only daughter. The show runs until Feb. 26 at D-Cube Arts Center in western Seoul, located near exit 1 of Sindorim subway station. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 110,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2211-3000.
“Cats”: “Cats,” celebrating its 30th anniversary, is back on Korea’s musical scene. Based on “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” by T.S. Eliot, the musical was first performed in Korea in 1994. Korean pop diva Insooni stars as its famous lead character Grizabella, a very old cat who used to be carefree and beautiful. She had left her home tribe to explore the outside world, though she knew she would never be allowed back. The musical unfolds as weary Grizabella tries to reconcile with the cats she left, asking for their acceptance once again. Sharing her role as Grizabella are musical actresses Hong Ji-min and Park Hae-mi. “Cats” runs from until Dec. 31 at Charlotte Theater in Jamsil, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 120,000 won. For more information, call (02) 1577-3363 or visit www.musicalcats.co.kr.