The Korea Herald


Spend the holiday season with live music

By 줄리 잭슨 (Julie Jackson)

Published : Dec. 15, 2016 - 17:10

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With Christmas and New Year’s just around the corner, festive cheer is in the air.

Despite the weather quickly taking a turn toward bone-chilling temperatures, there is a long list of live concerts and performances where people can celebrate the holiday season out of the winter cold.

For those looking to escape the winter blues, there’s nothing like a bit of cultural indulgence to add a little musical enchantment to an evening. 

Steve Barakatt’s “Christmas Dream”

Canadian pianist and composer Steve Barakatt is making his way back to Seoul once again, bringing along his band for his “Christmas Dream” holiday concert performance. 

Canadian pianist and composer Steve Barakatt. (Rainbow Bridge Story Ltd.) Canadian pianist and composer Steve Barakatt. (Rainbow Bridge Story Ltd.)

Famed for his fusion of classical and jazz music, the pianist will be putting on a very non-conventional holiday repertoire, which will includes songs such as “He is from Seoul, She is from Pyeongyang,” “California Vibes,” “Autumn in Quebec” and “A Night in New York City.”

Barakatt and his band will be performing at the Lotte Concert Hall on Dec. 18. Ticket prices range from 40,000 won to 160,000 won. Following his Seoul show, the pianist will perform in Ansan, Guri and Ulsan.

Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra

The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra is returning to the stage this holiday season with its “The Brilliant Series” and “Hana Classic Series II,” which will be held on Dec. 28 and 29, respectively.

Bringing life to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 Choral, the orchestra will be led under the baton of German conductor Christoph Eschenbach, who is also the music director of both the National Symphony Orchestra and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in the US.

Tickets prices for both concerts range from 10,000 won to 90,000 won. The SPO will be performing at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall.

“Christmas in Nell Room”

For those looking to spend the holidays surrounded by a more youthful, upbeat atmosphere, the members of popular rock band Nell will be rocking all night this Christmas. 

A promotional image for the rock band Nell. (Space Bohemian) A promotional image for the rock band Nell. (Space Bohemian)

The rockers recently released the single “Say You Miss Me” on Dec. 6, following their latest full album “C” in August. 

Nell will perform at the Jamsil Students’ Gymnasium on Christmas Eve. The band is slated to perform two concerts that evening, the first at 7 p.m. and the second at 11:59 p.m. Ticket prices range from 77,000 won to 110,000 won.

Vienna Boys Choir

Although a bit of a belated New Year’s celebration, the Vienna Boys Choir will soon be embarking on a nationwide tour for its holiday recital.

Founded in 1498, the Vienna Boys Choir still stands as one of the best-known choirs in the world. The choir will be performing across the country, holding recitals in Busan, Iksan, North Jeolla Province and Jeju Island before concluding their tour in Seoul with two performances.

The choir is slated to perform a wide range of pieces, from classic choral to movie soundtracks such as “The Jungle Book” and “Singin’ in the Rain.”

The Vienna Boys Choir’s concerts will be held at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall on Jan. 21 and 22. Ticket prices range from 30,000 won to 100,000 won.

"The Nutcracker"

Last but not least, no holiday performance list would be complete without the annual staging of the all-time holiday classic, “The Nutcracker.”

More than a century since its creation, “The Nutcracker” remains one of ballet’s most successful productions. Both the Universal Ballet and the Korean National Ballet will be presenting their renditions of the family-friendly masterpiece.  

A scene from the Korean National Ballet’s staging of “The Nutcracker.” (Korean National Ballet) A scene from the Korean National Ballet’s staging of “The Nutcracker.” (Korean National Ballet)

KNB’s troupe will once again be showcasing celebrated Russian dancer and choreographer Yuri Grigorovich’s version of the ballet. And unlike Universal’s rendition of the two-act ballet, this version will feature a live orchestra playing Tchaikovsky’s beloved score.

Known for its majestic stage composition, the Grigorovich storyline tells the tale of a boy whose broken nutcracker doll gift comes to life in his dreams.

KNB will stage its production at the Seoul Arts Center’s Opera Theater from Dec. 17 to 25. Ticket prices range from 5,000 won to 90,000 won.

Meanwhile, Universal Ballet’s production will be staged daily until New Year’s Eve, taking the more traditional approach to the beloved Christmas story. The ballet follows the tale of an innocent young girl who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and his epic battle with the mouse king and its soldiers.

Universal Ballet’s production will be staged at the Universal Arts Center in Seoul from Dec. 16 to 31. Ticket prices range from 10,000 won to 150,000 won.

By Julie Jackson (