The Korea Herald


Classical music concerts to uplift you in new year

By Park Ga-young

Published : Jan. 2, 2024 - 20:32

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Conductor Sung Shi-yeon (left) and violinist Yang In-mo Conductor Sung Shi-yeon (left) and violinist Yang In-mo

Several concerts are set to take place throughout the month of January, ringing in the new year.

The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra will hold New Year's concerts Friday and Saturday at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts and the Seoul Arts Center, respectively. Friday's performance will feature conductor Sung Si-yeon and violinist Yang In-mo as the guest performer. The concert on Saturday, organized by the Daewon Cultural Foundation, will have pianist Son Yeol-eum as the guest performer.

After the New Year's concerts, SPO will hold special concerts on Jan. 25 and 26 to commemorate the inauguration of its new artistic director, Jaap van Zweden, who is set to lead the Seoul-based orchestra for the next five years. The concerts mark SPO's first collaboration with pianist Lim Yun-chan, winner of the 2022 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, who will join the orchestra for Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 "Emperor." The orchestra will also perform Mahler's Symphony No. 1 "Titan."

The Korea National Opera's New Year's concert will preview major arias from operas scheduled for its 2024 season through concerts Friday and Saturday at the National Theater of Korea. While the concert on Friday is set to offer various arias from J. Strauss II’s “Die Fledermaus” to Lehar’s “Das Land des Lachelns” and “Die Lustige Witwe,” Rossini’s “L’italiana in Algeri,” E.W. Korngold’s “Die Tote Stadt” and Wagner's “Tannhauser,” the concert on Saturday is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Puccini's death, celebrating the composer with arias from operas such as “La Boheme,” “Madame Butterfly,” “The Girl of the West” and “Turandot.”

Pianist and Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra artistic director Kim Sun-wook (GPO) Pianist and Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra artistic director Kim Sun-wook (GPO)

On Jan. 12, the Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra will hold its New Year's concert at the Gyeonggi Arts Center, celebrating the inauguration of new artistic director Kim Sun-wook, who is also a prominent pianist. Pianist Paik Kun-woo will be the guest performer.

Kim will begin his term with the concert and remain in the post for an initial term until December 2025, leading the orchestra for a minimum of 10 performances a year. The concert will present Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro" and Scriabin's "Piano Concerto" together with pianist Paik. The second part of the concert will offer Brahms' "Symphony No. 1."

On Jan. 14, the Korean National Symphony Orchestra will begin its new season with the 2024 Season Opening Concert at the National Theater of Korea. The performance will showcase a blend of orchestral music, ballet, opera and pansori.

Korean National Symphony Orchestra (KNSO) Korean National Symphony Orchestra (KNSO)

Conducted by music and artistic director David Reiland, the event will feature performances by Canadian composer and pianist Stewart Goodyear, sopranos Veronica Yoo and Lee Hae-won, baritone Benjamin Cho as well as National Ballet members Park Jong-suk and Sim Hyun-hee. A unique collaboration between the Western orchestra and pansori features pansori singer Kim Su-in.

On Jan. 20, the KBS Symphony Orchestra will present the 2024 New Year Concert with conductor Yeo Ja-kyung and pianist Park Jae-hong, the first prize winner of the 63rd Busoni Piano Competition in 2021. The concert, which will take place at Gumi Art Center in Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province, will offer Glinka’s Overture “Ruslan and Lyudmila,” Rachmaninov’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini," Op. 43, and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95, "From the New World."

Pianist Kim Jun-hyung (Kumho Art Hall) Pianist Kim Jun-hyung (Kumho Art Hall)

Kumho Art Hall Yonsei, run by the Kumho Asiana Cultural Foundation, will celebrate 2024 with a concert by artist-in-residence for 2024, pianist Kim Jun-hyung. Kim will offer Bach’s ​​French Suite for Keyboard No. 4 in E-flat Major, BWV 815, and "Ich Ruf Zu Dir, Herr Jesu Christ (I call to You, Lord Jesus Christ)," Chorale Prelude for Organ, BWV 639, transcribed for piano by Ferruccio Busoni, KiV B27/50, Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 22 in F Major, Op. 54, and Brahms’ Piano Sonata No. 3 in F Minor, Op. 5 on Jan. 11 at Kumho Art Hall Yonsei.

The Vienna Philharmonic Ensemble performs Sunday at the Seoul Arts Center. This performance, the first in four years for audiences in Korea, will feature five string players, four woodwind players, three brass players and a single percussionist.

The Vienna Boys' Choir will perform a New Year's concert on Jan. 23 at the Seoul Arts Center. Comprising about 100 boys aged from around 10 to before puberty, the choir boasts a tradition of 520 years and has been performing in Korea since the opening of the Sejong Cultural Center in 1978.