중앙데일리

Unlocking musical mysteries

Mar 19,2007
Chin Un-suk, the composer-in-residence for the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, chooses what 20th century music the orchestra plays, including selections for the Ars Nova series concerts on Thursday and Sunday. Courtesy of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra
Classical music fans lament the fact that the 20th century’s classical music has become difficult, incomprehensible and automatically associated with avant garde music. To change this perception and help fans understand that music can be beautiful, Chin Un-suk, 46, the composer-in-residence with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra (2006-2008) began the Ars Nova, or new arts, series last year. The first of this year’s four Ars Nova performances is scheduled on Thursday at the concert hall at Seoul Arts Center. The second takes place Sunday at the Sejong Chamber Hall of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, beginning with a half-hour pre-lecture by the Korean-German composer.
The first two concerts are dedicated to Hungarian-born Austrian composer Gyeorgy Ligeti (1923-2006), who taught Ms. Chin composition while she was studying in Hamburg, Germany.
“Ligeti is one of the most influential composers of the 20th century,” Ms. Chin told the press last week in Seoul. “His music communicates with the public better than any from the 20th century.”
Ms. Chin said though she was his student between 1985 and 1988, Ligeti was a difficult person to deal with and understand in terms of personality and theory.
“The three years studying with him was very difficult. It was so hard that I could not produce any work for those years. But the things he taught me helped me a lot in later years,” she said. “Years and years later, I realized how important his role was in 20th century music, and wanted to highlight his work.”
“Becoming a composer is a really difficult thing to do,” Ms. Chin said. “He was very demanding and I [and other students] wasn’t easily able to meet his demands.”
Mr. Ligeti’s works are well known as they were featured in films by Stanley Kubrick such as “2001: A Space Odyssey” (“Atmospheres”) and “Eyes Wide Shut” (“Musica Ricercata II”).
Ms. Chin said 20th century music could also be beautiful.
“In the past, 20th century music was too incomprehensible to approach a general audience, but those days are gone. Now contemporary classical music has a wide range. There is 20th century music that is not difficult,” she said. “At the same time, music is not for everyone, but is for the audience that is ready to accept the music as it is. Then the music becomes communicative.”
Ms. Chin now resides in Berlin, but she said she is not very involved with the presentation of 20th century music in Germany.
“My style is far from German ecstatic,” she said.
Although she said she mostly works with orchestras outside Germany, this year might be a little different because her first stage work, “Alice in Wonderland,” will be premiered at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich in June at the opening of the Munich Opera Festival. It will be conducted by Kent Nagano and directed by Achim Freyer.
This will be the first time the Staatsoper plays a piece by a Korean composer since it performed Yun Isang’s “Sim Tjong” in 1972. “It is 20th century music, it has simple melodies, though not simple enough to be boring, and isn’t going to be overwhelming,” Ms. Chin said.
Although she is the composer-in-residence for the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, she is fully booked until 2011, she said, and is unable to work on anything for the orchestra except a piece co-commissioned by several orchestras including the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.
She won the 2004 Grawemeyer Award for her “Violin Concerto,” and also won the Arnold Schonberg Prize in 2005. Her works include “Acrostic-Wordplay” (1991/93) for soprano and ensemble, “Violin Concerto” (2001) for violin and orchestra, and “Double Concerto” (2002) for piano, percussion and ensemble.
The “Ligeti Memorial Concert” starts at 8 p.m. on Thursday, after the pre-lecture from 7:20 p.m., and at 6 p.m. on Sunday, after the pre-lecture from 5:30 p.m. Thursday’s program includes Ms. Chin’s “Allegro ma non troppo” for percussion and tape and Ligeti’s “Atmospheres” and “Violin Concerto.” The Sunday program includes Ligeti’s “Chamber Concerto” and “Poeme symphonique for 100 metronomes.”
For more information about the program, visit www.seoulphil.com.


By Limb Jae-un Staff Writer [jbiz91@joongang.co.kr]



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