Countertenor to Visit Korea to Pay Tribute to Bach

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Countertenor to Visit Korea to Pay Tribute to Bach

Andreas Scholl, the German countertenor, will treat his Korean fans to a musical tribute to Johann Sebastian Bach on the the 250th anniversary of the great composer's death. The recital, "A Musical Banquet," will include a collection of popular songs dating back to the Renaissance courts of Europe.

Mr. Scholl, 33, is known as one the world's "Big Three" countertenors, a distinguished club whose other members are Brian Asawa of Japan and David Daniels of the United States.

Born in a small village near Wiesbaden, Germany, Mr. Scholl joined the Kiedricher Chorbuben boys' choir in 1987. When his voice started to change, he became interested in pursuing a career as a countertenor. He studied under Rene Jacobs, Belgium's premier countertenor, and made his debut as a stand-in for Mr. Jacobs in a 1993 performance at the Grevin Theater, Paris.

Mr. Scholl's accomplished career began with the French music company Harmonia Mundi. He was then signed exclusively to Decca, another French music label in 1998. He received the Banchini Gramophone Award in 1996 and 1997 and recorded several albums, including performances of Vivaldi's "Stabat Mater" and Bach's "Cantatas."

A countertenor occupies a vocal range similar to his female counterparts, the soprano and the alto. But whereas other male singers that approximate these vocal ranges usually reserved for women tend to sing in a sharp, artificial falsetto, countertenors tend to cultivate a softer, rounder tone with more vibrato. In order to do this they have to train using special techniques. Countertenors were trained as replacements for castratos (castrated male sopranos) after the Vatican banned them from performing in 1903.

"A Musical Banquet" will include musical accompaniment by a lute, a musical instrument of the string family popular in 16th -18th century Europe. The lute resembles a guitar with a gourd-shaped body. The recital will be held in the Great Hall of the Pusan Cultural Center on Dec. 2 and in the Seoul Arts Center's Concert Hall on Dec. 4.

Mr. Scholl plans to release an album that will include a few Korean folk songs, like "Saeya, Saeya" and "Arirang." It will also feature jazz versions of "White as Lilies" and "Never Again," both pieces composed by Mr. Scholl.

For more information on "A Musical Banquet" call 02-599-5743.


by Ines Cho

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