[ON STAGE]Classical concerts, by the book

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[ON STAGE]Classical concerts, by the book

When dilettantes go to a museum, they often want to see only paintings by Picasso or Van Gogh. When they go to classical concerts, they typically want to hear the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra playing Dvorak's "New World Symphony." When it comes to art and cultural pursuits, nonexperts want to enjoy works they are familiar with, such as things they learned in, say, high school textbooks.

A classical music concert will be held this weekend in Seoul that is custom-made for people with a lukewarm but growing interest in the style. "Classical Music You've Seen in Textbooks," organized by the Toyconcert Musical Company, helps people with a growing interest in classical music get beyond the basics and find out just who their favorite composers are.

Conducted by Kang Shin-tae, the company has been holding regular concerts at university gymnasiums nationwide for two years. The group was formed to enlighten and teach the public .

The philosophy of the textbook concerts is to educate untrained ears about classical music by performing "pure" renditions with a traditional symphony orchestra. The group, staunchly refusing to compromise their principles, eschews popular trends such as crossover or semi-classics.

The group also organizes amusing activities for younger audience members. In the lobbies of concert halls, they exhibit various instruments and encourage visitors to have hands-on experiences, while the conductor or a musician from the orchestra provides explanations. After concerts, the audience is given small forms to comment on what they liked and disliked, which are later used to determine which musicians are honored with awards.

Between the two daily shows at Konkuk University this weekend, the conductor will hold mini-lectures about the featured composers and field questions from the audience. Some of the questions that have come up during past sessions are "What was going through Beethoven's mind when he composed his Symphony No. 5?" and "What makes Tchaikovsky a legend?"

The two-hour concerts will include compositions by the masters Rossini, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Dvorak, Tschaikovsky, among others.

Tickets are 10,000 won ($7.50) to 20,000 won. The 2 p.m. shows are sold out. For more info, call 02-3141-0651

by Park Soo-mee

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