Young flutist invited to prestigious Mozart eventPRAGUE ― It’s rather unusual for a prestigious European event to invite a lesser-known Asian musician to participate in its main program, especially when it involves Wolfgang Mozart.
For Choi Na-gyeong, a 23-year-old flutist who recently appeared as a soloist with the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra at Smetana Hall, one of the largest halls in Prague with 1,200 seats, it was an overwhelming experience.
The performance was part of a historic event to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Mozart, a hero in the city where his famed opera “Figaro’s Wedding” was first staged in 1787.
Mozart lived and died in Vienna, but he was most celebrated in Prague. Many of his musical compositions, including “Don Giovanni” and his Symphony No. 38, were performed in Prague. He called the citizens of Prague “an audience who appropriately understand my music.”
Choi performed a flute solo in D major and got a standing ovation.
“I will be busy this year, performing with various symphonies around the world,” she said. “I would like to perform as a senior flutist for orchestras in Europe or the United States.”
Choi graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia before enrolling in the Julliard School of Music, where she is in her final year. She made her official debut in Korea performing Carl Nielsen with the Daejeon Metropolitan Symphony earlier last month.
Earlier, she won a solo competition hosted by the Philadelphia Orchestra, and in September, participated in a concert celebrating the centennial of the Julliard School of Music.
Just before performing in Prague, she completed a recording of a symphony for harp and flute by Mozart with the Vienna Classical Players. She is also in the process of rearranging a flute symphony by Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky in an effort to expand her repertoire.
Last week, she flew to Russia to perform “Carmen Fantasie” with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic.
“You see a lot of flute compositions from Baroque and contemporary music,” she says, “But you hardly see any in the classical or romantic periods. Beethoven also arranged his violin symphony for flute.”
by Lee Jang-jik