Austrian firm adds art gallery to its musical managementThe Schoenbrunn Classical Music Management Agency, a company that manages promising musicians and offers consulting services for Korean talent looking to debut on the international classical music scene, opened its new office in Jamwon-dong this month. Alongside the office, the agency also opened the Vienna Art Gallery, which currently features paintings by Austrian artist Franz Brandner ― Mr. Brandner is also the gallery’s chief director.
The company has been a strong thread connecting the culture of Austria and Korea for many years. Established in 1993 in Apgujeong-dong, with its main office in Vienna, Austria (the Austrian office was established 18 years ago) it has since then helped debut many Korean musicians on the world stage through its international concert network. The company has been the quiet support behind some of Korea’s most prominent musical talents, including pianists Kim Mi-kyung and Yun Hon-chun, flutist Choi Na-gyeong and violinists Kwon Hyuk-joo and Seo Min-jung.
The company has now ventured into visual art also by opening the Vienna Art Gallery in the same building. At the moment displaying about 30 paintings of landscapes and still life by Mr. Brandner, the gallery is intended to be a modest space to introduce Austrian art. The works are exhibited on the walls of what is also a performance space for musicians.
Mr. Brandner said, “I am interested in bringing the ‘old’ back to art. In my opinion, art is changing toward a more stylistic approach rather than stimulation of the mind. Through my art and this gallery, I hope to bridge the diversities of our different cultures and inspire visitors to think about the conceptual ideas behind art works rather than only looking towards something ‘new’.”
Mr. Brandner is a native of Steyr, Austria where he attended art college. During his twenties, the artist joined the studio of Wolfgang Schuler, a well-known portrait painter in Austria. He came to Korea three-and-a-half years ago and has held several exhibitions here, including at the Olympia Gallery, Gallery Korea, the Millennium Hilton Hotel’s Gallery and the Taegu Biennale.
Discussing the gallery, Jeon Ae-young, the managing director of Schoenbrunn Classic Management in Korea commented, “Mr. Brandner and our company share a common sensibility that is unlike any other. Since our company is closely related to Austria, we hope to have a give and take relationship where both countries, Korea and Austria, are represented through our programs.”
At the opening ceremony, guests enjoyed performances by the tenor Ryu Jung-pil and pianist Suh Jeong-won.
Those present included the Austrian ambassador to Korea, Wilhelm M. Donko, Schoenbrunn Classical Management Company directors including Ms. Jeon and the president of the Niederosterreich Club Korea, Lee Ho-jun, along with several club members. The Niederosterreich Club promotes classical music in Korea and its members include directors and teachers of several foreign language high schools and the Schoenbrunn management.
During the welcoming speech, Mr. Donko welcomed the opening of a new outlet for introducing Austrian art in Korea saying, “With the successful progress of various events to commemorate Mozart Year 2006 (on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of the musician’s birth in 1756), there are many venues to experience Austrian music. However, although Austrian art has a rich history as well, there have been few occasions to exhibit Austrian art works in Korea. Mr. Brandner has been contributing to the cultural exchange between Korea and Austria and I hope this gallery will assist in bringing the two cultures closer together.”
by Cho, Jae-eun