12 cellists of Berlin to return to Korea

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12 cellists of Berlin to return to Korea

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Twelve is a magical number. Twelve months compose one year, two times 12 hours make up a day and 12 half-tones create an octave. Similarly, the twelve cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic make a virtuoso ensemble.
The 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic will perform twice at the Seoul Arts Center on July 15.
This is the fifth visit to Korea of the group, which has won praise from maestros including Herbert von Karajan, Claudio Abbado and Simon Rattle.
The 12 Cellists formed in 1972 when von Karajan was chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic and brought 12 cellists together to record Julius Klengel’s “Hymnus fur 12 Violoncelli” for a radio program.
In 1974, during Easter week, the same cellists performed for a large crowd at the Internationale Stiftung Salzburg Mozarteum. The response from the audience and media was so positive that they began performing together regularly.
The current members of the all-male ensemble are not the originals, but in a press release said, “We try to reach new audiences through a wide range of crossover repertoires and our fundamental artistic views have always been consistent from the beginning.”
Their 2000 album, “South American Getaway,” which contains songs by Latin American musicians like Astor Piazzolla, received a Grammy nomination in the Best Small Ensemble Performance category that year and also won an Echo Award, a German equivalent of a Grammy.
The ensemble released several non-classical albums such as “Round Midnight” and “As Time Goes By” with jazz and original soundtracks. The London Times once praised the versatility of the 12 Cellists, saying they could even perform music by Nirvana.
The 12 Cellists will perform 16 pieces of music on the theme of dance. The first half of the program, titled “The Angel’s Dance,” consists of seven pieces from their new album, “Angel Dances,” which was released this month. The seven pieces include Milonga del Angel by Piazzolla and Fratres by Arvo Part, both of which were composed especially for the ensemble. Other religious pieces including Giuseppe Verdi’s Ave Maria have been arranged for the group.
The second part of the program is titled, “The Dance of the World,” and contains music from various parts of the world.


by Limb Jae-un

The first performance starts at 2:30 p.m. and the second begins at 8 p.m. Ticket prices are from 40,000 won ($42) to 120,000 won. For more information, visit www.sac.or.kr/eng/.
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