Cellist touring with Venezuelan pianistTwo years after her last tour in Korea, cellist Chang Han-na is back performing sonatas for piano and cello by Schumann, Shostakovich and Chopin in a tour titled, “Romantic.” Chang’s nationwide tour will visit seven cities ― Geumsan, Seoul, Seongnam, Ansan, Jeonju, Busan and Gwangju ― until Nov. 30.
“It is first time for me to play music from the Romantic era in Korea,” Chang said. “Chopin and Schumann were born in the same year, 1810, and they each had their own romance, which is well known.”
Chang will tour with Venezuelan pianist Sergio Daniel Tiempo. Tiempo quickly rose to international prominence after making his debut at age 14 in the “Great Pianists” series at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw in 1986.
He has performed with major orchestras including the Chicago Symphony and the Cleveland Philharmonic orchestras and worked with such conductors as Claudio Abado and Michael Tilson Thomas.
“In the last three years, I have been looking for someone who is more than an accompanist,” Chang said. “I was looking for a partner, whom I can speak to about music.”
The two met in Germany while Chang was touring.
“Tiempo was very intuitive and responsive. Every time I performed differently, and he was able to respond to my performance right away,” she said.
After their Korean tour, the pair will perform in Washington D.C., Lisbon and Los Angeles.
Chang is only 23 years old, but is already considered to be in the ranks of virtuoso players. “I am grateful. Regardless of my age and experience, an endless pursuit of progress is my mission and duty. A performer has to be one’s own best critic and best fan,” she said.
Chang first won recognition at the Fifth Rostropovich International Cello Competition in Paris, at the age of 11, taking the first prize as well as the contemporary music prize. She was chosen unanimously for both awards by Maestro Rostropovich and 10 other jury members.
Chang said she has the best chemistry with conductors such as Lorin Maazel, Giuseppe Sinopoli and Antonio Pappano.
“Sinopoli did not used to like so-called child prodigies. But after our rehearsal, he was all smiles,” Chang said, speaking of her first meeting with Sinopoli. She said he later he treated her like his own daughter.
“Sinopoli greatly enhanced my curiosity for learning. In their early teens, people are very much influenced by those they admire and I was lucky to be surrounded by such distinguished people,” she said.
Chang is currently taking an extended break from Harvard University where she has been studying philosophy.
“I wanted to study something challenging at university. I thought performing and studying philosophy would give me great satisfaction,” she said.
“Studying philosophy did not affect me directly, but it helped me in my personal life,” she said. “I was able to learn things that I could not learn while I was performing.”
Chang said she wants to take five to six years off then return to Harvard to continue to study philosophy.
by Limb Jae-un