Violist brings Baroque back to life

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Violist brings Baroque back to life


Richard Yongjae O’Neill

Only a lucky few see Baroque masterpieces like St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and the paintings of Rubens during their lifetimes.

Baroque music is another story. It can come to us.

And Richard Yongjae O’Neill is its messenger at concerts in Seoul tonight and tomorrow, and in three other cities.

His mission is to bring this most important period in European music, roughly covering the 17th and 18th centuries, back to life in the most historically faithful manner possible.

“O’Neill is using gut strings and a Baroque bow,” said Dianne Choe, the organizer. “Audiences should be able to experience the warm sounds, clean expressions and free grace notes unique to the period.”

Baroque music is associated with famous composers such as Vivaldi, Bach and Handel. The period helped give shape to many modern musical forms: the sonata, concerto, oratorio and opera.

The program will include Telemann’s Viola Concerto G Major, Pachelbel’s Canon in D and Handel’s Passagalia.

O’Neill, who has recorded three albums with Deutsche Grammophon, released his latest album, a collection of Baroque music called “Mysterioso,” in December with Archiv Produktion, a prestigious period music label.

He is accompanied on his tour by established period ensemble Alte Musik Koln, who also worked on “Mysterioso.”

At just 30, O’Neill is the leader of popular chamber music group Ditto, teaches at the University of California, Los Angeles, and performs as a solo violist.

Alte Musik Koln was founded in 2006 by cellist Klaus-Dieter Brandt. Its members are Baroque and instrumental specialists who play either the original 18th-century instruments or highly accurate replicas.

The concerts take place at 7:30 p.m. at Nowon Art and Culture Center (Junggye Station, line No. 7, exit 2) tonight and 8 p.m. tomorrow at the Concert Hall at the Seoul Arts Center (Nambu Bus Terminal Station, line No. 3, exit 5). Tickets cost between 30,000 won ($20) and 100,000 won. Call 1577-5266 or visit

By Kim Hyung-eun Staff Reporter []
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