Classical music concerts aplenty this year

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Classical music concerts aplenty this year

Classical music lovers will have a difficult choice to make with all of the renowned orchestras, musicians and events scheduled to hit Seoul in the coming year.

Two major orchestras - Netherlands-based Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Israel’s Philharmonic Orchestra - will visit Seoul in November. According to U.K.-based classical magazine Gramophone, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, which marks its 122th anniversary this year, topped the list of the world’s best orchestras in 2008, replacing the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra last visited Korea 13 years ago.

Also in November, legendary conductor Zubin Mehta will return to Seoul with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Mehta was slated to visit Seoul last year with the Vienna Philharmonic but he had to cancel his trip due to ill health. A number of other renowned orchestras are set to play in Seoul this year as well, including the Philharmonia, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony, Birmingham Symphony and Budapest Festival Orchestra.

Some famed musicians will also play here for the first time this year. Russian pianist Arcadi Volodos, who is often called the best in the world, will have a recital in February at Seongnam Arts Center in Gyeonggi. Romanian pianist Radu Lupu will have a solo recital in October and will collaborate with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra in November.

Two violinists - Christian Tetzlaff and Daniel Hope - will show their artistry to Korean audiences in February and May, respectively. Korean violinist Jung Kyung-hwa will return to the stage in May. She had to stop playing due to a finger injury in 2005.

Classical music devotees will also have a wide range of blockbuster programs to choose from this year. One of these is Seoul Arts Center’s 3B Series, which features the music of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. Meanwhile, Kumho Art Hall will offer concerts to mark the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth, and Hoam Art Hall, which is marking the 25th anniversary of its opening, will present concerts by local musicians throughout the year. And Mahler’s 150th year will be commemorated with concerts by the Seoul, Busan and Daejeon Philharmonic Orchestras.

In addition, several world-class competitions will be held this year. The Chopin Piano Competition and the Queen Elizabeth International Music Competition of Belgium will be held in May and October, respectively.

By Kim Ho-joung []
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