A slew of classical concerts for fall

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A slew of classical concerts for fall


Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Provided by Kumho Asiana Cultural Foundation

Now that a series of summer music festivals are over - from Jisan Rock Festival to Jarasum Jazz Festival and Grand Mint Festival last weekend - music enthusiasts might be left with a sense of emptiness.

But if you are also willing to delight in classical music, the period from this week until November will be perfect, given it will see a handful of big names in the genre take the stage.

Most notable of them is the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Sir Simon Rattle, on Nov. 15 and 16. It will mark one of the world’s most prestigious orchestra’s fourth visit to Korea: the first in 1984 with the late Herbert von Karajan and the second and the third with the incumbent conductor.

During his second visit in 2005, Sir Simon promised to include Korea in the orchestra’s regular Asian tour every three years.

On the first day of the concert, the orchestra will play Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 in D Major. The second day will see Ravel’s “Alborada del Gracioso” as well as Toshio Hosokawa’s Concerto for Horn and Orchestra “Moment of Blossoming,” performed with horn soloist Stefan Dohr, and Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor.

Classical music fans might have to make a difficult decision on Nov. 16, the second day of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, since that day Koreans’ favorite cellist Mischa Maisky will also be performing Shostakovich Cello Concerto No.1 in B flat major Op.107 with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at a different venue.

What is perhaps making the decision even harder is that the orchestra, visiting Korea for the first time, will perform under the baton of the legendary Russian conductor-pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy. The next day, former child prodigy and now established pianist Evgeny Kissin will play Chopin Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor Op. 11 with the orchestra. His last encounter with Korean fans was 2009.

Particularly welcoming for piano aficionados is that there will be Murray Perahia and Robert Levin giving recitals within the one-month period. This Saturday, Murray Perahia, renowned as one of the most “lyrical pianists of the era,” will come back to Korea after three years to play his diverse repertoire from Bach French Suite No. 5 in G Major to Beethoven Sonata No. 27 in E minor, and Chopin’s Prelude, Mazurka and Scherzo.

The 64-year-old New Yorker rose to fame after winning the top prize in the prestigious Leeds International Piano Competition in 1972. He underwent surgery for a thumb injury in 1991 and 2006. The latter surgery forced him to cancel his scheduled tour to Seoul, but intensive rehab and practice let him return to the piano sooner than expected and he made it to Seoul in 2008.

Then Harvard University musicologist and engaging pianist Robert Levin will hit the Seoul stage on Nov. 21 and Nov. 23. During his last visit to Korea in 2007, the music historian-pianist gave a lecture on Mozart and improvisation at Seoul National University and it was hugely received by local classical music enthusiasts and performers. Inspired by this, Hoam Art Hall invited him for a recital entirely consisting of Mozart’s works in the following year.

This time Levin will perform not only Mozart but also Bach and Beethoven. On the first day of the concert, entitled All Bach, he will play Bach’s English Suite No. 2 in A minor BWV 807, four canons in the Art of Fugue, BWV 1080, and the Italian Concerto, BWV 971. Two days later, he will play four sonatas, two of Mozart and Beethoven each.

* Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra will perform at 8 p.m. on Nov. 15-16 at Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul and Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in central Seoul. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 450,000 won. For more information, visit www.kacf.net or call 02-6303-7700.

Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s concerts with Mischa Maisky and Evgeny Kissin, separately, will be held at 8 p.m. on Nov. 16-17 at Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul. Tickets for Maisky cost from 50,000 won to 250,000 won and those for Kissin from 70,000 won to 300,000 won. For more information, visit www.vincero.co.kr or call 02-599-5743.

Murray Perahia recital is scheduled at 2 p.m. on Oct. 29 at Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul. Tickets cost between 50,000 won and 150,000 won. For more information, visit www.credia.co.kr or call 02-318-4301.

Robert Levin recital will take place at 8 p.m. on Nov. 21 and Nov. 23 at Hoam Art Hall in central Seoul. For more information, visit www.hoamarthall.org or call 02-751-9607.

By Seo Ji-eun [spring@joongang.co.kr]
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