Orchestra hopes to link North, South with music

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Orchestra hopes to link North, South with music


The Lindenbaum Festival Orchestra has held two to three concerts since it was established in 2009 but has effectively been on a hiatus for the past couple of years, waiting to hold a concert composed of young musicians from North and South Korea.

“The fate of the orchestra is highly affected by the relationship between North and South Korea,” said violinist Won Hyung-joon, the orchestra’s executive director.

Won has been invited to play a violin solo on Sunday at the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art in Yongsan District, an event to accompany the current “Beyond and Between” exhibition that celebrates the museum’s 10th anniversary.

The concert starts at 4:30 p.m.

Won’s efforts to go “beyond and between” the divided North and South through music, according to the Leeum, is the reason behind inviting him. Won will play Bach’s “Chaconne” and the traditional folk piece “Arirang.”

Since there’s no solo violin music score for “Arirang,” Won said he especially requested a composition and will perform the piece as a duet with a violist.

“Music is a means of expression that began with the history of humankind,” said Won. “Through music, the performer and the audience can go ‘beyond and between’ different cultures and share emotions and form harmony.”

Won says the same formula will apply when the orchestra’s vision becomes a reality.

“Through rehearsing and performing together, young musicians from North and South Korea will be able to realize that they can form harmony and gain hope that we can achieve reunification,” said Won. “The audience of their concert will also feel the same.”

Although people around him said it was “an impossible dream,” Won pushed ahead with it and was able to invite maestro Charles Dutoit, along with 13 world-renowned principal performers from around the world who shared the same vision, to be a part of Lindenbaum.

Together with 100 young South Korean musicians, the orchestra held two premier concerts in Seoul.

For the past five years, Won has been knocking on doors trying to realize this vision. On Aug. 15, 2011, or National Independence Day, a joint North and South Korean orchestra was scheduled to perform in Pyongyang. But because of the strained relationship between the nations, the event got canceled.

Won says he doesn’t let it get him down, however.

“Although the plan gets foundered in the final steps all the time, I always see another door open,” said Won. “It may end up as another failure, but I’ll continue until it’s realized.”


BY YIM SEUNG-HYE [sharon@joongang.co.kr]

Won Hyung-joon



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