The London-based Philharmonia Orchestra will perform under the baton of U.S. conductor Lorin Maazel, above, at the Seoul Arts Center in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul, this weekend, with a program centered on the symphonies by Austrian composer Gustav Mahler. / Courtesy of Mastmedia
By Do Je-hae
U.S. conductor Lorin Maazel, who is leading the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Far East tour, will bring the London-based orchestra to Seoul for two concerts on April 7 and 8, with a highly-anticipated Mahler program.
A common trait among great conductors of the past and present has been a deep affection for the music of the master symphonist Gustav Mahler (1860 ― 1911) and Maazel is no exception.
Top maestros of our time, such as Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Chailly, Mariss Jansons, Riccardo Muti, have also continued to express their absolute fascination with the Austrian composer and conductor that redefined the symphony in the 20th century.
“The last time Maestro Maazel brought this orchestra here was in 1994. Together, they embarked on a Mahler symphony cycle in 2010, to mark the 100th year of Mahler’s death,” Oh Chae-eun, an official with Mastmedia said. “For local Mahler fans, the upcoming concerts will be a rare opportunity to hear Maazel’s interpretation of the Austrian master’s symphonies live.”
A late-Romantic Austrian composer and one of the leading conductors of his generation, Mahler was a bridge between the 19th century Austro-German tradition and the modernism of the early 20th century.
Maazel’s collaboration with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London last summer in the performances of 10 Mahler symphonies was critically acclaimed. In Seoul, they will play Symphonies 1 and 5, alongside a Mozart work at the Seoul Arts Center. Korean-American violinist Esther Yoo will play with the orchestra to perform Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major.
Maazel has close ties with Korea and its artists, as he has been a mentor for cellist-conductor Chang Han-na in her conducting studies.
In 2001, Maazel succeeded Kurt Masur to lead the New York Philharmonic and took the top U.S. ensemble to Pyongyang, North Korea on Feb. 26, 2008 for a landmark peace concert. Maazel stepped down from the New York Philharmonic after the 2008-2009 season.
In March 2010, he was named the next chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra.
Born in 1920, Maazel is one of the most important conductors of our time. The former music director of the New York Philharmonic is also a violinist and composer.
He has worked with the world’s renowned orchestras over the course of his career that spans more than 50 years.
In 1960, Maazel became the first American to conduct at Bayreuth. He was chief conductor of the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 1965 to 1971 and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1965 to 1975. In 1972, Maazel began his tenure as music director at the Cleveland Orchestra, succeeding George Szell.
The Philharmonia Orchestra is one of the leading orchestras in Great Britain, based at the Royal Festival Hall.
Esa-Pekka Salonen, formerly with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, has been the orchestra's principal conductor and artistic advisor since 2008. The Philharmonia is one of the most recorded orchestras in the world, with over 1,000 recordings.