Chung Trio plays for late mom
By Do Je-hae
Mothers have played a deciding role in the development of prodigious musicians, like the members of the renowned Chung Trio.
For violinist Chung Kyung-wha, her late mother Lee Won-sook was her biggest mentor and source of encouragement.
Together with her pianist brother Chung Myung-whun and cellist sister Chung Myung-wha, the pioneering violinist played on the stage of the Grand Hall of Ewha Womans University Tuesday in a chamber music program to honor their late mother.
The world's largest female educational institution hosted the concert for Lee, who graduated from the school in 1939.
The program included pieces from Bach, Mozart, Rachmaninoff and Brahms.
"Bach's Air on a G String is the last piece I played for my father before he died. The E minor violin sonata by Mozart is a piece the composer wrote shortly after the death of his mother," Chung said.
This is the first time the trio has played in public here in seven years. In 2004, the Chung Trio held a five-city tour in Korea to celebrate their mother's 86th birthday.
The 1967 Leventritt Competition launched the international career of the violin virtuoso Chung. She wore a red dress made by her mother who passed away in May this year at the age of 93.
At that time, the Seattle-based Lee had come to New York to stay with Chung while her 19-year-old daughter prepared for the top U.S. violin competition. "She stayed with me for two weeks and we connected very deeply," Chung recalled during a press conference in November.
As laureate of the competition, she automatically had engagements with nine major U.S. orchestras and recitals across the U.S., embarking on what would become one of the most successful careers of all time for a female violinist.
"I believe that my talent was from God. But it was my mother who managed that talent," Chung said.
"Our school has a very special relationship with the Chung Trio," Kim Sun-uk, president of Ewha Womans University said during the opening remarks of the concert. "Lee was the first recipient of the Proud Ewha People award in 1995 for her devotion to young classical musicians."
Before leaving for the U.S. for professional music training, the Chung Trio held a concert at Ewha Womans University in 1958. It was the only venue in Korea at the time that had the capacity to hold large concerts. The school became the first institution of higher education in Korea to create a music department in 1925.
Chung Kyung-wha is to hold a recital on Dec. 26 in Seoul, her first in nine years, after overcoming a career-threatening finger injury. She also announced recording plans that include solo music for violin by Bach and the entire sonata cycle of Mozart for piano and violin.