Chung to perform with NK-French joint ensemble in Paris next month
By Do Je-hae
Conductor Chung Myung-whun announced plans to collaborate with musicians from North Korea in Paris in March.
“North Korea's Unhasu Orchestra and the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Brahms' symphony No. 1 together at the Salle Pleyel Theater in Paris on March 14 at the invitation of the French side," Chung said.
He said the decision was made during his meeting with North Korean musicians early this week on the sidelines of his Asian performance tour in Beijing.
The meeting, however, failed to arrange a much anticipated joint orchestra performance between the two Koreas, according to Chung who doubles as conductor of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.
During the meeting, the maestro said he proposed a joint performance between the Seoul metropolitan orchestra and the North's Unhasu, but Pyongyang turned down the proposal citing "frosty political relations" with the South.
Meanwhile, Chung has brought the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO) to Seoul this week, following performances in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing as part of the world-beating orchestra's Asian tour.
The collaboration of Chung and RCO is one of the most anticipated classical music events here, in an exciting season that will also include visits by the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, among other top ensembles.
"I have grown more fond of the ROC over the years. It's hard to remember the first time I conducted it, as it has been such a long time," Chung said at a press conference in Yeouido, Seoul. Chung has been leading the RCO’s Asian tour this month, instead of RCO music director Mariss Jansons of Latvia.
"The RCO is at the top of the field and it has a wonderful sound. But more importantly, it has a unique balance and harmony, giving them a warm and elegant sound," Chung said. "It is an orchestra that not just plays well, but an orchestra that plays wholeheartedly for the composer."
On Feb. 21, the Korean maestro was scheduled to lead a program of Kodaly’s “Dances of Galanta,” Mendelssohn’s violin concerto and “Concerto for Orchestra” by Bartok. Violinist Janine Jansen was the soloist in the Mendelssohn piece on Feb. 21 at the Seoul Arts Center.
This will be followed by another concert today with a program of the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 3 with the phenomenal young pianist Kim Sun-wook and the Brahms Symphony No. 2, a staple in the RCO’s repertoire.
The RCO has also collaborated with some Korean soloists, including violinists Chung Kyung-wha and Sarah Chang. Chung made a live recording of the Beethoven violin concerto with the RCO, under the direction of Klaus Tennstedt, in the late 1990s.
Fans can listen and order CDs by visiting the RCO Live Shop online at www.rcolive.com. Visitors to the site can also listen to concerts given by the orchestra on its own Web radio station, RCO Live Radio, and watch concert recordings and video commentary on RCO Live TV.