Byung-Yun Yu and Mami Shikimori at St. John’s Smith Square


My last visit to ST. JOHN’S was many years ago.
I was looking forward to it as the Thames Philharmonic-conducted by BYUNG-YUN YU and soloist MAMI SHIKIMORI-were performing.
It was also my first opportunity to listen to the orchestra.
Let me introduce the resident conductor of nine years-BYUNG-YUN YU.
He was born in South Korea and studied violin, piano, composition and conducting there.
In 1985 he was awarded a gold medal in the Korean National Conducting Competition.
In 1992 he came to England, and furthered his studies in violin and conducting, graduating from the London College of Music and Kingston University.
Among his mentors is Sir Colin Davis.
Previous conducting engagements have included the London College of Music Chamber Orchestra and even as far afield with the Karnata Symphony Orchestra in India.
Prior to the commencement of this concert at ST. JOHN’S I was able to meet BYUNG-YUN YU.
His persona gave me the impression that he is lively, agreeable and down to earth.
His performance was full of enthusiasm and energy and he seemed to be completely absorbed by the music he was conducting.
He certainly looked as if he was having fun and enjoying himself.
I mentioned this to one of the orchestra members and she wholeheartedly agreed with me that he was the spark that ignited their performances and developed their skills.
MAMI SHIKIMORI is delightful and was able to spare a few moments of her time after the concert.
She really is a talented and skilful pianist who gave an engaging performance of the Beethovan Piano Concerto No. 5 in E Flat Major, Op.73-The Emperor.
She was born in Japan and received her early piano tuition there.
In 1993 she won a scholarship to the Purcell School of Music in London.
Her studies continued at the Royal College of Music where she graduated after gaining the highest distinction of all the students graduating in 1995.
MAMI has also received numerous awards.
This was followed by being awarded a full scholarship to attend the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California.
She continues to perform in Japan and England.
Her previous performances have been in New York (Carnegie Hall) and in Italy.
I enjoyed the concert.
The orchestra, conductor (BYUNG-YUN YU) and solo artist (MAMI SHIKIMORI) need more exposure at progressively suitable venues when more performing experience can be gained.

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