Shining K-Classics Concert: Touching Memories

On the 31st July, I recently attended the ‘Shining K-Classics’ concert which was held with Grammy-award winning soprano Sumi Jo, internationally acclaimed violinist Sarah Chang and the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Leif Segerstam at the Royal Fetival Hall, Southbank Centre. There are two reasons that I decided to go: (1) I love classical music performance and (2) I have interest in Korean arts, music, and culture. Thus, I decided to buy a ticket and enjoy some classic music. The 120 minute performance features both classic and modern music which audiences from all ages, including children, loved them. The last time I heard from my friend, which rings a bell, that Sumi Jo used to be the cameo for Dream High 1. Do you remember when Suzy sings together with Sumi Jo at the very first episode of this drama? Well, I do. To me, this is the first time that I watched a classical music performance which features Korean classic music performers. They are accompanied by one of the world’s greatest orchestras, the Philhamonia, conducted by Leif Segerstam.

Programme (note that the YouTube videos are from their previous performances):
• Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Fantasy Overture, Romeo & Juliet (vers. standard, 1880)
• Max Bruch: Finale (Allefro energico – Presto) from Violin Concerto No.1 in G Minor [Sarah Chang]

• Jean Sibelius: Valse Triste
• Adolphe Adam: Variations on ‘Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman’ from Le toreador [Sumi Jo]
• Eva Dell’Acqua: Villanelle [Sumi Jo]

• Giuseppe Verdi: Overture, La Forza del destino
• Giuseppe Verdi: ‘Caro nome’ from Rigoletto [Sumi Jo]
• Traditional: Arirang arr. Junjoon Ahn [Sumi Jo]
• Leonard Bernstein: West Side Story Suite arr. Newman for violin & orchestra [Sarah Chang]
• Jacques Offenbach: ‘Can-Can’ from Orpheus in the Underworld
• Jacques Offenbach : ‘Les oiseaux dans la charmille’ (Doll’s song) from The Tales of Hoffmann [Sumi Jo]
• 2 encore performances

Did I enjoy it? Yes, I do. From the beginning to the very end, I love it. I remember the time when I tried to hold back my tears was when Sumi Jo sang ‘Arirang’. That brought me to tears as I not only I enjoyed it, but I think back about my home where I missed my friends and family a lot. The music just pierced my heart in a good way. Sumi Jo has the way to bring her voice to the crowd who love it. It is her singing voice which I admired and was amazed that she can sing to the highest pitch as there is no problem with her at all. I felt the sense of connection with her singing voice. Even though I don’t understand the words, but the quality of the music and voice itself touches my heart. I laughed and enjoyed while she sang the ‘Doll’s Song’. It’s quite enjoyable to see when she pretended to be the doll and the Leifman needs to crank her up to continue her singing which is one entertaining element to it. In her encore performance, she sang the song as she hopes that Korea of both North and South can be reunited.

Another heroine, Sarah Chang, is at the stage to showcase her violin skills. Like Sumi Jo, she is having fun with not only the music but making the audiences. Unlike other violinists, she has the confidence and continuously played the violin with positive attitude. While I was closing my eyes and listening to it, my mind just went with the flow with the sweet sound from the violin which Sarah holds. So far, she’s is one of my favourite violinists followed by Vanessa Mae. ‘West Side Story’ and the encore tango song are my favourites from her performances. Not only I remember listening to these songs before, but it’s because the quality of the songs, accompanied by Philharmonia, is perfect with clarity and emotions.

Philharmonia, which was conducted by Leif Segerstam, also shines give great songs which we loved. While they perform the song ‘Can-Can’, the audiences clapped along while enjoyed listening to their favourite song. Throughout each and every song, the audiences cheered and applauded for heart-piercing and breathtaking performances. Until the very end of the performance, the audiences, including myself, stood up, applaud and cheer for Sumi Jo, Sarah Chang, and the Philharmonia orchestra.

All I can say is this. It’s worth the money to watch it. It’s a once in a lifetime which is memorable to me. If they come again to perform yet another classic music performance, I would definitely want to come and enjoy it. You guys should bring your friends and family too if the next one comes.

You can check out about Sarah Chang and Sumi Jo’s profile.
Sumi Jo: http://josumi.com/
Sarah Chang: http://sarahchang.com/

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