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Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Korea’s got talent

Elisabeth Competition
Centre: Composer Cho Eun-hwa, winner of the 2008 competition; outside, clockwise from top left, Kim Suyoen, Yoon Soyoung, Choi Ye-eun, Park Ji-yoon – finalists in the 2009 violin competition. Photos courtesy Queen Elisabeth Competition

While Britons were focused on their own domestic talent competition last week, Korea was demonstrating the depth of its classical music talent at the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition in Brussels. The venue was the Palais des Beaux Arts, where earlier this year the Smile of Buddha exhibition was held.

The Queen Elisabeth competition traces its history back to 1937, when it was known as the Eugene Ysaye Competition. And reflecting the instrument of its founder, the competition majors in the violin, but also includes awards for singing, piano and composition.

Of the 12 violin finalists, four were Koreans. The highest placed was Kim Suyoen (4th) with Yoon Soyoung (6th), the other Korean finalists being Choi Ye-eun and Park Ji-yoon.

All 12 finalists had to perform a work by Korean composer Cho Eun-hwa, who was awarded the Grand Prize for Composition at the same competition in 2008. The work is Agens for violin and orchestra.

Cho, from Busan, studied in Seoul and Berlin, and in 2002 she won the Hans Eisler Prize for composition at the Hochschule fur Musik, Berlin.

You can catch all the performances of the finalists on video until the middle of September, or purchase a CD box set of the highlights

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