Get totally immersed in Unsuk Chin this Saturday

Unsuk Chin
Unsuk Chin (photo credit: Eric Richmond / Philharmonia Orchestra)

Promenaders who were bowled over by Unsuk Chin’s Cello concerto in the Albert Hall in 2009 might be planning on a trip to the Edinburgh Festival to hear Šu, her new concerto for Sheng, a 17-pipe traditional Chinese mouth organ, to be performed by the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra with Chung Myung-whun at the helm. There’s the added attraction of Messiaen’s Les offrandes oubliées and Tchaikovsky 6 to entice you to Scotland’s highly appealing capital.

But if you can’t wait till August, you can catch the UK premiere of Šu this Saturday 9 April at the Barbican, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ilan Volkov – who directed the stunning performance of the Cello Concerto at the Proms.

Not only that, you can hear a performance of her violin concerto, the work which won her the Grawemeyer prize in 2004 – a kind of Nobel prize for classical musicians.

And as if that’s not enough, you can spend the whole day listening to live performances of her music, and listening to talks about her work, at the Barbican and the adjacent Guildhall School of Music and Drama. This is an unrepeatable experience.

Unsuk Chin, whom Simon Rattle has noted as “one of the five people to lead the orchestra into the 21st century”, was born in Seoul in 1961. Apart from her work with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, her music is performed by the London Sinfonietta. She is also Artistic Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Music of Today series, from the 2011-12 season.

Book soon. Space in the stalls is limited, because the stage is having to be extended to accommodate an expanded orchestra. Expect some astounding sounds. According to the Grawemeyer website, her violin concerto is “a synthesis of glittering orchestration, rarefied sonorities, volatility of expression, musical puzzles and unexpected turns.” A rewarding day is in store, starting at 11am in the Guildhall School and finishing with the huge orchestral concert in the evening, with plenty of other music in between. Full programme details on the Barbican website.

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(automatically generated) Read LKL’s review of this event here.

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