A Vivid Night of Classic in Sydney
A Vivid Night of Classic in Sydney
  • Yi Sohn Joonyoung
  • 승인 2012.09.06 10:28
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On the 8th of August, the Sookmyung Philharmonic Orchestra and a number of professors of SMU performed a concert at the Sydney Opera ouse in celebration of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Australia, this year being its 51st anniversary.  The concert also held great value because it was the first time ever for a single Korean university to host a performance at the  Sydney Opera House.
This event has been planned and prepared for since last year as Lee Saewoong, current chairman of Seoul Cyber University, had agreed to financially aid the concert.  Also, with the support of the Australian Embassy, the Sydney Cultural Center and the Korean Daily Hoju Dong-A, the actual groundwork commenced.  Professor Hong Jonghwa of Sookmyung Women’s University took charge of the location rent, while the embassy and cultural center helped with the ticketing and other responsibilities.  Reservations started a month before the performance.  Although the tickets were free, since it wasn’t a professional orchestra that was to play, there were speculations on whether they would be able to sell all the tickets.  However, contrary to the worries, all 2,600 tickets were sold out within two days and 4,000 people in total requested tickets.  In the end, 2,600 tickets were given out by order of arrival and as a result, around 1,600 Koreans and 1,000 Australians attended the event.
The performers of the concert included of the Sookmyung Philharmonic Orchestra members, Sookmyung University’s professors, and two affiliates from outside of Sookmyung.  One was Go Mihyeon, a sopranist and alumnae of SMU, and the other was Australian tenor James Egglestone who had a past experience of performing at the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic tie between Australia and South Korea.  Eighty outstanding members of the orchestra were selected by numerous thorough auditions.  Professor Kim Sungeun (viola), Kim Woonsung (trombone), Lee Hyejeon (piano), Hong Jonghwa (violin) and Kim Kyunghee, the first ever Korean female conductor, among others, also worked in collaboration with the orchestra. 
On the day of the event, several important people were present at the Sydney Opera House.  Kim Jinsu, the consul general of Australia, Lee Saewoong and Kim Sangryul, the director of the Sookmyung International Cooperation Administration attended the concert as organizers of the event.  Other invitees such as Noel Campbell, Chief of Staff in the New South Wales governor’s office, Michael Ebeid, Managing Director of Australia SBS (note: this is an Australian media outlet and is unrelated to the Korean SBS), were present as well.
Under the theme “A Vivid Night of Classic,” the concert was held in two parts.  A total of six pieces
were played: Suddi, Verdi, Mendelssohn, Puccini, Rimsky-Korsakw, Offenbach, and Arirang as the last encore song. Arirang showed off the strongest Korean color, and thus received by far the largest applause and cheers.  Steven Burns, International Development manager at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, said, “I particularly enjoyed Arirang.  I have previously heard Korean music played on traditional instruments, but this was the first time I have heard a Korean piece arranged and performed by a full orchestra - delightful! It is important that overseas audiences get an opportunity to hear music of South Korea.  For me, this was the highlight of my evening.”  A Korean in the audience, Woo Kyungsoo spoke her deep thoughts about the performance. “This is my 14th year living in Sydney.   When I heard the melodies of Arirang fill the whole concert hall, I was crying before I knew it.  The performance moved my heart, and this was what made it memorable.”  The concert was a huge success, and the performers were stunned as well.  A member of the Sookmyung Philharmonic Orchestra, Park Jiyoung, Department of Instruments ’08, said “I was nervous at first, but because we were playing alongside with our reliable professors, I felt confident.  Performing at an internationally famous concert hall was a valuable experience to me.”  The school dean Kim Sunghee said, “This concert was a chance to show the quality of a Korean university orchestra.  It may have planted thoughts amongst some Australians who want to study music in Korea. Overall, performing at a globally renowned venue is any musician’s dream, and it has come true.”  “A Vivid Night of Classic” brought together the Koreans and Australians in a mere two hours.  Marie Bashir, the governor of New South Wales expressed her wishes for both countries to continue an active culture exchange in the future through this concert.  Sponsored by the Korean Daily Hoju Dong-A, a program called “Australia Dream Tree” is being planned.  Through auditions, Australian students will be selected to participate in the Sookmyung Women’s University’s regularly held concert.  These students will be staying at SMU for 7 days and will receive lessons from SMU’s professors.  The performance last August had the value of not only presenting to the world Sookmyung’s musical talents, but also it formed a stronger relationship with Australia.

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