German Orchestra's Korean Leader to Give Recitals in Seoul

  • By Kim Sung-hyun

    November 22, 2022 12:19

    Korean violinist Lee Ji-yoon is holding recitals in Seoul next week for the first time since she became one of the principal violinists for German orchestra Staatskapelle Berlin.
    The Staatskapelle was founded in 1570 and ranks among the top smaller philharmonic ensembles in Germany, giving around 180 performances a year. The 30-year-old acts as concertmaster in about 60 of them.
    The orchestra has three concertmasters and Lee is the youngest.
    Lee Ji-yoon
    Born in Seoul, Lee attended Korea National University of Arts and won the Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition in 2016. She also studied at Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin. "When I was young, I studied music thinking that being a soloist is everything. But since I was exposed to a variety of performances in Berlin, which is a center of opera and orchestral life, I realized that it's not everything but a part of something bigger," she said.
    German orchestras are often run by the state and musicians have a status similar to civil servants. Lee joined the orchestra in 2017 and got lifetime tenure the following year.
    More and more female Korean musicians are becoming concertmasters in Europe, including Kim Su-yoen at the Konzerthausorchester Berlin and Park Ji-yoon at the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. "We are witnessing an era where external factors such as being an Asian or a woman are no longer obstacles. What matters is whether you can overcome cultural and language barriers," Lee said.
    "If being a violin soloist involves listening to my music, being a concertmaster involves listening to the sounds of other orchestra members," she said.
    She will give two recitals in Seoul of works by Johannes Brahms, at Lotte Concert Hall on Nov. 28 and Seoul Arts Center on Nov. 30.
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