World-renowned orchestras enchant classical music fans in Seoul this fall

2023.08.21 11:46:02 | 2023.08.21 13:49:41

Pianist Cho Seong-jin. [Courtesy of Universal Music]이미지 확대

Pianist Cho Seong-jin. [Courtesy of Universal Music]



A slew of international orchestras are set to perform in Seoul this fall, highlighting the growing prominence of the South Korean classical music industry.

The Berlin Philharmonic will collaborate with star pianist Cho Seong-jin and the Munich Philharmonic with pianist Lim Yun-chan in November. Both of the young pianists will be playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4.

The Berlin Philharmonic is scheduled to perform on November 11 and 12 at the Seoul Arts Center. Renowned for its collaborations with esteemed maestros such as Wilhelm Furtwangler, Herbert von Karajan, and Simon Rattle since its founding in 1882, the orchestra has curated a daring program for the Seoul performance, encompassing works by Haydn, Brahms, and Strauss, conducted by maestro Kirill Petrenko.

The collaboration with Cho is scheduled for the 12th, and booking will open in early September.

Later in the same month, the Munich Philharmonic will perform in Seoul. Emerging star Lim is set to join conductor Chung Myung-whun at the Seoul Arts Center Concert Hall on November 26, followed by a performance at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts on November 29.

Violinist Clara-Jumi Kang will also collaborate with the orchestra at the Seoul Arts Center on November 30.

In particular, the orchestra will present an “all-Beethoven” program, featuring Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 for the performance on the 29th, for which tickets have already been sold out, including the highest-priced seats priced at 330,000 won ($246).

The Dutch Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO) will perform Liszt‘s Piano Concerto No. 2, with pianist Yefim Bronfman, in Seoul on November 11.

In addition, the Vienna Philharmonic, recognized as one of the world’s top three orchestras alongside the Berlin Philharmonic and RCO, is also coming to Seoul on November 6 and 8, with Ossetian conductor Tugan Sokhiev. The Vienna Philharmonic will share the stage with Chinese pianist Lang Lang.

The London Philharmonic and the Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich are also set to perform in Seoul.

The London Philharmonic is scheduled to perform from October 5 to 7, with the Seoul performance taking place on the 7th.

Celebrating its 10th appearance on the Seoul stage within four years, the orchestra will present Brahms Symphony No. 1. Accompanying them, German violinist Christian Tetzlaff will perform the Brahms Violin Concerto.

The Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra is making its return to Korea for the first time in five years.

Esteemed Estonian conductor Paavo Jarvi is returning for the second consecutive year, following last year, to lead a collaboration on the Nielsen Violin Concerto featuring Korean violinist Kim Bomsori.

Conductor Klaus Makela. [Courtesy of Oslo Philharmonic]이미지 확대

Conductor Klaus Makela. [Courtesy of Oslo Philharmonic]



There are some star conductors visiting Seoul for the first time.

Conductor Klaus Makela will lead the Oslo Philharmonic to the stage in Seoul after 27 years since the Norwegian orchestra’s last visit.

Makela is 27 years old but he has already stood at the podium of some of Europe’s top orchestras. He is currently the chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic and the artistic director of the Orchestre de Paris, and has been nominated to be the principal conductor of the RCO, a position he will take over in 2027.

The Oslo Philharmonic will perform pieces by Sibelius, a representative Finnish composer. The orchestra is scheduled to perform at the Goyang Aram Nuri Arts Center on October 28 and at the Lotte Concert Hall on October 30. Violinist Janine Jansen will also be performing.

Andris Nelsons, a three-time Grammy Award winner for Best Orchestral Performance, is also visiting Seoul for the first time with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra (LGO).

The LGO is the world’s oldest private orchestra with a history of 280 years, and composer Mendelssohn was the music director of the orchestra in 1835. The LGO will perform pieces by Mendelssohn, Wagner, Bruckner, and more on November 15 and 16. A collaboration on Schumann’s Piano Concerto is also scheduled with pianist Cho on the 15th.

On October 24, Semyon Bychkov will conduct the Czech Philharmonic for the first time. The program will be focused on the Czech composer Dvorak.

Given that the composer conducted his own works at the Czech Philharmonic’s inaugural concert in 1896, the program represents the orchestra’s long history and identity. Japanese pianist Mao Fujita will be on stage.

By Chung Joo-won and Chang Iou-chung

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