Peace Concert with Barenboim

8월 20, 2011 at 2:07 오후 , ,
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By Hellynn Jung

What do you get when you put together an idealistic musician alongside an orchestra consisting of members from rival nations, a massive outdoor performance venue along the borders of North and South Korea, and one of the biggest media facets in the country? An extraordinary message that resonates to be heard.

August 15, 2011 was more than just another ‘Red Day’, of which national holidays marked red on the calendar call for Koreans to rejoice a day off from their 9-7 jobs. The Peace Concert featuring Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra was held on Independence Day at a rather suggestive location: a venue with a capacity of approximately 10,000 — the Outdoor Performance Hall at Imjingak Pyeonghoa-Nuri. This venue is located along the DMZ border.

In order to further understand the significance of the location for this event, it is necessary to shift focus toward the fundamental principles of the orchestra founded by Edward Said and conductor/pianist, Daniel Barenboim. The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra is comprised of young musicians from Israel and Palestine as well as many other Arab nations coexisting in a harmonious group of talents. Its vision is to elicit peace through classical music where political tension lie between nations. This world-class workshop is recognized for several successful releases of CDs and DVDs on Warner Classics and EuroArts, not to mention various performances for important organizations such as the United Nations.

As a leader of these young humanitarians, it is no surprise that Barenboim is the official “Messenger of Peace” at the United Nations. This is just one of his many achievements; he has received countless prestigious titles such as Chief Conductor for Life, not to mention the Goethe Medal from the Goethe Institute. Internationally renown, Barenboim was titled Commandeur de la légion d’honneur by the French President Jacques Chirac and in Japan, given the Praemium Imperiale Award. Now, the second visit to this country, he has received the warmth and love of many peace advocates in Korea.

As author of the books Music Quickens Time and Parallels and Paradoxes: Explorations in Music and Society, Barenboim has also earned an Honorary Doctorate of Music degree from Oxford University, and numerous Grammy Awards for his recordings with top labels such as Deutsche Grammophon, Philips, Sony Classical (CBS Masterworks), and BMG, just to name a few.

This long list of achievements does not wholly define the very nature of his being, however. Yes, he has proved to be a great conductor and pianist. But his history of having worked hand in hand with several German orchestras as a Jew born during World War II, or cofounding the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra as an Israeli citizen with a Palestinian befittingly describe what he stands for: peace through the power of music.

Presently, the legendary musician is on tour with the orchestra, scheduled to perform the Beethoven Symphony Cycle in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. This performance took place at the Seoul Arts Center Concert Hall from August 10-13, where Beethoven’s 9 symphonies were performed.

Needless to say, Barenboim’s revisit to this country after nearly three decades is tied to the mission of promoting peace between North and South Korea, given its unsettling disputes throughout the past few years. Despite an intensive schedule, Barenboim enthusiastically agreed to an additional Peace Concert, due to the prospect of the impact it would have as it was held on Korea’s Independence Day along the borders of the segregated nations.

The concert was further strengthened by other famous talents: Mezzo Soprano Ah-Kyung Lee, Tenor Ji-Min Park, Bass Maurice Hamm, and the ever in-demand Soprano Sumi Jo.

It was quite opportune for Sumi Jo’s contribution to this concert as her title in UNESCO as “Artist for Peace” acceded the theme of that very night. Highly regarded for her beautiful voice and incredible range, Jo’s segment did not pale in comparison to Baremboim and the orchestra. This is rightfully so, for the singer is also a winner of many distinguished accolades, namely first prize in the Carlo Alberto Cappelli International Competition at Verona, and is often invited to perform at big events such as the World Cup.

Although it is rare for classical concerts to make its way onto the television, MBC, one of the largest broadcasting networks in South Korea televised the concert that same evening. The sufficient media attention toward this impactful event surely served as a facilitation of the message of peace to ring throughout the entire Korean peninsula this Independence Day.

Daniel Barenboim & West-Eastern Divan Orchestra Peace Concert Coverage from TJ Choe [CultureM] on Vimeo.

Behind Story of Editor in Chief
I called Barenboim as soon as I saw him on the rehearsal stage.
“Mr. Barenboim!”
He turned his head and looked at me.
“I just want to say hi to you”
I said.
He slightly smiled and approached to me. And he extended his hand for a handshake. It was a quite unexpected moment for me.
“I am very honored to be here today, Sir”
I said, again and he smiled gently, again.
I just met a classic music legend Master Barenboim and at the same time I met a very friendly next door gentleman Mr. Barenboim.
His modest action comes from where he is sure about what he is.
This is how i remember him.

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