Korean pianist Cho Seong-jin (front, left) and Sir Simon Rattle, the music director of the London Symphony Orchestra, greet the audience with the London Symphony Orchestra on Thursday at LG Arts Center in Magok, Seoul. (LG Art Center)
Moving to western Seoul after 22 years in the affluent Gangnam district, LG Arts Center made a grand reopening on Thursday at its new Magok venue with a special concert by the London Symphony Orchestra, led by Simon Rattle, with Korean pianist Cho Seong-jin.
Cho, the first Korean to win first prize at the International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 2015, took the stage with the maestro and orchestra for the audience who filled the 1,335-seat multipurpose LG Signature Hall to perform Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43.”
It came after the orchestra performed Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde — Prelude & Liebestod” as the very first performance at the complex.
Cho passed the stage to Rattle after playing Chopin’s Etude Op. 10, No. 12 (Revolutionary) as the encore.
After the intermission, LSO came back with Sibelius’ “Symphony No. 7 in C Major, Op. 105” and Ravel’s “La Valse — Poeme Choregraphique Pour Orchestre, M. 72.”
The concert wrapped up with an encore of Stravinsky’s “The Firebird,” and a standing ovation that lasted several minutes.
Among those in the audience were Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong and his mother, Hong Ra-hee, South Korea’s richest woman.
To commemorate the reopening of the art center, designed by celebrated Japanese architect Tadao Ando, a two-month festival will be held from Saturday to Dec. 18, during which 14 concerts and performances will be staged. The festival will feature a mix of classical and popular performances by local and international artists.
Highlights of the festival include performances by pianist Sunwoo Yekwon, violinist Clara Jumi Kang, traditional Korean music-inspired band Leenalchi, French dancer Yoann Bourgeois and the Al Di Meola Jazz Trio with guest guitarist Park Joo-won, among others.
The new center is located in Magok-dong, Gangseo-gu, an area that is part of an urban development project and also where LG Group’s R&D complex LG Science Park is located. The arts center in Magok was constructed as part of an LG corporate social responsibility initiative and was donated to the Seoul Metropolitan Government. After the donation, LG’s nonprofit organization, the LG Yonam Cultural Foundation, was given the rights to operate the arts complex for the next 20 years.
By Park Ga-young ([email protected])