In April, artists of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, including Wu Han, traveled to Korea for the second annual residency initiative at the LG Chamber Music School, a series of intensive training workshops for highly gifted young musicians sponsored by the LG Corporation. The objective of the program is to enhance the quality of chamber music performance in Korea, and to increase awareness of chamber music as a powerfully communicative art form. Joined by Wu Han were violinist Ani Kavafian, violist Paul Neubauer, and cellist Andrés Díaz.
in Wu Han’s words…
Last month, my colleagues and I spent over two weeks in the Far East on behalf of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
The first stop was Seoul, where the second annual LG Chamber Music School was taking place.
Founded through the generous support of the LG Corporation, the school is an immensely inspiring project for many reasons. The first is the importance of celebrating chamber music in the Far East, where the art form is still not universally appreciated and valued, especially within the education system. Chamber music training is essential to building the complete musician, because to be a good chamber musician, you need to understand the full score, not just your solo parts. You need to have the skills to play a melody as beautifully as a solo, and play accompaniments as imaginatively and supportively as possible. You need to make constructive suggestions and be an inspiring force as a leader, as well as being part of a team.
The LG Chamber Music School is the first of its kind that I’m aware of in the Far East. It is extraordinarily exciting to witness the vast improvements that the students have already made from the first year to the second. Suddenly, they are studying the score rigorously, they know how to give a wonderful cue, to look at each other, and where in the phrase to build to the same climax together. We must continue to feed their hunger for chamber music, and in 10 years, I’m sure that we will see a significant impact in Korea’s culture and in the musicians’ lives. I only wish there were more people like the team in Korea, and more corporations like LG who would devote their energy and resources into improving the cultural life of their society, and I hope our work with this school will resonate with the rest of the musical community there. It’s worth the entire trip just to see the bright shining eyes of the young students, to see the tearful farewells, and to witness the two incredibly successful concerts that happened in the LG Center.
On our way back to the United States, we stopped at the ms Amsterdam, a Holland American Cruise Ship, to play a concert in Yokohama, Japan.
The stop took us less than 24 hours, and even this short time was worth it to hear my colleagues Ani and Paul play the virtuosic violin and viola repertoire and see the standing ovation from the audience.
The boat did not sail, and I was secretly happy, because I was able to avoid learning what seasickness is about. I guess I’ll find out on my Greece cruise in June with the Chamber Music Society!
One of the student groups in rehearsal.