We have Korean customers, maybe 80 or so. All of them keen golfers and nice people. Thus, I sometimes get invited to join them with other activities than golf. Whenever the Korean Embassy hosts a concert, I am asked to come along, too.

On Tuesday, the new Embassador introduced himself to the public on the occasion of 70 years of Korean Independence with a concert by the Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra in the Philharmonie Berlin.

My sweetheart hesitantly agreed to come along and in the end enjoyed the experience, too. Although classical music is not his cup of tea. I loved it, though. It is so very enjoyable to be able to watch music being made.

The conductress was very impressive. Mrs. Shyeon Sung, the musical director of the Gyeonggi Philharmonics, is a petite, young woman with earnestness, heart and drive, making the evening special for me. She had the huge body of musicians on her tiny fingertips, gesturing them into loud explosions of sound or hush them into almost complete silence at the slight, calming move of her palm, the other hand showing the kettledrummer, when exactly to play his last, muted beat. There must be vast quantities of energy in this woman, watching the verve with which she made the full orchestra hammering out Tschaikowsky’s 5. Synfonie, at times almost jumping up and down on her podium. I also like the fact, that her orchestra featured a minimum of 50% female musicians, a stark contrast to many an orchestra I have seen.

But most impressive was the opening music, a premier of music written by Heera Kim, who was also present that evening, called Namok. When I first listened to it, I didn’t have any information and I thought that the music was maybe composed to mark the occasion, describing the battle for independence. My sweetheart guessed, that it might be the soundtrack to an old, black and white movie. A friend of ours said, it reminded him of Mogli, Balu and the Jungle Book. In fact, as it turned out, the music is based on a novel about a bare branched tree. On hindsight, the music spoke of loneliness, despair and the force of the elements. I loved it, many others found it difficult to listen to. Given, one would not play Namok in the car or to relax, but it was a great experience watching this sounds being produced.

shiyeon Sung

Mrs. Shiyeon Sung