BBC Symphony Orchestra, July 2018, at Tate Modern. Photo by Sim Canetty-Clarke

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Happy New Year!

Photo by Ranko Djurovic*

Faces of Classical Music
wish you a
Happy New Year!

* Photo by Ranko Djurovic, National Awards, Winner, Serbia, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

An unforgettable Christmas: Johann Sebastian Bach, Gustaf Nordqvist, Engelbert Humperdinck, Franz Schubert, Martin Luther, Irving Berlin, Kalle Moraeus, Nino Rota, Emmy Kohler, Leroy Anderson, Lars-Erik Larsson – Sara Trobäck, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra's Brass Ensemble, Tomas von Brömssen (HD 4K)

Musicians from the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra play atmospheric Christmas music with actor Tomas von Brömssen as guide.

Immortal music that is recycled in Sweden every Christmas: Schubert's "Military March", "White Christmas", "Christmas, Christmas, glorious Christmas" and many more. Melodies we long for. There will also be a short surprise with an accordion by the campfire.

Tomas von Brömssen looks forward to the coming holiday: Christmas as an oasis in the winter darkness with bells, mulled wine and the delicious food. And music that gives that extra shine to the Christmas atmosphere from the musicians' brass instruments. Share the experience with us! Presented in Swedish.

Recorded at Gothenburg Concert Hall, in December 2020.

An unforgettable Christmas

Johann Sebastian Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No.3 in G major, BWV 1048, i. Allegro
Gustaf Nordqvist: Jul, jul, strålande jul (Christmas, Christmas, Glorious Christmas)
Engelbert Humperdinck: Abendsegen from "Hänsel und Gretel"
Franz Schubert: Marche Militaire, Op.51 No.1
Martin Luther: Away in a Manger
Irving Berlin: White Christmas
Kalle Moraeus: Koppången
Nino Rota: Theme for Federico Fellini's film "La Strada"
Emmy Kohler: Now Shine a Thousand Candles Bright
Leroy Anderson: Sleigh Ride
Lars-Erik Larsson: Winter's Tale, Op.18, iv. Epilogue

Sara Trobäck, violin

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra's Brass Ensemble

Tomas von Brömssen, actor 

(HD 4K / 2160p)

See also

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Your Name Engraved Herein (2020) – A film by Kuang Hui Liu – Edward Chen, Jing Hua Tseng, Fabio Grangeon, David Hao-Chi Chiu, Leon Dai, Jason Wang, Jean-François Blanchard (Download the movie)

Based on real events, "Your Name Engraved Herein" depicts a love story that starts in 1987 between two high school students in Taiwan. One tries to confess his sexuality to his priest, but receives no blessing. The other hides his feelings and eventually settles down with a woman. The story then jumps 20 years forward, to Canada, where a quiet revolution is underway and the two lovers can finally reveal their true feelings.

"Call Me by Your Name" (2017) meets "Maurice" (1987). "Your Name Engraved Herein" resonates the rites of passage of LGBTQ rights in Taiwan.

The Taiwanese LGTB love drama "Your Name Engraved Herein" opens with the popular quotation from The Song of Solomon 8:7 about the power of love that can neither be quenched by water, nor drowned by the floods: "If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, his offer would be viewed with utter contempt". And the religious reference is in its right place as an introduction to the interesting chapter of the Taiwanese (relatively recent) history marked by political changes, which was at the same time stuck in stubborn conservatism.

One of the titular characters – Chang A-Han (Edward Chen), a young student with a despotic father and a strict Catholic upbringing, is faced with many challenges. It's 1987, shortly after the Martial Law in Taiwan was being lifted, and the wind of change is still blowing very mild over the society. A-Han gets scorned at home for his dream of becoming a musician, and for having chosen the social studies major "which is for losers" over the practicality of science. The young man is not treated with contempt only at home, his confidante Father Oliver (Fabio Grangeon) has difficulties in accepting A-Han's confessed homosexuality, trying to convince him about the wrongness of the same-sex love. On the other hand, the Canadian expat who came to China many years ago is at least willing to listen, and his role becomes the one of a psychiatrist, and less of a priest.

The conversations between the two are shot in close-ups by the director of photography Hung-I Yao (the man behind Bi Gan's mesmerizingly beautiful Cannes Un certain Regard contender "Long Day's Journey Into Night", 2018) in warm yellow tones that bring the emotions surrounding the right to love and being loved closer to the viewer. It's the power of semi-profile that does it, and the two men gazing at the distance, like digging precious pieces of memory from the hidden corners of subconsciousness. Father Oliver's words sound less and less convincing, as it becomes apparent that there is more to his immigration to China than he wants to admit. Was he also close to abandon his religious beliefs, is the question that comes to mind after carefully listening to everything he has to say about love and passion. Grangeon's performance is gripping, and he carries the film as much as the two leads.

After the major political change, the military influence in Taiwan is still palpable and the life in the Catholic school that A-Han is attending is almost the same as it was before – coloured by masculine discipline. Always observed, a group of youngsters including a gang of bullies, is trying to flee their dormitories at night to meet girls for stolen carnal moments or to buy snacks and booze. If caught, they have to deal with physical punishment.

Under such circumstances, A-Han meets the love of his life, a dreamy introvert Birdy Wang (Jing-Hua Tseng) during the swim training at school, and it's the immediate, mutual attraction whose nature will unfold slowly. "Your Name Engraved Herein" doesn't unfold as a typical "stepping out of a closet" narrative, and the sheer sexuality is never a topic. It's the emotional suit that interests the director Kuang-Hui Liu, who's concentrating on the difficult circumstances under which people were discovering their socially unacceptable love interests.

The way Kuang-Hui Liu is bonding Birdy and A-Han in the script co-penned with Jie Zhan and Alcatel Wu is thoughtful and time-faithful. Bravery gets shied away by the fear of social rejection, emotions get replaced by the practicality of the correct social behavior. At the same time, the film is a great homage to the music of Charlie Parker, with the jazz variations accompanying the story, but it also calls for another reference – Alan Parker's "Birdy" (1984) with Matthew Modine and Nicolas Cage in main roles, in terms of emotional (and not sexual) connection between the two men.

Interesting is also the director's take on the merging of "boys and girls" school into one, with the patriarchal and very Catholic set of rules. When Birdy's alibi girlfriend Ban Wu (Mimi Shao) gets major demerits for his actions, while he gets only detention, the hypocrisy of the "new open society" gets fully unmasked.

"Your Name Engraved Herein" is not a classical story about love between two people of the same sex. There is no real happy end, and nobody gets really naked. It pays attention to historic details and it shows another kind of reality, the one that is just a very short step back into the past, unkind to personal choices and the individual's wish to break free from the chains imposed by the society. When it gets too emotional, it does for a reason, even though a slightly less Broadway-like ending would have been more fitting.

Source: Marina D. Richter, March 16, 2020 (

Your Name Engraved Herein (2020)

A film by Kuang Hui Liu

Directed by Kuang Hui Liu
Written by Yu-Ning Chu, Jie Zhan, Alcatel Wu

Starring: Edward Chen, Jing Hua Tseng, Fabio Grangeon, David Hao-Chi Chiu, Leon Dai, Jason Wang, Jean-François Blanchard

Cinematography by Hung-i Yao
Music by Chris Hou, Jason Huang
Art Direction by Kuo-Chen Yao
Costume Design by Amanda Deng

Produced by Yu Ning Chu, Danielle Yen, Liu Zhi-Syuan

Country: Taiwan
Language: ​Taiwanese Mandarin
Running time: 118 minutes

Release date: September 26, 2020 (Taiwan)

Watch the trailer

Download the movie using torrent

Size: 2.18 GB
Subtitles: English, Greek, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Hebrew, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Arabic, Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Vietnamese, Thai, Turkish

Theme Song from "Your Name Engraved Herein", by Crowd Lu (Official Music Video)

Festivals & Awards

2020 Osaka Asian Film Festival - Main Competition
— Yakushi Pearl Award: Best Supporting Actor – Leon Dai

2020 Golden Horse Fantastic Film Festival – Opening Film (canceled due to COVID-19)

2020 Taipei Film Festival
— Best Supporting Actor Nominee – Leon Dai
— Best New Talent Nominee – Edward Chen

​2020 Taiwan International Queer Film Festival – Opening Film

2020 Hong Kong International Film Festival – KALEIDOSCOPE: Fantastic Beats

2020 Slovak Queer Film Festival – Official Selection

2020 Mostra São Paulo International Film Festival

2020 57th Golden Horse Awards
— Best Original Film Song Winner
— Best Cinematography Winner
— Best Supporting Actor Nominee – Leon Dai
— Best New Performer Nominee – Edward Chen
— Best Original Film Score Nominee

The Real Events That Inspired "Your Name Engraved Herein", Taiwan's Highest-Grossing LGBTQ Film of All Time

Director Patrick Liu did not play the trumpet in his high school marching band. Unlike Chang Jia-Han, the lead character in Liu's movie "Your Name Engraved Herein", Liu played the flute. But there's special meaning to the instrument of choice for Chang Jia-Han (Edward Chen) – nicknamed A-Han. "To quote our composer, the trumpet has a sound quality of wanting to say something, but not being able to get it out", Liu tells TIME in Mandarin. This feeling is familiar to A-Han. Pressure builds inside him as he falls for bandmate Wang Birdy (Jing-Hua Tseng) and wonders if he will ever be able to freely express his love. The feeling is also familiar to Liu.

Of the few dozen LGBTQ films in the history of Taiwanese cinema, Liu's has been the most successful at the box office – "Your Name Engraved Herein", which premieres globally on Netflix December 23, is Taiwan's highest-grossing LGBTQ-themed movie of all time. Earlier in December, the movie surpassed NT$100M (around US$3.5M) and is one of only two domestic films to reach this marker in 2020. The movie screened locally beginning in September, more than a year after the self-governing island became the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. But the film focuses on a period long before this right existed, in 1987, when martial law had just lifted, prompting Taiwan toward a gradual transition in the direction of greater liberties including freedom of speech and press. At the time, homophobia was widespread and openly gay individuals were largely ostracized by society.

It's against this backdrop that A-Han and Birdy's story unfolds as their friendship grows into something more. The particular arc of A-Han is about "80%" based on Liu's own experiences, according to the director. "Originally, my intention wasn't to make a gay film, it was to make a personal film", he says. "This is about my first love, and my first love happened to be a story of a boy liking another boy." Whatever his intention at the outset, "Your Name Engraved Herein" is fast on its way to becoming a new classic of LGBTQ cinema.

Bringing his own story to the screen

Prior to this film, Liu had primarily worked on idol drama series that he describes as overly dramatic and mostly detached from reality. With the new project, the director wanted to create something more intimate. He teamed up with producer Arthur Chu, who had attended the same high school as Liu and was familiar with his story. Through A-Han's perspective, Liu recounts aspects of his first love: crossing paths with a woman, played by Mimi Shao, who turned the relationship into a love triangle; confiding in the school priest, Father Oliver, about his crush.

Some of the most piercing lines in the film come during the scenes when an exasperated A-Han questions this religious figure about why his love goes against the Bible's teachings. These scenes are not entirely drawn from Liu's experiences with the priest at his school, but they reflect some of the director's views. "During the process of writing the script, what I thought was that no one can play the role of God and judge people for their gender or who they want to love", says Liu, who grew up in a Christian household. "We are not God so we don't have the right to be like him and tell Adam and Eve, you are naked and sinful". The tension between faith and sexuality is one of the main forces driving the film, which opens with a line from Song of Solomon 8:7: "Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it".

The bittersweet feeling of overdue change

Production for "Your Name Engraved Herein" started in 2018, before the legislation for marriage equality was enacted in Taiwan. "At that time, it was a very heated topic", Liu says, "The opposition was actually quite vocal about this". In November 2018, voters showed their support for restricting marriage to a union between a man and a woman and against implementing LGBT education at schools, in a referendum designed to be a measure of public opinion that would advise lawmakers. At the time, the Acting Director of Amnesty International Taiwan called the results "a bitter blow and a step backwards for human rights in Taiwan".

When parliament voted to legalize same-sex marriage on May 17, 2019 and President Tsai Ing-wen signed the legislation into effect days after, the historic milestone brought with it some mixed feelings for Liu. "When I saw people celebrating on the streets, I actually felt a little bit sorrowful because for the people from my generation – who were born in the '70s, for example – it may be too late for them", he says. Many were not able to catch what he calls the "train of happiness". "I would like to highlight some of the unfortunate stories that may have come too early so they didn't get to see the celebration that we see today", Liu explains about his approach to his work. "Your Name Engraved Herein" captures this sentiment. More than any other factor, the prevailing attitudes of 1980s Taiwan threaten to keep A-Han and Birdy apart.

Liu's film honors one particular figure who has fought for gay rights for more than 30 years: activist Chi Chia-wei. In one scene, A-Han and Birdy see Chi protesting against sexual orientation discrimination on the streets of Taipei with a sign that says "homosexuality is not a disease", before police swarm toward him. "We wanted to put that segment into the film to pay tribute to what he has done all these years", Liu says. In fact, he says the production crew met with Chi lao-shi – Liu uses the honorific term referring to a teacher – and discussed his portrayal in the movie. One of Chi's iconic protest looks was an outfit made of condoms, and this is the attire he's wearing when A-Han and Birdy see him. "Our costume designer simply replicated the outfit", Liu said, "and the character actually protested on the site where he protested in the past".

Spreading a message of tolerance across Asia and beyond

Taiwan is one of the rare exceptions in Asia with marriage rights for same-sex partnerships, even if acceptance of the policy is not ubiquitous. "We really hope that through Netflix the LGBT communities in other parts of Asia can see it", Liu says. "The LGBT communities need a movie like this to tell them, ‘You are allowed to love, you are not guilty’". Among other countries, he specifically expressed hope for "Your Name Engraved Herein" to reach Malaysia and Singapore, where laws that criminalize same-sex relations remain in place. These two places carry special meaning because they are home to the songwriters – Hsu Yuan-Ting, Chia Wang and Chen Wen-Hua – who composed the film's theme song. Titled after the movie and performed by artist Crowd Lu, the track has already won Best Original Song at Taiwan's prestigious Golden Horse Awards with the music video approaching 20 million views on YouTube. The trio of songwriters flew to Taiwan for the Golden Horse Awards. As Liu recalls, "They were very excited that their work can actually be nominated and connect with an LGBT film".

With "Your Name Engraved Herein", Liu and Chu have crafted a story specific to Taiwan that is rich with political history, but universal in its message. "There are no differences between homosexual or heterosexual relationships", Liu says. "There's still pain, there's still envy. We hope to show people that in homosexual relationships, love is still love."

As much as "Your Name Engraved Herein" is a reflection of Liu's past, it has also been a catalyst for his future. "When I started to produce this film, I was thinking about whether I should come out to my mom", he says, noting that his mother comes from a conservative background intertwined with her church community. At the beginning of the project, he kept details about the movie vague and said it was about "two young people falling in love in high school". But during this past Chinese New Year, Liu's mom brought out a bag of gold and said it would be his once he gets married. "I don't know where my courage came from, but I decided to tell her that I'm actually gay and I'm not going to marry a girl", Liu recalls. She was initially shocked, but, referring to Taiwan's recent policy changes, she changed her tune. "It's fine", she said. "I think now you can get married as well."

Source: Kat Moon, December 18, 2020 (

See also

1985 (2018) – A film by Yen Tan – Cory Michael Smith, Virginia Madsen, Michael Chiklis, Jamie Chung (Download the movie)

Border (2018) – A film by Ali Abbasi – Eva Melander, Eero Milonoff, Jörgen Thorsson, Sten Ljunggren, Ann Petrén (Download the movie)

Eastern Boys (2013) – A film by Robin Campillo – Olivier Rabourdin, Kirill Emelyanov, Danil Vorobyev (Download the movie)

Die Wand / The Wall (2012) – A film by Julian Roman Pölsler – Starring Martina Gedeck (Download the movie)

Mr. Gaga: A True Story of Love and Dance (2015) – A film by Tomer Heymann – Ohad Naharin and the Batsheva Dance Company (Download the movie)

Out in the Dark (2012) – A film by Michael Mayer – Nicholas Jacob, Michael Aloni, Jamil Khoury, Alon Pdut, Loai Nofi, Khawlah Hag-Debsy, Maysa Daw, Shimon Mimran (Download the movie)

Call Me by Your Name (2017) – A film by Luca Guadagnino – Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Esther Garrel, Victoire Du Bois – James Ivory, Sayombhu Mukdeeprom (Download the movie)

Seashore (Beira-Mar), 2015 – A film by Filipe Matzembacher and Marcio Reolon – Mateus Almada, Maurício Barcellos, Elisa Brittes, Fernando Hart, Ariel Artur, Francisco Gick (Download the movie)

mother! (2017) – A film by Darren Aronofsky – Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer (Download the movie)

Okja (2017) – A film by Bong Joon-ho – Ahn Seo-hyun, Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Steven Yeun, Jake Gyllenhaal, Giancarlo Esposito, Lily Collins, Shirley Henderson (Download the movie)

Im Keller / In the Basement (2014) – A film by Ulrich Seidl (Download the movie)

Maurice (1987) – A film by James Ivory – James Wilby, Hugh Grant, Rupert Graves (Download the movie)

Shostakovich Against Stalin: The War Symphonies – A Documentary by Larry Weinstein – Netherland Radio Philharmonic, Kirov Orchestra, Valery Gergiev (HD 1080p)

Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) – A film by Stephen Frears – Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg (Download the movie)

Son of Saul (2015) – A film by László Nemes – Géza Röhrig, Levente Molnár, Urs Rechn (Download the movie)

Amour (2012) – A film by Michael Haneke – Emmanuelle Riva, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Isabelle Huppert, Alexandre Tharaud (Download the movie)

Dmitri Shostakovich: Katerina Izmailova (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk), 1966 – A film by Mikhail Shapiro – Galina Vishnevskaya, Konstantin Simeonov

The New Babylon (Novyy Vavilon), 1929 – A film by Grigori Kozintsev & Leonid Trauberg – Music by Dmitri Shostakovich (HD 1080p)

Farinelli (1994) – A film by Gérard Corbiau – Stefano Dionisi, Enrico Lo Verso, Elsa Zylberstein (Download the movie)

Eroica (The Movie, BBC 2003) by Simon Cellan Jones – Ian Hart, Leo Bill, Claire Skinner, Frank Finlay – John Eliot Gardiner (HD 1080p)

Tous les Matins du Monde / All the Mornings of the World / Όλα τα Πρωινά του Κόσμου (1991) – A film by Alain Corneau (Download the movie)

Friday, December 25, 2020

Yekwon Sunwoo plays Franz Schubert (Piano Sonata in C minor) & Maurice Ravel (La Valse) – Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Quarterfinal Round Recital (HD 1080p)

Gold medalist of the Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, 31-year-old Korean pianist Yekwon Sunwoo plays Franz Schubert's Piano Sonata in C minor, D.958, and Maurice Ravel's La Valse, M.72, transcription for Piano Solo. The recital recorded at the Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Bass Performance Hall, in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 30, 2017.

Franz Schubert's last three piano sonatas, written between the spring and autumn of 1828, the last year of his life, are often considered as a group, sharing many elements of structure and form. He performed the three sonatas at a concert for his friends on 28 September 1828, and in October offered them to his publisher, Probst, who was not interested. Schubert's health, already weak, rapidly deteriorated and he died on 19 November 1828, at the age of thirty-one.

The Sonata in C minor, like the others in the group of three, is strongly influenced by Beethoven, at whose funeral the previous year Schubert had been a pall-bearer. The opening of the Allegro first movement of this sonata is very close to the theme of Beethoven's 32 Piano Variations on a theme (catalogue WoO80), which is also in C minor. There are also reminiscences of Beethoven's "Pathetique" sonata, No.8 Op.13, again in C minor. The second subject is a chorale-like tune in E flat major, the relative major to C minor.

After the repeat of the exposition section, the development continues chromatically, exploring distant keys. At the recapitulation there is a return to the tonic, and the coda dies away in reminiscences of the development section.

The second movement, Adagio, is in A flat major, and structured A-B-A-B-A. Its tranquil opening theme is developed in a way that gives it a darker quality, and in the B sections there is intense chromaticism and forceful, emotion-laden chords. The second appearance of the A and B sections is a semitone higher than before.

The third movement is a menuetto and trio, but far darker and more sombre in mood than the usual classical minuet. The menuetto is in C minor, in two parts, each repeated, the second part containing two bar-long rests that give a disquieting feeling that persists to the end of the movement. The trio is in A flat major, structured A-B-A, with the B section in E flat major.

The sonata-form final movement, Allegro, is again in C minor, and has a rapid, racing 6/8 rhythm reminiscent of a tarantella or a moto perpetuo. The first theme moves from C minor to C major, while the second moves towards C sharp minor. A new theme enters in the development section, progressing to a climax which introduces the recapitulation in which the first theme reappears in shortened form. The wild leaps and bounding arpeggios give the movement a liveliness that is offset by its predominantly minor key colouring, and leave something of the flavour of a dance of death.

Source: Simon Rees, 2019

Maurice Ravel's La valse, M.72, was originally written for orchestra. Ravel later transcribed it for two pianos and finally for piano solo.

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

Piano Sonata in C minor, D.958 (1828) [2:38]*

i. Allegro
ii. Adagio
iii. Menuetto: Allegro
iv. Allegro

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

♪ La Valse, 
M.72 (1919-1920), (Transcription for Piano Solo) [36:25]

Yekwon Sunwoo, piano

Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Quarterfinal Round Recital, Bass Performance Hall, Fort Worth, Texas, USA, May 30, 2017

(HD 1080p)

* Start time of each work

Gold medallist of the Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Yekwon Sunwoo has been hailed for his "unfailingly consistent excellence" (International Piano) and celebrated as "a pianist who commands a comprehensive technical arsenal that allows him to thunder without breaking a sweat" (Chicago Tribune). A powerful and virtuosic performer, he also, in his own words, "strives to reach for the truth and pure beauty in music".

The first Korean to win Cliburn Gold, Yekwon's 2019-2020 season includes appearances with Fort Worth and Tuscon Symphonies and the Bucheon Philharmonic and debuts with Washington Chamber Orchestra, Royal Danish Orchestra and Danish Radio Orchestra amongst others as well as a debut appearance at the Vail Festival with Dallas Symphony. Recital highlights include Four Season Arts, San Antonio Arts and the Stadttheater Aschaffenburg. 2020-2021 will see Yekwon make his debut with Orchestra Chambre de Paris and Tugan Sokhiev and return to KBS Symphony with Jaap Van Zweden.

In previous seasons, he has performed as soloist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop, Houston Symphony, National Orchestra of Belgium, Sendai Philharmonic and Royal Scottish National Orchestra amongst others. Recital appearances include Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Elbphilharmonie, Salle Cortot and Kumho Art Hall.

An avid chamber musician, Yekwon's collaborators include Benjamin Beilman, Linus Roth, Andrei Ioniță, Sebastian Bohren, Isang Enders, Tobias Feldmann, Gary Hoffman, Anne-Marie McDermott and the Jerusalem and Brentano Quartets. He has also toured Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama with the Kumho Asiana Cultural Foundation, performed at Chamber Music of Lincoln Center's Inside Chamber Music Lectures and been invited to the Summit Music, Bowdoin International and Toronto Summer Music Festivals.

In addition to the Cliburn Gold Medal, Yekwon won first prizes at the 2015 International German Piano Award, the 2014 Vendome Prize held at the Verbier Festival, the 2013 Sendai International Music Competition and the 2012 William Kapell International Piano Competiton.

Born in 1989 in Anyang, South Korea, Yekwon began learning the piano at the age of 8 and made his recital and orchestral debuts in Seoul at 15. His teachers include Seymour Lipkin, Robert McDonald, Richard Goode and Bernd Goetzke.

In 2017, Decca Gold released Cliburn Gold 2017 two weeks after Yekwon was awarded the Gold Medal and includes his award-winning performances of Ravel's La Valse and Rachmaninov's Second Piano Sonata.

A self-proclaimed foodie, Yekwon enjoys finding Pho in each city he visits and takes pride in his own homemade Korean soups.


More photos

See also

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Merry Christmas!

Photo by Lara Wilde*

Faces of Classical Music
wish you a
Merry Christmas!

* Photo by Lara Wilde, Germany, Shortlist, 2019 ZEISS Photography Award

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Award-winning pianist Yekwon Sunwoo shares his “Mozart soul” through new album

Though more often associated with the names of Romantic composers – Chopin, Schumann and Schubert, for example – pianist Yekwon Sunwoo hopes to share the Mozart side of himself through a new album.

By Im Eun-byel

The Korea Herald — November 24, 2020

Concert pianist Yekwon Sunwoo, 31, who rose to global stardom three years ago winning the gold medal at the 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, has released his first studio album under the Decca label. The 19-track album was recorded this summer in Neumarkt, Germany.

Simply titled "Mozart", the album consists of piano Sonatas Nos. 8 and 10, Adagio for Glass Harmonica in C major, K.356/617a, Fantasia in C minor, K.475 and D minor, K.397 and Rondo in A minor, K.511, all composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791).

"I know that I haven't mentioned Mozart often in my interviews or at official events", Sunwoo said at a press event Tuesday in southern Seoul. "Mozart is a composer whom I have always loved. It is true I had not thought of him for recordings. But these days, I feel closer to him."

"Mozart piano sonatas have aria-like aspects. Though a pianist, I tried to imagine opera singers and stage directing, imitating the sounds of a string instrument", the Berlin-based artist said, further mentioning that his favorite Mozart opera is "Don Giovanni".

The album consists of two CDs. Sunwoo explained one may be more appropriate for daytime and the other for nighttime listening. The album comes with a score copy of Rondo in A minor, K.511, with handwritten notes by Sunwoo.

"I thought about how I could make the listeners more comfortable while listening to the album. Classical music artists are often not so skilled with words", he said. "I also hope that younger musicians can learn from the notes, seeing how I interpret the scores."

After the recording, Sunwoo took a break from the piano for more than a month – for nearly the first time in his life.

"Things were and still are very uncertain. (The Covid-19 pandemic) is new to everyone. I was depressed... and I tried to stay away (from the piano)", he recounted.

"Then, I started to practice again and realized that I was happy to listen to the sound of the piano. It is a blessing that I can practice the piano and I felt alive. Of course, things are still difficult but I realized why I am living the life of a performer", the pianist said.

Celebrating the release of the first studio album, Sunwoo will go on a nationwide tour from December 30 to January 29, performing in seven cities, including Gwangju, Busan and Daegu. The Seoul engagement of the tour will take place on January 26 at Lotte Concert Hall in southeastern Seoul.


Thursday, December 10, 2020

Johann Sebastian Bach: Sonata for Solo Violin No.1, BWV 1001, 1. Adagio | Niccolò Paganini: Caprice No. 24 | Eugène Ysaÿe: Sonata for Solo Violin in G major – Daniel Lozakovich (HD 1080p)

The young Swedish virtuoso violinist Daniel Lozakovich plays the Adagio from the Sonata for Solo Violin No.1, BWV 1001 by Johann Sebastian Bach, the Caprice in A minor, Op.1 No.24 by Niccolò Paganini, and the Sonata for Solo Violin in G major, Op.27 No.5 by Eugène Ysaÿe. Recorded at the Verbier Festival, in the Russian Orthodox Church of Geneva, Switzerland, on July 18, 2020.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

♪ Sonata for SoloViolin No.1, BWV 1001, 1. Adagio (1720) [00:00]*

Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840)

♪ Caprice in A minor, Op.1 No.24 (1807) [05:03]

Eugène Ysaÿe (1858-1931)

♪ Sonata for Solo Violin in G major, Op.27 No.5 (1923) [10:11]

Daniel Lozakovich, violin

Verbier Festival, Russian Orthodox Church of Geneva, July 18, 2020

(HD 1080p)

* Start time of each work

"Lozakovich is a serious artist and demands to be taken seriously; he already plays like one of the greats, or perhaps one should say like one of the great players of the past. His tone... resonates with the Romantic warmth of such forebears as Christian Ferras or Jascha Heifetz." — Hamburger Abendblatt, August 2019

Daniel Lozakovich, whose majestic music-making leaves both critics and audiences spellbound, was born in Stockholm in 2001 and began playing the violin when he was almost seven. He made his solo debut two years later with the Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra and Vladimir Spivakov in Moscow, and before long had performed with, among others, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, the Moscow Philharmonic and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic orchestras, the Orchestre National de France and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Daniel has since gone on to work regularly with other such leading orchestras as the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai and Orchester der Komischen Oper Berlin, and with some of the world's most eminent conductors, including Vasily Petrenko, Leonard Slatkin, Andris Nelsons, Semyon Bychkov, Neeme Järvi, Klaus Mäkelä, Robin Ticciati and Lahav Shani. His chamber music partners, meanwhile, include Emanuel Ax, Khatia Buniatishvili, Seong-Jin Cho, Sergei Babayan, Martin Fröst, Renaud Capuçon, Daniel Hope, Shlomo Mintz and Maxim Vengerov.

The violin grapevine was buzzing with news about the amazing youngster from Sweden long before Daniel made his international breakthrough in May 2016, when he hit the headlines worldwide as winner of the Vladimir Spivakov International Violin Competition and, soon after, as returning soloist with the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev in the closing concert of the XV Moscow Easter Festival. He signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon in June 2016, soon after his 15th birthday. The deal made him the youngest member of DG's family of artists. It also reinforced his status as a one-in-a-million virtuoso blessed with an entrancing range of expression and musicianship.

Shortly before he signed with the Yellow Label, Daniel was invited by fellow DG artist Daniel Hope to join him in recording a selection of Bartók's Duos for two violins for Hope's My Tribute to Yehudi Menuhin album. Lozakovich's first full recording for Deutsche Grammophon, made with the Kammerorchester des Symphonieorchesters des Bayerischen Rundfunks, was released in June 2018 and featured Bach's two concertos for violin and orchestra (BWV 1041 and 1042), and his Partita No.2 in D minor BWV 1004 for solo violin. His debut album was a great success, reaching No.1 in the French Amazon charts (all music categories), and No.1 in Germany's classical album chart.

None but the Lonely Heart, Lozakovich's second album, was released in October 2019. Dedicated to the music of Tchaikovsky, it includes the Violin Concerto, recorded live with the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia and Spivakov ("a committed, restrained and profound reading, of peerless musicality",, the Méditation for violin and orchestra and arrangements of two vocal works, Lensky's Aria from Eugene Onegin and the song from which the album takes its name: the Romance, Op.6 No.6, "None but the lonely heart".

For his latest album Daniel has joined forces with his mentor Gergiev and the Münchner Philharmoniker to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth with a live recording of the composer's Violin Concerto, a work he considers "the greatest concerto ever written". Available as an e-album video since 5 June 2020, the recording is set for release on CD and as an e-album on 21 August.

Having begun the 2019-2020 season by performing Prokofiev's Second Violin Concerto with the Mariinsky Orchestra and Gergiev in Montreux and Bruch's Violin Concerto No.1 with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and Nathalie Stutzmann in Dublin, Daniel then travelled to the US to make a much anticipated debut with the LA Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen, giving three performances of the Tchaikovsky Concerto. In November he returned to the US for further appearances in the Tchaikovsky, making his subscription series debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Nelsons, before performing the same work in Toronto and at the Gulbenkian in Lisbon. He ended 2019 with a series of appearances in Munich and Amsterdam, playing the Beethoven Concerto with the Munich Philharmonic and Gergiev. In February 2020 he made his debut with the Orchestre de Paris, conducted by Christoph Eschenbach, giving two performances of the Mendelssohn Concerto at the closing concerts of the Canary Islands International Music Festival.

His plans for next season include appearances at the Tsinandali Festival in Georgia; the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Orchestre National de France, Philharmonia Orchestra, Utah Symphony and Orchestre Métropolitain; the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Wiener Kammerorchester and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; and the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester.

In addition to his victory at the Spivakov Competition, Daniel Lozakovich has been awarded many other prizes, including the 2017 "Young Artist of the Year" award at the Festival of the Nations (Germany), the 2017 "Young Talent" award at the Premios Excelentia (Spain) and the 2019 "Promising Young Artist" award at the Premios Batuta (Mexico).

He began studying with Professor Josef Rissin at the Karlsruhe University of Music in 2012, and since 2015 has been mentored by Eduard Wulfson in Geneva. He plays both the "ex-Baron Rothschild" Stradivari, on generous loan on behalf of the owner by Reuning & Son (Boston) and Eduard Wulfson, and the Le Reynier Stradivarius (1727), kindly loaned by the LVMH group.


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