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LG Arts Center Seoul to open Oct. 13 with LSO, Cho Seong-jin concert

Multipurpose cultural complex the first such facility in newly developed Magok area

June 21, 2022 - 17:57 By Park Ga-young
Exterior of LG Arts Center Seoul(Bae Ji-hun/LG Arts Center Seoul)

LG Arts Center Seoul is set to open Oct. 13 with a special concert by the London Symphony Orchestra, led by Simon Rattle and Korean pianist Cho Seong-jin.

The 41,631-square-meter complex in southwestern Seoul, which cost 255.6 billion won ($198 million), has taken 4 1/2 years to complete.

Designed by celebrated Japanese architect Tadao Ando, it is the second large performing arts center by the architect, after the Shanghai Poly Grand Theatre.

“I wanted to create one-of-a-kind performing complex, by giving visible features to the lobby, the atrium and the hallway,” Tadao was quoted as saying in a statement from LG Arts Center Seoul.

The arts center, located at the entrance of the Seoul Botanic Park, has two stages, two rehearsal rooms, three classrooms, a studio and a rooftop space. 

LG Signature Hall, the main hall of LG Arts Center Seoul (Bae Ji-hun/LG Arts Center Seoul)

The 1,335-seat multipurpose LG Signature Hall is slightly larger than the Seoul Arts Center’s main concert hall. “There will be no performance that the LG Arts Center Seoul cannot host because of size,” managing and artistic director Lee Hyun-jung said Tuesday during a press tour of the venue.

In addition to the main hall, U+ Stage, a black box theater, will offer a variety of stage settings. It can accommodate up to 365 seats and will be used for experimental performances.

The sound system was designed by London-based theater consulting firm Theatre Projects. The main concert hall features a variable acoustic absorption system, reflector and moving tower, while U+ Stage is equipped with an immersive sound system with 60 speakers, which can create a multidimensional sound that completely envelops the listener.

As the new LG Arts Center Seoul sits right next to a subway station serving two lines and is nearby Gimpo International Airport, the building was built to keep it insulated from unwanted extraneous noise and vibrations. This is the first use of such technology in the country, according to LG Arts Center Seoul.

The previous location of LG Arts Center closed in February, after 22 years in Yeoksam-dong of the affluent Gangnam-gu in Seoul. The LG Arts Center showcased more than 867 works and 6,300 performances. More than 4.5 million people had visited the center since its opening in 2000.

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.

A two-month opening festival will be held from Oct. 15 to Dec. 18, during which 14 concerts and performances will be staged. The festival will feature a mix of classical and popular performances by domestic 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.

Package deals for the festival will go on sale at 2 p.m. on July 11 via the center’s official website, with regular ticket sales starting July 14.

Interior of LG Arts Center Seoul(Bae Ji-hun/LG Arts Center Seoul)