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‘Organ Odyssey’: Concert explores pipe organ inside and out

Dec. 19, 2022 - 15:18 By Hwang Dong-hee
Organist Cho Jae-hyuck plays the pipe organ during an “Organ Odyssey” concert held earlier this year at Lotte Concert Hall in Seoul. (Lotte Foundation for Arts)

The “Organ Odyssey” -- an annual flagship concert series exploring the sounds and mechanisms of a pipe organ -- is set for the last concert of the year at 11 a.m., Wednesday at the Lotte Concert Hall, Songpa-gu, southeastern Seoul.

For the special Christmas-themed concert, pianist and organist Cho Jae-hyuck, who also played in the 2017 edition, will perform signature music pieces for the organ, such as those by Bach and Dupre, highlighting the various tones of the instrument.

Tenor Kim Se-il will join Cho onstage for solo performances of "Comfort Ye My People" and "Every Valley Shall Be Exalted" from Handel’s oratorio “Messiah.”

Kim, along with Cho, will guide the audience to the inside of the organ with a two-way live broadcast method to explain the intricate changes in the pipes that take place while the organist plays the instrument.

Concert guide and tenor Kim Se-il enters the pipe organ during a previous “Organ Odyssey” concert held earlier this year at Lotte Concert Hall in Seoul. (Lotte Foundation for Arts)

“Many people are not familiar with the pipe organ. They just see it as a huge and magnificent instrument, but there are tens of thousands of tones. I’m glad to be in a program to show people how beautiful they wound,” Cho told The Korea Herald, after a rehearsal on Friday.

“In this program, you see the inside of the organ and how its sounds are structured.”

The Brillante Children's Choir will accompany the pair, singing “Somewhere in My Memory” from the film “Home Alone” and other Christmas songs.

Lotte Concert Hall, one of Seoul’s very few concert halls equipped with a pipe organ, has been hosting its annual concert series since 2017 following its opening in 2016.

Next year, the "Organ Odyssey" series concerts will be performed Feb. 22, July 26 and Dec. 20.