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SPO to present Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky with Ray Chen

June 20, 2024 - 14:24 By Park Ga-young
Vasily Petrenko (center), the music director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and the members of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra greet the audience after a performance in Seoul on April 21, 2022. (SPO)

The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra is set to hold two performances titled "Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky with Ray Chen” next week at Lotte Concert Hall, under the baton of Vasily Petrenko, the music director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Both concerts will commence with Weber's "Euryanthe" Overture before featuring Taiwanese violinist Ray Chen who will perform Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor on June 28 and Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D major, Op. on the following evening, June 29.

Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, a piece celebrated for its passionate and lyrical melodies, was dedicated to the distinguished violinist Ferdinand David, who premiered the piece at Leipzig Gewandhaus in 1845.

Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, inspired by Lalo's "Symphonie Espagnole," faced initial criticism for its technical difficulty but has since become a staple in the violin repertoire.

Violinist Ray Chen (SPO)

Chen, 35. rose to international fame after winning the Yehudi Menuhin Competition in 2008 and the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 2009. He has released several acclaimed albums and performed with top orchestras worldwide.

Both concerts will conclude with Richard Strauss's "Ein Heldenleben," a monumental work that portrays various aspects of a hero's journey through its six movements.

“‘Ein Heldenleben’ is one of the most autobiographical works of all time. It encompasses all of his life's hopes, deeds and dreams in 45-50 minutes. And, of course, it is a showpiece for the orchestra and I'm very much looking forward to performing it in Seoul,” said Petrenko, as quoted by the SPO.

Conductor Vasily Petrenko, the Music Director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO)

Born in 1976 in Russia, Petrenko has served as the music director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra since 2021. He previously held positions with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the Oslo Philharmonic.

Petrenko has conducted many of the world's leading orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. His extensive discography includes complete symphony cycles of Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff, and Elgar, recorded with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.

Next week’s performances mark Petrenko’s second collaboration with the SPO this year, following performances of Dvorak’s Eighth Symphony on Thursday and Friday at the Seoul Arts Center, which also featured pianist Simon Trpceski performing Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15.

Ticket prices for the next week’s concerts range from 10,000 won ($7.23) to 120,000 won.