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Chin Concertos on DG and Lucerne Festival feature

(August 2014)

This summer brings a new Deutsche Grammophon recording of three concertos by Unsuk Chin, plus a Lucerne Festival feature including Simon Rattle conducting the world premiere of Le Silence des Sirènes.

The newest CD release of Unsuk Chin's music is a Deutsche Grammophon disc of three of her concertos with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Myung-Whun Chung (DG 481 0971). The premiere recordings feature Sunwook Kim in the Piano Concerto, Alban Gerhardt in the Cello Concerto which he premiered at the BBC Proms in 2009, and Wu Wei in the sheng concerto Šu (written for the traditional mouth reed organ), which he premiered in 2009 and has performed 35 times in five years.

Šu has become a virtuoso calling card for the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2010 and 2011 the orchestra toured the concerto with Wu Wei to Europe, including visits to the Edinburgh Festival and to Moscow, performed the piece in North America in 2012 and in a historic Beijing concert in 2013. This year they perform Šu at the BBC Proms on 27 August within the orchestra's first concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Unsuk Chin was born in  Seoul in 1961 and grew up there in the 1960s and '70s, before leaving to study with Ligeti in Europe. She is now resident in Berlin but is a frequent visitor to Seoul, where she is Composer-In-Residence with the orchestra and curates its contemporary music series, presenting Korean premieres of works by international composers.

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Unsuk Chin is Composer-in-Residence at this summer's Lucerne Festival with performances of eight of her compositions. The most recent score is her new work for soprano and orchestra, Le Silence des Sirènes, commisioned by Roche and  premiered on 23 August by the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra conducted by Simon Rattle, with soprano Barbara Hannigan as soloist. Other highlights in Lucerne include the Ensemble Intercontemporain performing Chin's Double Concerto on 17 August and a portrait concert with students of the festival academy on 11 September including snagS&Snarls and the Swiss premiere of Graffiti. Following its premiere in Lucerne, Simon Rattle conducts the German premiere of Le Silence des Sirènes with the Berliner Philharmoniker on 24 June next year.

Chin's text for Le Silence des Sirènes combines passages by Homer and James Joyce, drawing on the twelfth chapter of The Odyssey which describes the singing of the Sirens who lure sailors to their ruin, and the beginnning of the eleventh chapter of Ulysses which Joyce particularly associated with the Sirens, personified as Irish barmaids luring men to drink. Unsuk Chin describes how "these sources are used very freely and are by no means 'set to music' in a traditional sense" and how she takes "inspiration - without any objectification - from the Joycean language-music... the text is used in isolation from the original 'plot'." The resulting  17-minute work is a psychological monodrama which, like many of Chin's works, explores the point where conceptual meaning and dreamlike associations intermingle.

Chin highlights in the 2014/15 season include the US premiere of her recent Clarinet Concerto with the New York Philharmonic and Kari Kriikku as soloist (23 September), first performances of her new orchestral work Mannequin within her residency at the Casa da Music in Porto (6 December) and at the Southbank Centre in London (11 April), and a new multimedia presentation of her opera Alice in Wonderland in Los Angeles (27 February) and the Barbican in London (8 March).

> View a web documentary on Unsuk Chin
> Lucerne Festival


> Further information on Work: Le Silence des Sirènes



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