Univ.-Prof. Dr. Heinrich Neisser
President of the Association to Support the Austro-Korean Philharmonic
The idea of founding an Austrian-Korean Philharmonic was, as it were, a parting gift from the former Korean ambassador in Vienna Ban Ki-moon - who later became Secretary General of the United Nations - who wanted to create a permanent cultural bridge between the countries of Korea and Austria. The idea was successful. It led to annual concerts, which enabled a professional collaboration between young Korean and Austrian artists.
In the past 20 years there has been a variety of cultural encounters between two countries in which music enjoys a special reputation. As a result, Austria became aware of how deeply music is rooted in Korean society and how much Korean artists are valued around the world. Korea has discovered the European cultural area and is present here with important artistic personalities. This is also clear from the participants in this year's concert. Yongbom Lee, who represents contemporary Korean music in the program, has special ties to Germany, but is also the recipient of Austrian sponsorship awards. The Korean pianist Kun-Woo Paik, who enriches our program this year with a piano concerto by Mozart, can look back on an international career spanning decades. He studied in New York and has given concerts worldwide with the most important orchestras under the direction of renowned conductors.
The program of this year's concert is based on proven principles. Getting to know contemporary Korean musicians is an important challenge in our work. Therefore the concert begins with a composition by Yongbom Lee. In the first part of the program, the Viennese Classic is represented with a piano concerto by WA Mozart, which the composer wrote at the beginning of his death (1791), but which is a moving expression of the incomparable serenity that genius was able to convey.
The second part of the program contains the "Songs of a Traveling Journeyman" by Gustav Mahler. He is the Austrian composer whose work music experts and music lovers repeatedly grapple with and discover new things. The songs are interpreted by Rafael Fingerlos, a young Austrian baritone with great future prospects. He is a member of the ensemble of the Vienna State Opera, performs regularly at festivals and is a regular guest at European opera houses.
The program ends with the “Sinfonietta FP 141” by Francis Poulenc. It is a work by a French composer that was composed immediately after the end of the Second World War - Poulenc was largely self-taught, and his music has a pronounced improvisational character. He came to Austria to get to know the exponents of twelve-tone music (Schönberg, Webern, Berg) personally.
The planning of the program was designed by Lorenz C. Aichner. We should not only thank him for this, we are very pleased that he will conduct this program as well. We have fond memories of the previous collaboration with him and thank him for his willingness to make this concert a special experience.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone who has made a significant contribution to the success of today's concert. The support from the Korean embassy made this evening possible.
I would like to thank all visitors to the 21st concert of the Austro-Korean Philharmonic and I very much hope that you will continue to accompany us on our way in the future.