Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Daegu Symphony Orchestra

Led by Conductor Julian Kovatchev, 

Sparks a Classical Music Craze

A Classical Music Pioneer, Daegu Symphony Orchestra

In each of the world's major cities there is always a world class orchestra that plays under the name of the city it represents, such as the London Symphony Orchestra of England, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra of the US, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra of Germany, and the Wien Philharmonic Orchestra of Austria. The reason behind this is that the level of an orchestra is said to be a measure that reflects the corresponding country and city's level of art and culture. Daegu, a city which that holds art and culture in high stead, boasts the Daegu Symphony Orchestra which this year marks the 51st anniversary of its foundation. With the re-opening of the Daegu Citizens' Center in November 2013, the region's very first specialized classical music concert hall, resident group the Daegu .

Symphony Orchestra has grown to take the leading role 
in sparking a classical music craze in the region.

Founded in 1964, the Daegu Symphony Orchestra is the fourth public symphony orchestra established in Korea following the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra in 1945, the KBS Symphony Orchestra in 1956, and the Busan Philharmonic Orchestra in 1962. However, following its foundation, the orchestra underwent much hardship due to inferior practice facility and performance hall as well as a several financial crisis. Even in the midst of such crises, the Daegu Symphony Orchestra continued to lead the development of classical music in Korea and in April of 2014 appointed world class conductor Julian Kobachev, one of the world's top 10 musical conductors, as its permanent conductor. Kobachev, together with the orchestra's 100 members, convey the emotion of classical music. The orchestra is at the forefront of the expansion of classical music's fan base, holding year-round regular classical concerts, unique planned concerts, and concerto nights for teenagers and university students for the purpose of uncovering the region's classical music talent.

Bringing in a new era at the Daegu Citizens' Center, the Daegu Symphony Orchestra has regained the spotlight since last year thanks to the group’s musical emotion and regular concerts led by permanent conductor Julian Kobachev, recording a sell out of orchestra events. Although tickets generally go on sale about 1 month prior to the performance, on a number of occasions there were no tickets left even after the balcony and chorus seats were made available. It's no wonder that requests for Daegu Symphony Orchestra tickets began to appear on the message boards of classical music-related websites. What could be the reason for such enthusiasm toward the Symphony's concerts? The true value of classical music on display at the Daegu Citizens' Center, the result of the skill of leading conductor Julian Kobachev and harmony of the orchestra's members, is the reason for such enthusiasm.

A Leader in Emotion, Conductor Julian Kovatchev

Having created a bond with Korea while serving as visiting conductor of the KBS Symphony Orchestra and National Opera of Korea, Julian Kobachev is an orchestra and opera conductor active on the world stage in countries including the US, Germany and Italy. Despite this, there was a mix of expectation and concern at the news that the mysterious, unknown figure Kobachev had been confirmed as the Daegu Symphony Orchestra's musical director and permanent conductor. However, as soon as the first performance held by Kobachev and the orchestra had finished, the standing ovation given by the audience showed that these concerns had indeed been groundless.

Conductor Julian Kobachev was born in Bulgaria and studied the violin from an early age, completing a diploma in music at the Salzburg Mozarteum in Austria after immigrating to Germany. He was taught by world renowned conductor Karajan after deciding to follow the path to becoming a conductor, and was awarded at the Karajan Conductors Concours in 1984. He has served as musical director of the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra of Bulgaria and Zagreb Symphony Orchestra of Croatia, in addition to chief visiting director at the Trieste Verdi Theatre in Italy. Demonstrating an outstanding ability also for opera conducting, Kobachev has been invited each year to direct at international festivals such as the Verona Opera Festival.

Having led world-renowned orchestras, Julian Kobachev has some words that he tells the members of the Daegu Symphony Orchestra each time they practice. “You are the very best performers.” “Just relax and play comfortably." "Make strong and ample sound." "Don't be afraid of making a mistake." Kobachev believes in all of the orchestra's members and continually encourages them to bring out their potential. The members have gradually built an understanding with their conductor and begun to enjoy performing, and a rumour making the rounds between spectators that "the orchestra's sound is different now" has drawn much interest and favour. When played from the heart, music conveys emotion, and a state with emotion attracts an audience. Julian Kobachev's leadership of emotion is the driving force behind the increasing popularity of the Daegu Symphony Orchestra.

Daegu Citizen Hall, A Global Standard Concert Hall

Opened in 1975, the Daegu Citizens' Center underwent 3 years of renovations from March 2011 and finally re-opened in November of 2013. The center comprises a 1,200 seat grand concert hall and 240 seat chamber hall, and is the region's first specialized concert hall with world class acoustics as a result of its shoebox form. The hall was designed with a focus on the sound diffusing/reflecting surfaces of the roof and walls, and a greater sense of immediacy was created by narrowing the gap between the seats and stage as much as possible. In a sound test conducted at the time of the Center's re-opening, reverberation time (the time it takes for energy density to decrease by a factor of one million) was 2 seconds. In two seconds it is possible to smoothly and richly convey sound over a long distance and is seen as optimal for the appreciation of a musical performance.

Following its re-opening, the Daegu Citizens' Center positioned itself as the Daegu region's premier venue for classical music. Renowned production agencies and orchestra officials from Germany, Russia, and Japan holding visiting performances in Korea have all been lavish in their praise for the center, labelling it the very best performance hall. As a result, performances by the world's leading orchestras and virtuosos will be frequently held at the center this year. Now with its own outstanding practice facility after years of effort and waiting, the Daegu Symphony Orchestra will continue to play for its audience with a sense of confidence that comes from being the residental performing group.

Korean Classical Music with Joy and Emotion

Audiences at classical music performances are much more diverse than they once were. Despite this, there are still many who are still unfamiliar with or find classical music hard to appreciate. It is for this reason that the Daegu Symphony Orchestra plans to expand the number 'Peoples' Happiness Concert's held not only in concert halls, but also visiting performances for members of all social classes as well as regions and groups that have limited access to cultural activities. The Daegu Symphony Orchestra will continue to do its very best to share the enjoyment and emotion presented by classical music with more and more people.

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