TSO's Wednesday evening concert in The Seoul Arts Center saw the triumphant return, after five years, of Han-Na Chang to Korea.
Chief conductor of the TSO, Han-Na Chang, stepped out on stage to cheering and wild applause and before she even raised her baton it was clear that she was home; home in the country that loves and reveres her, home with her family and friends, and home with her Norwegian musicians, the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra.
The evening started with a reception hosted by Frode Solberg, the Norwegian Ambassador to Korea. The close friendship between nations began in 1951 when Norway sent a field hospital out to Korea. Norway’s most important trading partner is now Korea and this year has seen major celebrations for the 60th anniversary of official diplomatic relations.
Trondheim Symphony Orchestra’s Director Roar Leinan also spoke of anniversaries in his speech at the reception; namely the 110th anniversary for the founding of the orchestra. He spoke of the drawing together of Norwegian and Korean musical culture and the significance of the friendship that this marks between the two countries. In bringing Han-Na and the TSO to Korea he made the point that we are all experiencing an artistic homecoming.
The brilliant, international prizewinning Korean pianist Dong Hyek Lim joined forces with Han-Na and the TSO for Grieg’s iconic piano concerto. It was a true blending of Norwegian and Korean musical artistry on the international stage of the Seoul Arts Center and a pleasure to behold.
Under Han-Na’s baton the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra presented a stunning performance that exploded with energy, musical passion and dynamic flair. From the softest, most heart rending pianissimos in Åse’s death to the mightiest fortissimos in Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony, the orchestra and Han-Na had the audience enthralled.
A long standing ovation earned the audience a fantastic encore, announced by Han-Na in her mother tongue; Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King. The performance lifted the roof!
As if this spectacular musical homecoming wasn’t enough, waiting in her dressing room were Han-Na’s grandparents. It was a proud and emotional experience for them both to witness her return to Korea with TSO.
A truly magnificent and memorable evening was had by all. Hurray for Han-Na and TSO on tour in Korea!