Kahchun Wong Makes New York Philharmonic Debut Conducting the Orchestra's Annual Lunar New Year Concert
Kahchun Wong, 32, Chief Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra and first prize winner of the 2016 Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition, will make his New York Philharmonic debut conducting the orchestra's annual Lunar New Year Concert on February 6, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. at David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center. A native of Singapore, Wong is only the second conductor-following Long Yu-given the honor to lead the Philharmonic's annual concert celebration of Asian culture and heritage. This concert also marks Wong's New York conducting debut.
The New York Philharmonic's 2019 Lunar New Year Concert will welcome the Year of the Pig with a program themed around the element of fire, including the U.S. premiere of Tan Dun's Violin Concerto: Fire Ritual (performed byBomsori Kim in her Philharmonic debut); Shin Arirang, Dong-Jin Kim's version of the iconic Korean folk song "Arirang,"and Mozart's "Der Hölle Rache" from The Magic Flute, both performed by soprano So Young Park in her Philharmonic debut; Liu Yuan's Train Toccata; and Stravinsky's Firebird Suite (1919 version). Continuing the annual tradition, the concert will also include the Spring Festival Overture by composer Li Huanzhi, recognizing the composer's centenary in 1919.
Wong's remarkable last-minute debut with the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra in October 2016 led to his appointment as Chief Conductor. In September 2018, Wong began his tenure as Chief Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra, leading the orchestra's season opening concert in a program that included the world premiere of Kah Hoe Yii's Concerto 4 Orchestra, Brahms' Violin Concerto in D Major with soloist Midori, and Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra.In October, Wong led the orchestra on a tour to Milan, Italy and Kepmten & Unterföhring, Germany.
Wong conducted the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra's New Year's Gala on January 5 and 6, 2019 featuring works by Oscar Straus and Richard Strauss; and will lead Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with mezzo-soprano Marina Prudenskaya in March 2019. Wong concludes the first season of his tenure as the orchestra's Chief Conductor on May 11 conductingPuccini's Preludio sinfonico and Capriccio sinfonico, Lalo's Cello Concerto in D minor, and Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4, "Italienische."
In December 2018, Wong made his debut with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, in a program that featured Dukas'sThe Sorcerer's Apprentice, Bartók's Piano Concerto No. 3 with Denis Kozhukhin, Barber's Adagio for Strings, and Stravinsky's Firebird Suite (1945). Bachtrack raved about the performance, writing "There was an obvious warmth between Wong and the players. He had a vision, taking the audience on the most extraordinary music journey."
Later this season, Wong will be a guest conductor with the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra (March 30), the Tonküstler Orchestra in Baden, Austria (April 5) and Wiener Neustadt (April 6), the Kyoto Symphony (May 18 and 19), and Nagoya Symphony (May 24 and 25).
A passionate advocate for access to arts education and the belief that music education has the power to inspire, Wong co-founded Project Infinitude, an inclusive arts initiative embracing children from diverse backgrounds. Recent initiatives have included immersive and sensory-friendly performances with young audiences sitting amongst the musicians and receiving red bean soup in Singapore, and cross-cultural collaborations involving the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra and the Singapore-based Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music. Wong and his co-founder Marina Mahler, granddaughter of the composer Gustav Mahler, aim to expand the project in a sustainable and thoughtful way.
Kahchun Wong Conducts the New York Philharmonic's Lunar New Year Concert
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
David Geffen Hall
New York City, New York
New York Philharmonic Orchestra
Kahchun Wong, conductor (debut)
Bomsori Kim, violin
So Young Park, soprano
LI HUANZHI Spring Festival Overture
LIU YUAN Train Toccata
Tan Dun Violin Concerto (U.S. premiere)
TRAD./arr. DONG-JIN KIM Shin Arirang
MOZART "Der Hölle Rache" from Die Zauberflöte
STRAVINSKY The Firebird Suite (1919 version)
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About Kahchun Wong
Praised by Musical America for the "depth and sincerity of his musicality," Singaporean conductor Kahchun Wong has quickly earned a reputation as one of the most exciting conductors of his generation. He first came to international attention after winning the 5th Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition in 2016, following in the footsteps of Gustavo Dudamel, who immediately invited him to the Los Angeles Philharmonic as a Conducting Fellow for the 2016/2017 season.
After a remarkable last-minute debut with the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra (Nürnberger Symphoniker) in October 2016, Wong was swiftly appointed as its next Chief Conductor from the 2018/2019 season. In addition to subscription concerts, Wong has also conducted the orchestra during its annual appearance at Klassik Open Air, the largest outdoor event of classical music in Europe. His inaugural season with the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra features a wide range of repertoire, from Beethoven and Mahler, to Bartók and Shostakovich, and contemporary composers such as Jörg Widmann, Takashi Yoshimatsu and Kah Hoe Yii.
In the 2018/2019 season, Wong will make his New York Philharmonic debut at the annual Lunar New Year concert, in addition to appearances with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Hamburger Symphoniker, Tonkünstler Vienna, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern (German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra), Moscow State Symphony Orchestra. In Japan, he will work with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony, Kyoto Symphony, Nagoya Symphony and Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra. He also returns to Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse and Staatsphilharmonie Rhineland-Pfalz with a focus on Mahler and Bruckner.
Recent notable highlights include his European debuts with the Czech Philharmonic, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Staatskapelle Weimar, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi di Trieste and Orquesta de València, as well as appearances in Asia with the Tokyo Philharmonic, Tokyo Symphony, Osaka Symphony, Kyushu Symphony, Hiroshima Symphony, National Symphony of Taiwan, Hangzhou Symphony and Shenzhen Symphony, as well as re-invitations to the China Philharmonic, Shanghai Symphony and Singapore Symphony.
Wong is a protégé of the late Kurt Masur and had the privilege of sharing the podium with him on multiple occasions in his final years. He has also assisted Esa-Pekka Salonen with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Gustavo Dudamel with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Iván Fischer with the Budapest Festival Orchestra as well as Valery Gergiev and Yannick Nézet-Séguin with the Rotterdam Philharmonic.
Wong's passionate belief in the transformative power of music education to uplift and inspire led him to create, in 2016, Project Infinitude: an inclusive arts initiative embracing children with special needs, in underserved communities, and from diverse backgrounds. In 2018, Project Infinitude launched a year-long immersive program with the Singapore-based non-profit Child at Street 11, leading activities that include children organizing their own concerts and composing their own music, in addition to cross-cultural collaborations between the Nuremberg Symphony orchestra and the Singapore's Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music. He and his co-founder Marina Mahler, granddaughter of the composer Gustav Mahler, aim to expand the project in a sustainable and thoughtful way in Singapore and beyond for all ages.