Denis Sung-ho Janssens leads four string artists on ‘journey to the sun’
Italian composer and violin virtuoso Niccolo Paganini (1782-1840) was also a guitarist, composing more than 100 songs for guitar. Paganini’s Sonata for Violin and Guitar in E minor became especially famous in Korea after it was used as background music in the 1995 SBS drama “Sandglass.”
Korean-born Belgian guitarist Denis Sung-ho Janssens will take three friends ― who are among the top violin, viola and cello performers ― to perform together in the concert, “Traveling Paganini: Journey to the Sun,” at the LG Arts Center in Seoul on March 16.
The first part of the program includes diverse Paganini pieces, ranging from a solo guitar piece “Collection de Ghiribizzi 1-5” to violin and guitar duo “Sonata Concertata in A Major,” to a trio of viola, cello, guitar “Terzetto D maj MS 113” to “Quartet 15, movement 1, 4 and 5.”
The second half will be more diverse, including composers from different Latin countries. It will start with Spanish composer Manuel de Falla’s “3 Spanish Dances” for viola and guitar, and continue with Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos’ “Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5” for cello and guitar. The concert will conclude with Argentine tango composer Astor Piazzolla’s works including “Nightclub 1960” for violin and guitar and a quartet piece “Oblivion.”
Clockwise from top left: Guitarist Denis Sung-ho Janssens, violinist Lorenzo Gatto, cellist Song Young-hoon and violist Lyda Chen Argerich in the poster for “Travelling Paganini: Journey to the Sun.” (Sens Management)
Janssens, who was adopted by a Belgian family immediately after his birth in Busan in 1975, became famous in Korea in recent years when the story of his search for his birth mother was broadcast on TV.
Often called as Denis Sung-ho here, the artist won first prize at Belgium’s national “Young Talent” competition at 14. He was named “The Rising Star” by the European Concert Hall Organization in 2004 and debuted at the Carnegie Hall in 2005.
Last year, Denis Sung-ho released an album encompassing the complete cycle of Paganini’s “Ghiribizzi” on the NAXOS label.
For the violin part, the 2009 Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition second winner Lorenzo Gatto will join the stage, while Swiss violist Lyda Chen Argerich, elder daughter of legendary pianist Martha Argerich, will exhibit her talent as well.
Song Young-hoon, arguably the most sought after cellist in Korea, will collaborate with the three artists. Song’s recordings include a 2009 album of Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich sonatas with pianist Andrius Zlabys, a 2007 album “Song of Brazil” with U.S. guitarist Jason Vieaux and a 2006 Piazolla album with Japanese tango quartet Cuatrocientos.
“Travelling Paganini: Journey to the Sun” will be held at the LG Arts Center in Seoul on March 16 at 8 p.m. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 100,000 won. For details, call (02) 3436-5222.
By Kim Yoon-mi (email@example.com