Hyung Joon Won, Maestro Toshiyuki Shimada
Although North and South Korea share a language and traditional culture, they still remain divided since 1945 and the two countries are technically at war until now. No communications between the two countries and people from both sides are not allowed to travel to either side unless both governments permit. Ironically, there was a classical movement by a U.S. Orchestral organization visiting North Korea which performed the traditional folk song “Arirang” shared by the two Koreas. In 2008, the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Lorin Maazel visited Pyongyang, North Korea and “Arirang Fantasy” was performed. This piece was composed by the North Korean composer, Choi Sung-hwan. What makes this Arirang so special, is that it not only shares traditional music for both Koreas, but also the hidden power of bringing people together!
South Korean violinist Hyung Joon Won has received the “Fair Saturday Foundation Award” at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao in 2022 for holding a joint performance between North and South Koreas in Shanghai, China and Stockholm, Sweden in 2019. In 1990, Won represented South Korea when he performed at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Switzerland. The forum, which celebrated the 1990 reunification of East and West Germany, inspired Won to think of music as a medium of reconciliation. In 2017, he performed and gave a speech at UN Geneva as a Peace Talks speaker after a former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan. Such performances strengthened his resolve to leverage his musical career for the reunification of North and South Korea. Since 2017, Won has collaborated with Toshiyuki Shimada and the members from Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra and Yale Symphony Orchestra by organizing the DMZ Peace Concert (2018) and the Jeju Island Peace Workshop (2019).
Toshiyuki Shimada, a former Music Director at Yale University, is currently the Music Director and Conductor of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra in New London, Music Director and Conductor of the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes, and Music Director and Conductor of the New Britain Symphony Orchestra. He was Music Director of the Yale Symphony Orchestra from 2005 to 2019, and had been Associate Professor of Conducting with Yale School of Music and Department of Music. Recently, Shimada guest conducted the Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra in Istanbul, and the Lindenbaum Festival Orchestra which he conducted at the World Peace Day Concert at Korean DMZ and Jeju Island.
Hyung Joon Won (violin)
Yeseo Shim (violin)
Jungmin Youn (piano)
Ellie Kim (violin)
Eunji Ryu (cello)
Lectures by Hyung Joon Won and Toshiyuki Shimada and a Q&A session to follow the performances.