Composer Unsuk Chin’s “Concerto for Violin and Orchestra” has won the 2004 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition.
Premiered in Berlin in January 2002 by violinist Viviane Hagner and the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester conducted by Kent Nagano, the 25-minute concerto has been described as “a synthesis of glittering orchestration, rarefied sonorities, volatility of expression, musical puzzles and unexpected turns.” Written in four movements, the work is influenced by both Western and Eastern traditions and blends aspects of older and more contemporary classical forms. An extremely demanding violin solo complements rather than competes with the orchestral material.
The concerto already has been performed by the Seoul Philharmonic and the Finnish Radio Symphony. The BBC Symphony Orchestra will perform the concerto in London in February, and the concerto’s U.S. premiere is in view. The work is dedicated to Robin and Steve Kim.
About Unsuk Chin
Unsuk Chin’s music crosses many boundaries.
Chin, winner of the 2004 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition for her “Concerto for Violin and Orchestra,” is known for the diversity of her music. Her works include music for voice, tape, electronics, solo piano, ensembles of every size as well as orchestra.
Chin, 42, began her musical career as a child in her native Seoul, Korea. She attended the Seoul National University, where she studied composition under Sukhi Kang. She appeared as pianist at the Pan Music Festivals and in 1984 her work “Gestalten” (“Figures”) was selected for the ISCM World Music Days in Canada and for UNESCO’s Rostrum for Composers.
In 1985 she moved to Hamburg, Germany, and studied composition with 1986 Grawemeyer winner György Ligeti. She has lived in Berlin since 1988 and most recently served as composer-in-residence with the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester, which commissioned the “Violin Concerto”.
Chin began receiving international acclaim in 1991 with the premiere of “Acrostic Wordplay” for soprano and ensemble, a work that has been performed in 13 countries. Her music is now conducted by leading figures including Kent Nagano, George Benjamin and Sir Simon Rattle.
Her first purely orchestral piece, “santika Ekatala” (1993), won first prize in a Japanese competition and was performed twice in October 1993 by the Metropolitan Orchestra of Tokyo. Her 1998 work “Xi,” for ensemble and electronics, commissioned by the Ensemble InterContemporain, won the Bourges Electroacoustic Music Prize.
Her Grawemeyer-winning work was premiered in Berlin in January 2002 by soloist Viviane Hagner and the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester conducted by Kent Nagano. The concerto has been performed by the Seoul Philharmonic and the Finnish Radio Symphony. The BBC Symphony Orchestra will perform the concerto in London in February.
Her most recent work, “Double Concerto” for piano, percussion and ensemble, received its world premiere by the Ensemble InterContemporain last winter in Paris.
Chin has two major composition projects on the horizon. A new work for voices and ensemble has been co-commissioned by the London Sinfonietta, Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, St Pölten Festival (Austria), and the Ensemble InterContemporain (Paris), for premiere in 2005. A stage work for the Los Angeles Opera is planned for premiere in the 2005/06 season.
She has composed works for the Ensemble InterContemporain, the Gaudeamus Foundation, the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, the Inventionen Festival in Berlin, the BBC, West German Radio, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Gothenburg Symphony, the Danish National Radio Symphony, the Oslo Philharmonic, and the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester in Berlin.
For more information on Unsuk Chin and her music, visit her website: www.boosey.com/chin