The guest artist at the ECSO’s November 18 concert will be Hyung Joon Won, a South Korean-born, Juilliard School-trained violinist, who will perform Antonín Dvořák’s impassioned Violin Concerto in A Minor, composed in 1879. In 2009, Won, who hopes to form an inter-Korean orchestra with North Korean members, founded the Lindenbaum Festival Orchestra, an annual music festival in South Korea promoting the message of peace and harmony through music. In 2018, ECSO Music Director & Conductor Toshiyuki Shimada joined Won in the Demilitarized Zone in South Korea for a Peace Concert, which featured members of the Yale Symphony and young musicians from South Korea, China, Japan, and Tunisia.
Prior to the Dvořák, the concert will open with the overture to L’Amant Anonyme (The Anonymous Lover), a 1780 comic opera by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. Fencer, dancer, violinist, and conductor, Saint Georges, a contemporary of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, is considered the first acclaimed classical composer of African descent.
After intermission, the ECSO will play Béla Bartók’s five-movement Concerto for Orchestra, which had its premiere in 1944 by the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Serge Koussevitzky. The piece makes use throughout of folk melodies from Bartók’s native Hungary—which he left for New York in 1940—also quoting a song from Franz Lehár’s operetta The Merry Widow in the humorous fourth movement, the “interrupted intermezzo.”