Along with the First Prize at the prestigious 2015 Chopin International Competition in Warsaw, Poland, pianist Seong-Jin Cho bagged an international spotlight and celebrity status in his home country of Korea, his CD recording sales surpassing even those of major K-Pop stars. A contract with Deutsche Grammophon and major international concert dates followed, and he has made fans of leading conductors including Valery Gergiev, Gianandrea Noseda, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
Cho’s recital is an extravagant program of fantasies and virtuosity. Johann Sebastian Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue was regarded as a unique and greatly admired masterpiece during his lifetime, later championed by Felix Mendelssohn, Johannes Brahms, and Franz Liszt. The Wanderer Fantasie is widely considered to be Franz Schubert’s most technically demanding piano work, as evidenced by his use of the piano as a surrogate orchestra and technique requiring an orchestral sound. Frédéric Chopin’s Polonaise-Fantasie combines Polish heroic gestures with romantic, dreamy melancholy. The program closes with Modest Mussorgsky’s famous and colorful Pictures at an Exhibition, inspired by a visit to an art exhibition.
Chicago debut recitals of important young artists are a hallmark of UChicago; Cho is one of the newest generation of leading talents, and his first Chicago appearance is one not to be missed.
6:30pm pre-concert lecture with John Lawrence
Bach: Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, BWV 903
Schubert: Fantasie in C Major, D. 760 (Wanderer Fantasie)
Chopin: Polonaise Fantasie, Op. 61
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition