Classical music and heavy metal are not mutually exclusive. It has been argued by many for a long time now that heavy metal has its roots in classical music – but then all musicians have a debt to that period. The difference with heavy metal, however, is that the similarities are more evident. Death Metal Underground claims that “the origins of heavy metal can be found in the late Romantic movement in art and literature whose imagery and ideals it carries to this day” (interview with founder here). This is true. Atmospheric bands like Agalloch or Alcest can be compared to the romantic genius of Frederic Chopin or Erik Satie. Instrumental powerhouses like Iron Maiden, who have various tempo and rhythm changes and many melodic arrangements, may also be compared to the greats like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart or the emotional storm that is Ludwig van Beethoven.
This is why I wanted to introduce to you a new talent in classical music, the South Korean pianist Jenna Sung. She has been playing her instrument since the age of three and made her debut with an orchestra at the age of ten. She has been performing at various competitions since the age of nine and she has performed in many cities all over the world including the United Kingdom – where she is currently based -, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Germany, Italy and France. She is a world-class professional pianist, who has studied music at university level in Berlin (Germany), Warsaw (Poland) and London (UK). She is recognised for her talent as she not only successfully performed at the famous Berlin Philharmonic in 2008 but she has also received praise from big media such as Gramophone, Westdeutsche Zeitung and the Polish Radio. Additionally, she takes part in chamber music collaborations such as the Castanea Trio and the Vercammen-Sung duo.
It is no wonder why Jenna Sung is increasingly receiving praise from all over the world and performing more and more concerts. She is not only a pianist. She plays her instrument with passion. Sung’s execution of notes is something more than just playing notes because she does not perform mechanically. Every note she hits paints a beautiful painting which even a thousand words could not describe. Every note is thought out and executed with a lot of precision (but not that of a death metal band!).
Jenna Sung does not have a vast collection of official recorded material. Not yet at least. Nonetheless, the live recording (February 2012) of her performance in South Korea performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 9 is an impeccable demonstration of her ability to perform on stage with an orchestra. Her latest recording entitled simply Fairy Tales which consists of works by a variety of composers (Chopin, Schubert, Scriabin, Granados and Ravel) is a perfect demonstration of Sung’s talented manipulation of the piano keys which enables you to embrace the atmosphere and take you to the land…of fairies. Her presentation can, therefore, be soothing and relaxing.
Let’s not forget, however, that she can perform various styles of music. Jenna Sung is able to execute flawlessly the oldest of styles from baroque, classical, romantic to modern-era styles of music. She can flex her artistic muscles and the perfect thing about it is that she can do all of this while at the same time sticking to the highest quality of performance. Perhaps, this explains why you should remember the name Jenna Sung because it is a name which should become a trademark in piano performance.
Upcoming Jenna Sung performances:
1 – Conway Hall, London
6 – Mansfield, London
10 – Vercammen-Sung Duo in Holland
7 – Charlton Concert Society, London
16 – Wigmore Hall, London
12 – Normandy, France