One World Symphony Recent Press & Reviews
Jenna Douglas of Canada’s Schmopera previews One World Symphony’s Defiant on January 22, 2017 at Holy Apostles Church in New York City.
“Defiance is truly the theme of this programme. Beethoven defied his deafness, Chaplin and Obama the violence and hatred of their times, and composers like Margaret Allison Bonds and Valerie Capers (the first blind composer to graduate from Juilliard) produced their work defiantly amid the racism, ableism, and sexism that pervaded their lives.”
One World Symphony’s Defiant and Sung Jin Hong were featured this week across several Turkish publications… but not where you may expect!
Edip Emil Öymen, a technology journalist in Istanbul, became interested in Sung Jin Hong’s Michelle Obama: Shaken me to my core (2017 world premiere) as a symbol of innovation. Mr. Öymen has previously featured Sung Jin Hong’s Breaking Bad — Ozymandias.
NY Culture Beat features
DEFIANT as Top Story
Sukie Park of NY Culture Beat interviews Sung Jin Hong about DEFIANT:
"Instead of criticizing or investing an ounce of its energy towards negativity, One World Symphony’s mission is to encourage and uplift. We are proud to embrace Michelle Obama's modus operandi: "When they go low, we go HIGH!"
Over the last sixteen years, One World Symphony has been deeply rooted in its vision to serve our community through powerful music that heals and inspires. For One World Symphony, art is activism, empowerment, and a tangible instrument to give voice to the oppressed and the silenced."
"The program, curated by composer-conductor Sung Jin Hong, will include works by black female composers including Margaret Bonds and Valerie Capers, composers inspired by Middle Eastern culture (including the female Turkish poet Bejan Matur), and 4 world premieres addressing the spirit of our times — Michelle Obama: Shaken me to my core and Charlie Chaplin: The Great Dictator."
Defiant: Beethoven, Chaplin, M. Obama, World Premieres
"Defiant" on Sunday, January 22, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. at Holy Apostles, Manhattan
Works by Beethoven, Margaret Bonds, Valerie Capers
World premieres inspired by Michelle Obama, Charlie Chaplin, and Middle Eastern culture.
During World War II, Charlie Chaplin appealed for a new world where tolerance, love, and kindness reigned. His impassioned speech from the 1940 film The Great Dictator resonates today more than ever. Seventy-six years later, with vocal gravitas, Michelle Obama delivered an ardent address condemning the abuse and harassment of women. Not only did her words crystallize feelings of outrage and hurt, her message went beyond the politics of the moment. It tapped far deeper into the heart of the issue — confronting our future as brothers and sisters and our shared humanity...
Sam Reising of I CARE IF YOU LISTEN selected One World Symphony's Tribute & Fellowship for Lloyd Arriola as a Pick of the Week for August 22-28.
Over 70 One World Symphony musicians will rally in memory of Lloyd on Sunday, August 28th, 2016, 8:00pm at Church of the Holy Apostles in New York City. Works by Beethoven, Arvo Pärt, Joan Tower, Lawrence Rush and Lloyd Arriola will be performed.
Immediately following the musical tribute there will be a special fellowship (potluck reception) with live jazz by The Bob Page Trio.
London music commentator and critic Norman Lebrecht is helping One World Symphony "rally" to honor pianist, conductor, and teacher Lloyd Paguia Arriola, who passed away on July 17, 2016 at the age of 43. Lebrecht announced on Slipped Disc One Word's Tribute & Fellowship, which will be held on Sunday, August 28th at 8:00 p.m. at Church of the Holy Apostles, NYC.
Around seventy One World Symphony musicians will rally to the memory of a dear friend and passionate artist by performing music by Beethoven, Arvo Pärt, Joan Tower, Lawrence Rush, and a composition of his own creation. In the spirit of celebrating a joyful and generous spirit, there will be a fellowship (potluck reception) immediately following the musical tribute where guests will be serenaded by The Bob Page Jazz Trio.
Ian Holubiak of Classicalite wrote: "Comparing history's Western composing elite to the echelon of Star Wars mega-heroes and villains is no easy task. Take the first comparison, Mr. Leonard Bernstein and bad boy Han Solo. While it may not seem applicable, there's a correlation that's hard to deny once you take the time to read the quotes."
Classicalite Feature: Hannibal Recording Session
"The local fare of classical music in New York City is a breeding ground for new material. Of this pool is Sung Jin Hong and One World Symphony--an organization boasting heartfelt and original material, from a Breaking Bad opera to their most recent Hannibal... When I was invited to attend the premiere of Breaking Bad–Ozymandias last year I was floored at the deftness of their conductor, Sung Jin Hong, and his ensemble. But that was a year ago and their new production, Hannibal, is a 2015 smash that has been written up extensively by the media. A thoughtful concerto, Classicalite was able to witness the recording of the piece before it hits the floor of the Internet as a full blown single."
Review of Hannibal by Composers of Sibelius: “Hannibal's Canticle”
“Imagine, a week before Halloween, sitting in an elaborate House of Worship listening to a serial killer sing of his crimes, the wall behind him splattered with blood. Get your Goth on, NYC! One World Symphony has once again created an experience unmatched in its ability to bring to life the surreal. Orchestral sections take turns drumming out heart beats that resonate within your terrified chest. Medical staff are on hand, under the guise of educating willing audience members on hands-only CPR as a pre-show educational perk, but in reality are there to resurrect any audience members whose frail hearts succumb to the macabre undulations of that unholy Canticle of evil.”
Photo by Jaka Vinšek
Review of Hannibal by Very Nerdy Curly
“The opera followed the events of season one, delving into the depths of Hannibal’s mind and taking Will, as well as the audience, along with him. Part one focused on what exactly turned Hannibal into a cannibal. Mischa stood in the pulpit of the church, calling Hannibal’s name while the woodwinds in the orchestra, a tribute to Hannibal’s victims, cried out in what seemed to be despair and sadness. Hannibal drifted through the crowd (and I bounced excitedly in my seat) as the music continued, carrying us through his nightmares.”
Photo by Jaka Vinšek
Fannibals' Reviews/Buzz on Social Media
“He (Sung Jin) was very generous with his time, hugging all of the Hannibal fans...I loved that Hannibal’s part was sung by a countertenor, which was very unexpected. The singer’s work accessed something raw, wounded, and spellbinding. It was restrained yet unrestrained. The choice of a countertenor opened the world of the character’s inner conflicts, and laid bare some unexpected complexities.” - oh-doctor-lecter
“I greatly enjoyed the Hannibal opera last night. I thought I’d share the program notes for anyone who couldn’t make it! Two things really stuck out to me. First, the “Hannibal Rising” portion of the opera was almost entirely wordless, except for the spirit of Mischa repeating Hannibal’s name from time to time. The piece was beautiful and very interesting, and really captured the flavor of controlled mayhem of Hannibal Before Will Graham.” - confusedkayt
“Me gasping when they reenacted Mizumono. Hannibal stroking Will’s face and me dying. I really think Bryan Fuller (creator of NBC's Hannibal) would’ve loved this. For me, having such things that I think about and have obsessed over for years performed live was quite a unique and wonderful and super weird experience. I hope the performers didn’t mind my out of control facial expressions too much, as we were in the front, like feet away from them.” - revnickie
Hannibal Review by Canada's Schmopera
One World Symphony’s Sunday premiere of Hannibal was like a psychopathic serial killer: equally immense and intimate. Mashing Stravinsky's “Sacrificial Dance” up against Fauré’s Requiem against composer Sung Jin Hong’s interpretation of a television show made for a sublimely appropriate start to Halloween week...when the cast then mingles amidst the audience and the church’s pristine columns, you’ve got opera up close. Hong’s tangible approach is fresh, for both seasoned opera-goers and unseasoned “Fannibals” alike...Wearing blotches of fiery red lipstick, stilettos and neckties, the symphony soared through the scores that preluded Hong’s Hannibal premiere--juxtaposing the hellish with celestial, fierce brooding with gentle pastoral."
Bryan Fuller tweets about Sung Jin Hong's Hannibal (2015)
The creator of NBC's hit drama series Hannibal, Bryan Fuller, tweeted about — One World Symphony's world premiere of Hannibal (2015)!
THIS SOUNDS AMAZING!!! 5 Questions With The 'Hannibal' Opera Composer/Conductor Sung Jin Hong https://t.co/DZ2TGqaz7A— Bryan Fuller (@BryanFuller) October 25, 2015
Jess Goodwin of Hannibal Fannibals interviews One World Symphony's Sung Jin Hong:
“I forgive you, Will… will you forgive me?” – Hannibal Lecter
"Bryan Fuller’s vision of Hannibal might be on pause right now, but Fannibals are keeping it alive and well not only in our hearts (and social media), but, in the case of One World Symphony conductor Sung Jin Hong, on the stage as well. In what promises to be an adaptation worthy of Hannibal Lecter’s refined tastes, Hong has taken the series and twisted it into his latest “operasode.”
Sung Jin Hong's Hannibal (2015) in The New York Times
Hannibal (Sunday) As in Hannibal Lecter. And he’s getting the opera treatment in this premiere with One World Symphony. The conductor, Sung Jin Hong, also wrote the music for this follow-up to his 2014 opera “Breaking Bad — Ozymandias.” Other items on the evening’s program include selections from Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” Fauré‘s Requiem and Bach’s “Goldberg” Variations, as well as the Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho’s 2005 work “Ballade.” At 8 p.m., Holy Apostles Church, 296 Ninth Avenue, at West 28th Street, Chelsea.
The Daily Dot's Feature Interview of Sung Jin Hong Previewing Hannibal
Aja Romano (a.k.a. bookshop) of The Daily Dot previews One World Symphony’s world premiere production of Hannibal (2015). Her interview of composer-conductor Sung Jin Hong discuss diverse topics, including genderqueer, mad scenes, audience engagement, and our current zeitgeist:
“When One World Symphony conductor Sung Jin Hong developed the idea of “operasodes” based on modern pop culture phenomena, he knew he was building on a vast cultural tradition of remixing and adapting works across mediums to reach new audiences... It was clear he'd hit paydirt on an idea that spoke to the community — and to the Internet. One World has been focusing on community involvement since its formation in 2001, in the wake of Sept. 11. But Hong's operasodes have helped usher it into a new phase of audience interactivity.”
CUNY TV’s Arts in the City Feature Interview
Reporter Paul Lin’s feature on One World Symphony aired on April 10, 2015 as a part of CUNY TV’s Arts in the City program — a monthly look at the lively arts scene in the New York metropolitan area hosted by Magalie Laguerre-Wilkinson. Lin spoke with Composer-Conductor Sung Jin Hong and Managing Director Adrienne Metzinger about One World Symphony’’s mission and history, Operasodes®, and Hong’s upcoming opera based on Hannibal Lecter. Recipient of Emmy, Telly, and Communicator Awards, CUNY TV is the largest professionally staffed university television station in the country. The feature will air Fridays (April 24, May 8 at 10:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m., and 8:30 p.m.) and Sundays (April 19 at 4:30 p.m., April 26 and May 10 at 12:00 p.m.). CUNY TV is digitally broadcast throughout the tri-state area on Channel 25.3 and cablecast on Ch. 75 (Time Warner and Cablevision/Optimum Brooklyn), Ch. 77 (RCN), and Ch. 30 (Verizon). It is also available online at http://www.cuny.tv/show/artsinthecity/PR2004066.
CUNY TV’s Asian American Life features One World Symphony
On April 3, CUNY TV — the largest professionally staffed university television station in the country — aired reporter Paul Lin’s interview and feature on One World Symphony and Composer-Conductor Sung Jin Hong as a part of the station’s Asian American Life program, an in-depth news magazine showcase that addresses topical issues affecting the Asian American communities nationwide and profiles Asian American leaders. Lin spoke with Hong and Managing Director Adrienne Metzinger about One World Symphony’s mission, history, Operasodes®, and Hong’s upcoming opera based on Hannibal Lecter. The feature will air again on Friday, April 17 (10:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m., 8:30 p.m.) and Sunday, April 19 (12:00 p.m.). It is available online at http://www.cuny.tv/show/asianamericanlife/PR2004048. CUNY TV is digitally broadcast throughout the tri-state area on Channel 25.3 and cablecast on Ch. 75 (Time Warner and Cablevision/Optimum Brooklyn), Ch. 77 (RCN), and Ch. 30 (Verizon).
Operasodes ¿Qué es eso? Vivimos inmersos en una globalización que día a día crece y abarca constantemente más espacio. Si a esto añadimos el mestizaje e intercambio entre culturas, estilos, géneros, etc., no es de asombrar que “de cuando en vez” aparezca algún tipo de combinación sui generis como ésta. Y así es que surgen las operasodes, que no son más que la curiosa mezcla de un género tan antiguo como la ópera, con las series televisivas que tan de moda se han puesto en los últimos años. Parece una locura, pero sí que está sucediendo. Lo más interesante es que la iniciativa no la ha tomado un compositor norteamericano, latino o europeo (que de alguna manera han estado más cerca de la tradición operística) sino un compositor de origen coreano, aunque afincado en New York. Sí, Sung Jin Hong, creador y director de la New York City’s One World Symphony..."
“ ‘Al unir dos ‘estándares’ deliciosos puedes conseguir la combinación ganadora. Se ven ejemplos constantemente: Spanglish, Tex Mex, kimchi tacos…’ ” Con las Operasodes, Hong y la One World Simphony parecen haber dado con la el híbrido ideal, sin embargo hace ya tiempo que vieron en la cultura contemporánea su fuente de inspiración para conseguir nuevos seguidores de la música clásica. Sung Jin Hong compuso una pieza basada en el bestseller de Paulo Coelho, El alquimista”, enumeran desde la orquesta.”
Indiewire's Casey Cipriani interviews Managing Director and mezzo-soprano Adrienne Metzinger and composer-bassist Justin Lee. Lee's Hodor Suite (2015) will be given its world premiere in One World's Games of Thrones Operasode. One World artists Heather Green as Salomé and Fernando Araujo as Rigoletto are also featured in the article.
Textura Reviews One World Symphony’s Debut Album: “Magnanimous, bold, richly evocative”
“Inspired by Sung Jin Hong’s return after twenty-five years to his homeland Korea and his visit to the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), 2010’s Eye of the Storm, is a kaleidoscopic tone painting that draws upon a number of experiences, including the sounds of Korean drummers and visits to a Buddhist temple and his grandfather’s grave. Richly evocative and emotional, the material speaks strongly on behalf of the conductor’s composing ability... There’s no doubting the visceral power of its reading of Ravel’s ‘Danse general’ (Daphnis et Chloe)...That its programming is bold is borne out by the selections included on the company’s debut CD, and its magnanimous side is impressively documented in the thousands of dollars benefit concerts have generated for a multitude of organizations and causes; in fact, all net proceeds from the debut album will be passed on to NYC’s Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.” — Ron Schepper, Textura
One World Symphony's DEBUT CD Broadcast on Delmarva Public Radio
On November 7, 2014, host Kara Dahl Russell of Delmarva Public Radio WSCL 89.5 broadcasted One World Symphony's debut CD. She called Sung Jin Hong's Breaking Bad - Ozymandias (2014) "ground-breaking" and "created a hook that is undeniable, and bound to create interest." She also graciously noted: "What IS telling on this CD is the pairing and presentation of these new works with time-tested favorite orchestral works which beautifully show off the talent of the orchestra. Works by Ravel, Stravinsky and Britten bump up the melody quotient and give the audience something familiar, enjoyable, and demonstrate the orchestra and conductor's real strength. The fact that these musicians have come together in support of both new and established works, and such a great cause is reason enough to support this endeavor. I just want to encourage our listeners again... BUY THE CD."
Listen to Illinois Public Media WILL Radio's Jim Meadows feature-interview with Sung Jin Hong. One World Symphony's world premiere performance of Sung Jin Hong's Breaking Bad — Ozymandias (2014) and Hong's sketch of his next world premiere opera Hannibal (2015) are aired.
“Sung Jin Hong’s musical journey includes stops in Peoria and New York City. One of Hong’s role models was the late Leonard Bernstein, the conductor and composer who spent many years in New York City and wasn’t shy about seeking a mass audience.”
One World Symphony making the waves in Canada's Captial
On October 2, One World Symphony made its Canadian broadcast debut on CKCU FM 93.1 (Ottawa) when host David Dalle aired selections from Sung Jin Hong's Breaking Bad – Ozymandias and Rite of the Cicada.
During the broadcast Dalle stated:
"Looking at their [One World Symphony's] programming over the past few years and their programming this year gives me one more reason to be jealous of the access to music that you have in New York City... Hopefully there will be a full recording of it [Breaking Bad – Ozymandias] in the future and I will feature it on my show."
“Cersei Lannister… would make Salomé look like a virgin saint.”
If you ask Game of Thrones fans, they might say that the show, with all its shifts in power, sudden murders, and heartbreaking romances, is exactly like a soap opera. But apparently it’s got just as much in common with classical opera.
“The show has all the drama, intrigue, and passion that operas have been providing us for centuries: seduction, obsession, deception, political manoeuvring, romance, heartbreak, incest – to name a few,” says Sung Jin Hong, artistic director and composer conductor of One World Symphony, a New York City-based company dedicated to “adventurous” programming.
One World Symphony would like to thank the following for sharing the video about One World Symphony's Operasodes®— Games of Thrones: AOL Entertainment, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Clip Syndicate, Consumer Info Pages, Dailymotion, Daily Search, Daily Zip, Fox 23, Fox 30, Grab Press, Hits 97.3, Ice FM, If Search, Kiro TV, KTVU, Mix 96 Tulsa, Music Jehad, My Magic 94.9, My Music My Life, NewsBanana, New Tang Dynasty TV, North Fork View, Power Athens, TV Series News, Stoneagethriller, Utroll, WEDR, WFTV 9, WPIX, WSOC TV, WTEV 47, WTVP 9, Yahoo Movies, 95.3 The Eagle, 98.9 WMMO, 99.5 Kiss Rocks, 106.1 BLI.
Operasodes® Attracts Attention from National and International Press
One World Symphony attracts attention from the national and international press again with Operasodes®. Brian Moylan of UK's The Guardian broke the story on One World Symphony's 2014/15 season: Operasodes. The popular article has more than 1,600 Facebook shares. One World Symphony would like to thank everyone (the press, bloggers, tumblrers, guests) for sharing our passion for adventurous and imaginative programming and inspiring and immersive experiences together.
Bannablefannibal: "He (Sung Jin Hong) made a cannibal joke. I like the cut of this Hong guy's gib."
Athena Cosplay, Atypica Uporotyph-VK (Russian), Chicago's WFMT, Cherished Saulie, Conceptions of a Madman, Dream Shadows, Dreiser7, Durnesque-Esque, Fallen Angel, Hades is King, Hannibal's Music, Hannigram, He is the Devil, Hufflepufflooseinthelibrary, Just One Guy, Les Sabateur, Magnesiumqueen, Mikkelthings, Ninagiry, Occupation: Girl, Operasrsly, Phoenix Down, Silence of the Fannibals, Sobre Mim, Stage Right, The Gestian Poet, This is a Matter of Taste, Tooraloora, Will Graham Musing
"It is perhaps like an insatiable drinker that Sung Jin Hong maintains such prolificacy — and with such a deft hand and approach to his original pieces." – Ian Holubiak, Classicalite
Hannibal Opera Teaser Trailer attracts Press and Public attention
Sung Jin Hong's Hannibal Serial Opera Teaser Trailer has been shared by Bloody Disgusting, Moviepilot, Classicalite, Ditmas Park Corner, 15minutesNews, Classical 91.7 Houston Public Radio. Drew Grimm Van Ess of Moviepilot said: "This one's going to be the one to drag me off of my couch and into the madness."
Classic FM Exclusive! Listen to Breaking Bad — Ozymandias on UK's favourite classical station
REVIEW: One World Symphony Premiere Sung Jin Hong’s Breaking Bad — Ozymandias at Church of the Holy Apostles
One World Symphony’s world premiere performance of Sung Jin Hong’s first opera Breaking Bad — Ozymandias (2014) was reviewed by Classicalite’s Ian Holubiak. He wrote: “Sung Jin Hong may have created something of a masterpiece...So, while you may have missed the moment to witness a heart-breaking work of staggering ingenuity, Hong won’t be leaving us anytime soon.”Photo by Jaka Vinšek
RaveReviewsNYC: “’Yo, Bitch’ – Next Time Don’t Miss One World Symphony’s Breaking Bad — Ozymandias”Above photos by Adrienne Metzinger
Breaking Bad is So Good
“It is filled with the requisite dissonances, dissonances much sharper than any found in the night's previous works; rich, sumptuous dissonances which make the fleeting climactic consonances all the sweeter and more rewarding. Breaking Bad — Ozymandias is a profoundly striking work with roots deep in the soul of man.”
Photo by Jaka Vinšek
Everything You Wanted to Know About the Breaking Bad Opera
Esquire’s Hilary Hughes features One World Symphony and Dorothy Smith Jacobs (Jane Margolis in Sung Jin Hong’s Breaking Bad — Ozymandias). “Throw in an absurdly talented orchestra and a handful of powerful voices - including Jacobs — and you’ve got the reinvention of a modern classic that you never saw coming.”
Photo by Jaka Vinšek
One World Symphony Listed as Critics Pick, Best Event, Impressive Date Ideas
"Ladies, finally an opera our men would want take us to, and maybe shed a tear or two." – Channel 95.1, iHeart Radio
One World Symphony is listed as critic’s pick, top and most popular events in Time Out New York, Urbanette, Untapped Cities, NewYork.com, and on iHeart Radio. Thompson Hotels also wrote: “One thing’s for sure — one man’s downward spiral never sounded so good.”
Classic FM Front Page Feature: One World Symphony and
Sung Jin Hong
Mel Spencer of Classic FM, the U.K.’s favourite classical music station, interviewed Sung Jin Hong, and it appeared on the front page of their website. The interview discusses the origins of the Heisenberg Chord and the Heisenberg Rhythm and more.
One World and Sung Jin Hong make New York Music Daily’s Best of 2013 List
“The literally most shattering musical moment of 2013 was back in May, at a concert in Chelsea when the One World Symphony premiered a piece for timpani, gongs and bass drum by their composer/conductor Sung Jin Hong, written as a real-time depiction of an atomic bomb detonating. Lingering with a firestorm of waves for what seemed minutes on end, it captured that catastrophic horror more evocatively than words could possibly have expressed.”
From New York Music Daily’s 100 Best Songs of 2013 (comprising of diverse styles: rock, folk, country, gospel, reggae, jazz, and more), Alan Young described Sung Jin Hong’s Edge (2013). The monodrama based on Sylvia Plath’s final poem was scored for timpani, gongs, and bass drum as well as for full symphony orchestra with saxophones and vocal soloist. One World Symphony and vocal artist Sara Paar gave the world premiere performances in May 2013 under the guidance of composer-conductor Sung Jin Hong. Hong would like to give credit to the live dedicated musicians and passionate audiences who brought the score — “the blueprint” — to life.
Top photo: Jaka Vinšek
Bottom Photo: Adrienne Metzinger
Time Out New York Cover Feature: Sung Jin Hong’s Breaking Bad — Ozymandias
Sung Jin Hong's Breaking Bad — Ozymandias is featured on the cover of this week's Time Out New York magazine (December 5–11, 2013) as a part of its 2014 Winter Preview – “Your Perfect Winter.” Kenny Herzog interviewed composer-conductor Sung Jin Hong about One World Symphony's world premiere performances of his mini-opera on January 26–27, 2014. The interview is highlighted among dozens of other New York City winter events. Kenny Herzog wrote: “Composer Sung Jin Hong gives Walter White & Co. an epic sung-through homage.”
BBC Features One World Symphony and Sung Jin Hong
BBC’s award-winning writer and journalist Clemency Burton-Hill, who also hosts The Proms, recently interviewed composer-conductor Sung Jin Hong and wrote in the feature article which appeared on the front page of the website: “Hong, if refreshingly unpretentious, is no musical lightweight. So why does he want to give Breaking Bad the operatic treatment?”
U.K.’s The Independent feature: New York’s hippest orchestra to create Breaking Bad opera
“Sung Jin Hong notes: ‘Shelley’s Ozymandias reminds us that human life and materialistic values are temporary and are bound to end. All are subject to the laws of time. How about the classics — works by Beethoven and Van Gogh? Some time in the future, can we possibly consider Breaking Bad a contemporary classic of Greek or Shakespearean magnitude?’ ”
Breaking Bad — Ozymandias draws the attention of national and international press
Just hours after One World Symphony announced its world premiere performances of Breaking Bad — Ozymandias (2014), press from around the world showed interest and support.
In other languages:
Review of ALIVE!
“The long awaited star of the evening, Rite of the Cicada by Maestro Sung Jin Hong, featured audience participation, recorded sound, vocal soloist, and orchestra. From the opening dissonances to the final sounds — the music is gorgeous in a way that, when you think about all the cycles of life on this planet both strange and familiar, transcends music.”
Photos by Adrienne Metzinger
Review: An Explosive Finale to the One World Symphony Season
“Hong programmed the world premiere of his own Edge immediately after [Doctor Atomic], a bold and potentially suicidal choice given the previous work’s pyrotechnics. That the conductor’s equally haunting narrative — a setting of Sylvia Plath’s final poem, loaded with vengeful Medea references — wasn’t anticlimactic speaks to its power, and the orchestra’s commitment to it.... Few orchestras would take such a gamble by ending their season on such a dark note; then again, this ensemble has no fear of taking chances.”
Photos by Adrienne Metzinger
Review of Gatsby, Streetcar, Atomic, Edge (World Premiere)
“...that is what I experienced Sunday evening: beautiful, shadow-tinged, haunting music, from the nostalgic opening pieces to the hauntingly ominous closing work (a world premiere by Sung Jin Hong entitled Edge).”
Photos by Adrienne Metzinger
Review by Lucid Culture: An Inspiring Benefit Concert by One World Symphony
“One World Symphony has built a reputation as one of Manhattan’s first-class niche orchestras. Their season is shorter and their programming more diverse than, say, the New York Phil, but with a vintage Ormandy-era Philadelphia Orchestra sheen and heft, they are a mighty beast. To add context, Hong also led the orchestra through his own richly swirling arrangement of the obscure Clara Schumann song Liebst du um Schönheit, sung with potently evocative restraint by mezzo-soprano Adrienne Metzinger.”
Photos above by Adrienne Metzinger and Abigail Wolff
Review of Ecstasy by Tuxedo Revolt: One World Symphony Makes Music for Humanity
“The Architect (world premiere composition by Sung Jin Hong) definitely took the audience on a complex emotional, and perhaps, spiritual journey as the piece was received with a standing ovation. Through innovative concert programming, to in-concert discussions about what makes the music relate to the concert’s theme, to the intimate spaces in which the orchestra typically performs — make no mistake, One World Symphony is one of New York City’s most liquid, adaptive, and creative orchestras.”
Photos above by Iconography By... Eric and Christopher
The NY Examiner Reviews One World Symphony’s Season Finale
“I definitely felt the passion as One World Symphony drives home with a powerful finale with a delivery of such a dynamic programming and vibrant performances. An amazing performance that was propelled forth with real drive and energy. Sung Jin Hong is brilliant and One World Symphony created a complete masterpiece.”
NY Japion Features One World Symphony’s Concert for Japan
NY Japion, a weekly Japanese newspaper, featured One World Symphony’s Concert for Japan in their April 15th issue. The concert, held on April 3rd, 2011, benefitted the American Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Fund. An emotionally engaged audience enjoyed the final movement from Mahler’s Third Symphony, Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, an audience sing-along of John Lennon’s Imagine, and Sung Jin Hong’s Eye of the Storm specially revised to pay tribute to our brothers and sisters across the Pacific. Members from One World Symphony, including Artistic Director and Conductor Sung Jin Hong were interviewed for the feature.
Music Review of Nordic Lights by Operaticus: Aquavit for the Soul
“It is surely one of the delights of life in New York City that one can wander into a little church on a stormy night and be treated to a concert of exceptional quality by lesser-known performers. The unorthodox One World Symphony, now in its tenth year under founder-conductor Sung Jin Hong, offered in its ‘Nordic Lights’ program an evening remarkable for its conviction, elegance, and big-hearted lushness.” (Photo by Jasa Vinšek)
Music Review of Nordic Lights by Harry Rolnick of ConcertoNet
“Sung Jin Hong may be the most ambitious conductor working today. With a more than passable orchestra of around 60, he has essayed the most difficult contemporary music (Takemitsu, Crumb etc), along with operas ranging from Mozart and Bernstein to Samuel Barber’s Vanessa. I saw two of them, Janáček’s Cunning Little Vixen and Strauss’s Ariadne, both superior productions.”
Posted in The Volume by Olivia Giovetti on May 10
As it closes in on its tenth-anniversary season (which will open on September 17), One World Symphony continues to remind us of why it’s highly likely it will be around for decades to come. Not only does the bubbly ensemble present a unique blend of new music with old and oft-neglected gems, it does so with superb players and, in its operatic presentations, top-flight casts, all led by artistic director Sung Jin Hong. This weekend’s production of Janácek’s The Cunning Little Vixen was no exception.
Ansche Chesed Synagogue on the Upper West Side presents several challenges for an opera staging: The cramped space doesn’t allow for a lavish production and the acoustics are not singer-friendly. (We’re curious to see how the company fares in its other regular haunt, St. Ann and the Holy Trinity in Brooklyn Heights.) Tempering some ingenuity with a sense of humor, stage director Adrienne Metzinger created a fanciful world evocative of the Bohemian woods. Dragonflies buzzed down one aisle while fox cubs scampered down another; a drunken schoolmaster (resonantly sung by Oliver Söhngen) found ample stumbling space, and a keen amount of tension was created when Vixen was shot.
As Vixen, soprano Verunka Vlkova had a shimmering top and a charming presence, though her lower register was often muddied by the synagogue acoustics. She makes cute with Fox (Kathryn Janssen) with a ravishing love duet that allowed their voices to soar. Tenor José Pietri-Coimbre was a valiant last-minute replacement as Forester, singing from a score in hand yet remaining on par with his colleagues. Everyone struggled with enunciation (an amplified concern in such a small space and in an English-language translation), but the polished orchestra’s flawless reading of the score made up for any shortcomings.
Prior to the overture, Hong gave a quick lecture on Janácek’s piece, reorchestrated here by composer Jonathan Dove in an arrangement that fit the orchestra like a tailor-made glove. The five-minute dissection of the love duet could easily be turned into a 30-minute preconcert talk by Hong. While he is incredibly knowledgeable, he is also passionate, which makes the experience all the more illuminating. See what we mean June 4 and 6 with One World’s season finale, an all-Parisian program.
By Koh Young-aah
Even in this age of crossovers, it is still hard to come by a classical orchestra that ventures out of their usual Tchaikovsky and Beethoven repertoires.
New York-based One World Symphony is an exception. The orchestra is known for its diverse and "hip" programming that ranges from full classical works to pop and even rock music.
"The classical industry has been presenting typical concerts for years. But our programming is very dynamic and diverse. We try to embrace all types of music and find a balance (among them), just like the New York City," said Hong Sung-jin, the Korean-American founder and artistic director of the symphony, in a recent interview with The Korea Herald.
One World symphony which was founded by Hong and his wife Adrienne Metzinger-Hong in 2001, now marks its 9th season.
The young artistic director currently runs the symphony -- managing, conducting and composing -- while his mezzo-soprano wife is the managing director. She also works as a full-time graphic designer who does all the visual materials for the orchestra as well.
Hong was born in Seoul but went to the United States when he was aged 10 and later pursued a formal education in conducting in Vienna, he said.
Yet he chose to create his own orchestra instead of joining the mainstream music industry, he said.
"A professor of mine once told me that opportunities for foreign musicians in Vienna are quite challenging and advised me to go for my own opportunities in New York," he said.
So he did, Hong said. Although not a native New Yorker, he said he was able to get in contact with musicians with diverse ethnicities and who matched his vision to launch a symphony together.
Hong also puts a lot of efforts into his orchestra to feature living composers' -- both in-house and from outside -- works, he said. In fact, they have performed multiple premieres of newly written contemporary pieces.
Because audiences tend to prefer concerts where familiar classical pieces are featured, there is a fear in the mainstream music industry of playing new music, said Hong.
"It is difficult to satisfy audiences with classical pieces since they know them well and their expectations are high. However, it is not the case for new pieces. But we are responsible for bringing out the emotional factors (from such works)," he said.
Active interaction with the audience is another thing that Hong emphasizes. Hong said that audience members are allowed to talk in between the symphony's performances and cheer or boo like "sports fans."
Most of some 100 members of Hong's orchestra who were selected through recommendation of the senior members have a formal classical music education. Although they each have a full-time job aside from the ones at the orchestra, they manage to rehearse at least three times a week for a concert, Hong said.
Hong says he aims to create a sound that is beautiful and unique.
"I emphasize sound over rhythm. The deep sound and its emotions are very important to me," he said, adding that he often sees some "emotionally engaged" audiences in tears after their concerts are over.
The orchestra which "started from scratch with absolutely nothing," according to Hong, has now grown largely over the years. It gives 10 to 12 concerts each year which have been receiving positive responses from both critics and audiences.
While the audience size has become much bigger, the musicality has also improved noticeably during the past years. Hong said whereas friends of the members used to make up most of the audience, now the seats are occupied by ordinary young music fans who are regulars at their concerts.
A non-profit organization, it charges 30 dollars for their concert tickets and donates some of the proceeds to charity organizations.
The orchestra also tries to give back to the community by involving themselves in diverse educational activities -- they teach and invite young students to perform for their concerts, for example.
Hong expressed his dream to one day perform with the group in North Korea, saying that he was very moved and impressed by the New York Philharmonic concert there in 2008, despite the political controversies over the event.
Meanwhile, for their upcoming Halloween concert on Oct. 30, One World Symphony will play diverse selection of tunes including Marilyn Manson.
Inspiration from Björk, ‘The Alchemist’ and the Sea: The New York Times’s feature review on One World Symphony’s 2009/2010 season premiere The Wayfarer
By Vivien Schweitzer
Published: September 14, 2009
One World Symphony has performed many premieres since its founding in 2001 by the composer and conductor Sung Jin Hong. Oneworldsymphony.org, its Web site, states that it performs new music “that is accessible, in which composers compose for the ‘people’ instead of their colleagues in academia.”
Mr. Hong’s “From the Alchemist,” which the orchestra performed on Sunday at the Ansche Chesed Synagogue on the Upper West Side, is certainly accessible. Inspired by the novel “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho, it was composed for One World Symphony to perform at Mr. Hong’s wedding to the mezzo-soprano Adrienne Metzinger. A lushly neo-Romantic work, it quotes the Adagietto of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony and sounds as if it were written before a Mahlerian altar.
From a novel to a lush Mahlerian sound.
The concert a benefit for the orchestra’s Community Music Program, which offers discounted tickets to underprivileged children and their parents opened with Emilia Tamburri’s effective arrangement of Bjork’s “New World,” used in the film “Dancer in the Dark.” This version featured AfterShock, a five-man a cappella group whose singers replicated the sonic effects of the original.
Also on the lineup was a lithe rendition of Mendelssohn’s concert overture “The Hebrides,” which Mr. Hong prefaced with brief comments about composers who were inspired by water, playing a few bars of the overture to highlight the most evocative passages. In the Mendelssohn and in Vaughan Williams’s bleak one-act opera “Riders to the Sea,” which came next, the woodwinds were the strongest section of the orchestra.
Vaughan Williams’s work, based on the play by the Irish author J. M. Synge, tells the story of Maurya, a widow who has lost her husband and four of her six sons to the sea. During the opera she learns that the body of Michael, a missing son, has been discovered; then Bartley, her last surviving son, also dies.
Dina Gulnara Mitzanova offered a moving performance as Maurya, and Katharine Gunnink and Anne Marie Schubert sang expressively as Cathleen and Nora, the two daughters.
The concert concluded on a similarly somber note, with a convincing performance by the bright-voiced soprano Natasha Uspensky. She sang one of the most poignant songs in the classical canon: Mahler’s “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen” (“I am lost to the world”) from the Rückert Lieder.
One World Symphony Raises and Donates Over $5,000 for Families of Fallen 9/11 Heroes in Their Very First Concerts
Less than six weeks after 9/11, graphic designer Adrienne Metzinger, and Bard College graduate conducting student Sung Jin (David) Hong officially founded New York City's One World Symphony. 100% of the money raised from their very first concerts (totaling more than $5,000), held on October 20th and 21st, went to aid The Uniformed Firefighters Association Widows’ and Children's Fund in their mission to provide support for the families of our city’s fallen heroes.
Without a website and before the dawn of social media, the symphony and chorus of 70 musicians — including 20 Bard students bussed in by Hong — performed Mozart’s Requiem, Barber’s Adagio, and Zelenaia's world premiere to standing room only audiences. Hong and Metzinger walked the streets for days hanging posters in coffee shops, laundromats, and bookstore windows all across New York City in an effort to publicize the performances and raise money for the worthy cause. As they walked postering Montague Street in Brooklyn, the couple was discovered by Don Evans (1919-2016) of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle who penned One World Symphony’s very first press seen below.
During the performances, the audience was invited to stand and sing Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus along with the symphony and chorus. The fellowship of hundreds of people making music together in the wake of such tragedy was profoundly moving.