Showcasing talent from around the world

The three South Korean musicians who took over The Peggy Corkum Music Room for two nights in October enraptured the audience. And after the last notes of piano, cello and violin faded, people took to their feet in appreciation. They didn’t let Trio Jade get very far: a roaring standing ovation brought them back in the room for several bows and an encore.
Christopher Wilcox, managing director with the Scotia Festival of Music and one of the organizers of the The Music Room Chamber Players Series describes Trio Jade as pure magic. “They play as if they’re one player playing three parts,” he says. “The place went nuts with cheering and yelling and ‘bravos!’ The three pieces they played—Mozart, Ravel and Mendelssohn—are pieces that are very familiar to me, very standard repertoire, and I was listening like I was hearing new pieces.”
Ji-Yoon Park on violin, Jung-Ran Lee on cello, and Hyo-Joo Lee on piano are all accomplished, award-winning soloists. Longtime friends, they came together to form the Trio Jade in 2005 while studying in Paris.
Quite a feather in the cap for The Music Room to land such an accomplished international attraction. These performances are more rare in Halifax than they should be, and Wilcox says there should be more, many more.
Of the 19 concerts in the Music Room series this fall/winter, 16 of them feature Canadian musicians. Wilson says the line-up could use more international flavour.
But this particular concert started with a phone call.
Lucy Jung, who hails from South Korea, studied in Halifax at the East Coast School of Languages for years but recently took a job with the school and moved to Toronto. Last winter, she got a phone call from a concert promoter friend in South Korea who asked for help booking Trio Jade in Canada. Jung immediately wanted one of the stops to be in Halifax. She says it was a great opportunity to bring such a talented trio to the city.
Trio Jade was not only a treat for chamber music aficionados but Korean Canadians too. The first night “a Korean family came to me to say [Trio Jade] was amazing because they don’t have a chance to see the musicians from their country,” Jung says.
It was Jung’s familiarity with Halifax that brought the trio, who has toured all over Europe, to play at a 110-seat venue in north Halifax. And she says she’d like to bring even more South Korean musicians to play here.
Jun-Ran Lee says they quite often get Koreans out to their performances. In Montreal in particular there were a number of Korean families in the audience as well as the ambassador to Canada.
“When you live abroad you become more patriotic, I guess. And when you find musicians from your home country, I think that will give you a feeling of comfort and that you’re home,” she explains. “It’s a nice feeling to be greeted by Koreans.”
The trio didn’t have a lot of free time to see Halifax, but their impression was it was “a really nice, friendly place,” Ju-Ran Lee says.
And while the small-space venue was a minuscule compared to some of the grand concert halls they’ve performed in throughout Europe, she says all three of them liked The Music Room and felt at home. “We all felt really comfortable and the people are really nice,” she says.

Bio: Trio Jade

Ji-Yoon Park, Jung-Ran Lee and Hyo-Joo Lee all started playing at a young age: Park was four and Jung-Ran Lee and Hyo-Joo Lee were both six. Park made her debut at the age of 10 with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and has played as a soloist with several world-class orchestras. Jung-Ran Lee was just a year older, 11, when she played with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and since played with many others. She now teaches at the Seoul National and Yonsei Universities.
Hyo-Joo Lee won an international piano competition in Cincinnati at the age of 13 and has since won many prizes all over the world. She is currently studying at a music school in Hannover, Germany.
Jun-Ran Lee says they knew each other since their teenage years and were good friends.
Their paths collided in Paris when they realized they needed to up their game in order to pass exams for their masters degrees. They started playing together and haven’t looked back: winning a multitude of awards together, making recordings, and touring European cities last year and Canada this year.
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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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