Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

Piano phenom Seong-Jin Cho to perform Beethoven concerto with Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra Oct. 28 at Eisenhower

Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, led by music and artistic director Jacek Kaspszyk and featuring guest pianist Seong-Jin Cho, will perform works by Ludwig van Beethoven and Johannes Brahms at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, in Eisenhower Auditorium.

Cho, making his first U.S. tour, will join the orchestra for Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37. The orchestra will also perform Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68, and Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s “Polish Melodies” Op. 47, No. 2.

Purchase tickets, which are $57 for an adult, $15 for a University Park student and $47 for a person 18 and younger. A grant from the University Park Allocation Committee makes Penn State student prices possible.

Seoul native Cho attracted worldwide attention after becoming the first South Korean to win the International Chopin Piano Competition in 2015. He also won high honors at the Tchaikovsky and Moscow piano contests, as well as becoming the youngest first-prize winner at Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in Japan.

At 22, Cho already shows a clear understanding of his performance material. Classical music website Bachtrack described Cho as having “an enviable ability to make every note sound distinct and clear, shaping and balancing each phrase perfectly.”

“Understanding the mind of a composer would help me understand the historical and personal context behind each and every one of his works, which ultimately provides me with the tools to perform his works with more depth and meaning,” he said in an interview with the Center for the Performing Arts.

Cho, who lives in Paris and studies piano with Michel Béroff, has performed with orchestras around the world. Earlier this year, he signed a recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon.

Read a Center for the Performing Arts Q&A with Cho.

Since its debut performance in 1901, Warsaw Philharmonic has attracted distinguished musicians. In the years surrounding World War I, the “national orchestra of Poland” was known as one of the major musical institutions in Europe. It hosted famous conductors and soloists, including Sergei Prokofiev, Maurice Ravel, Richard Strauss, Edvard Grieg and Arthur Honegger.

During World War II, German bomb raids destroyed the philharmonic’s performance hall. In 1950, the orchestra’s new director, Witold Rowicki, oversaw the establishment of an official venue for the orchestra, which later helped the ensemble to regain its position as Poland’s leading musical collective.

Kaspszyk took over in 2013. Under his leadership, the orchestra started to stream its concerts online, and it has recorded three discs for Warner Classics and Deutsche Grammophon. He has conducted orchestras in Berlin, New York City, London, Prague and other music capitals.

The orchestra has recorded more than 50 albums, one of which won a Grammy Award in 2012, featuring mainly Polish composers. It has performed more than 140 international tours.

Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring Piotr Debski, assistant to the Warsaw Philharmonic director, is offered in Eisenhower one hour before the performance and is free for ticket holders. Artistic Viewpoints regularly fills to capacity, so seating is available on a first-arrival basis.

Dotty and Paul Rigby sponsor the performance. WPSU is the media sponsor.

Find more information about the performance and videos of the artists performing.

This presentation is a component of the Center for the Performing Arts Classical Music Project. With support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the project provides opportunities to engage students, faculty and the community with classical music artists and programs.