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Composer of Parasite and Squid Game enthralls London audience

Last night, at the Barbican Centre in central London, Korean composer and music director Jung Jae-il (정재일) made his UK live performance debut with the London Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Robert Ziegler). The concert opened the 10th Anniversary of the K-Music Festival put on by the KCC UK.

Mr. Jung is best known for his scores for films such as Parasite and Broker and the Netflix series Squid Game, but his solo compositions are equally if not more impressive. Aside from showing off his skills on both the piano and electric guitar, he shared music from his recent album Listen and a new work entitled "Prayer" which combined the mastery of the LSO with traditional Korean musicians (Yulhee Kim on vocals, Jun Hyoung Lee on janggu, and Seolhoo Kwon on kkwaenggwari). The entire crowd looked to be enraptured by the whole concert, but "Prayer" in particular seemed to have a profound impact as the audience gave a long standing ovation after it was over.

Photos credited to Ikin Yum

The lighting and acoustics in the venue were perfect for this event, and Mr. Jung did his best to describe his music to the audience in between songs - his English was remarkably good. You could tell that the conductor Robert Ziegler and him also got along very well as they patted each other on the back numerous times throughout the show.

This author was most familiar with the music from Squid Game and Parasite (as most people were), but the harmonious and powerful fusion of Eastern and Western styles of music was a real treat to experience. Although Mr. Jung may not have played many shows overseas until now, last night surely confirmed that he will be a fixture on the international circuit for many years to come as his tremendous musical talents are simply undeniable.

Here's to hoping for much more good music to come during the K-Music Festival which continues until mid-November!

Special thanks to the KCC, the Barbican, Serious, and Circus House for arranging tickets.

-Timothy Holm


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