Nordic Lights
Photos and Audience Letters

Photos by Hillary Honeck and Adrienne Metzinger

Subj: One World, One great evening

Hi Sung Jin,

You surely do NOT need me to tell you how wonderful last night’s One World Symphony performance was. I will just send you a copy of my email, which was sent to friends who were not there. It follows below.

I am sorry I did not get a chance to speak with you, but I was a little tired and felt I needed to try to persuade Mr. Perry it was time to leave. He was so excited about all the works he felt he should personally thank all the soloists and all of the orchestra members.

We both feel you are creating marvelous music.


my letter to absent friends:

One World Symphony out did itself again last night.

 Pianist Christopher Johnson played Edvard Grieg: Piano Concerto in A minor. He is a very demonstrative artist, who seems to become one with the instrument. His interpretation made the familiar work sound very fresh and alive in a way I can not recall from previous hearings.

Esa-Pekka Salonen: Foreign Bodies  was wonderful. Boisterously delicious, reminded me at times of Stravinsky.

Kaija Saariaho: Parfum de l’instant, Quatre instant (2002, Brooklyn Premiere)

Jean Sibelius:  Three Songs — The North, First Kiss, The Tryst (1904)* was orchestrated by Maestro Hong and featured a bevy of female soloists, all top talents. Beautiful voices. Exciting sounds.

I wish you could have been there with us to enjoy the evening. It was played without intermission, which I prefer.  It was 75 minutes of delightful music which brought the audience to its feet at the conclusion — the reaction seemed spontaneous, not the forced “standing oviation” which in recent years has become the near meaningless norm, often at the start of performances or merely the appearance of actors, singers, and other performers on stage.

You could sense the crowd last night really MEANT IT.

Congratulations on another successful concert!

I want to again state how well I feel you’ve captured the essence of Sibelius’ orchestration methods. If I wasn’t told ahead of time, I would have guessed they flowed straight from the great Finnish master’s hand. I also want to applaud the inclusion of Foreign Bodies in the program. What a great work! Great energies, fun and entertaining interplay within the orchestra, and the timbre of the orchestra was fascinating by itself. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the bass flute in person before but the unmistakable sound captured my attention immediately. (I wish more composers would write for alto and bass flutes... A great example of “accessible’ modern music.) My friend and I had a blast and we thank you for this irreplaceable joy.

You and the symphony will always prevail, whether it’s during recession, snowstorms, rainstorms. This proverb reminds me of you:

All of us could take a lesson from weather, it pays no attention to criticism. 

You absolutely had horrid weather on Sunday, but it didn’t matter. You provided a haven for all of us with unforgettable evening of moving music. Kiitos!

Dear Maestro Sung Jin Hong and Adrienne,

I was so very happy to meet you in person for the first time before Sunday’s performance at the Church of The Holy Apostles.

Congratulations to you on that awesome performance of Nordic Nights!  It was definitely an indisputable work of great orchestration and arrangement and all the talented musicians and singers were such a pleasure to hear and will not be forgotten. Apparently I was not the only one in the audience who was so very impressed with the performance. The room burst with such applause! It was undeniable that the rain did not damper any one’s enthusiasm.

Thank you so much, and once again I sincerely want to congratulate you and all the talented orchestra members and the singers on the Nordic Night outstanding success.

Dear Ones,

That was truly inspiring. Every moment was engaging, and I left the performance wanting to experience more, especially the songs of Saariaho and Sibelius.

If the Maestro led the audiences with massages again on such a rainy evening, it would be have been well-received.

What an amazing season you are having! Not many groups can consistently present inspiring and polished performances, especially rarely performed or new music. Every show I’ve attended this season has never failed to meet my expectations.

I feel that your recent collaboration with Christopher has been the most organic and heart-felt, as if both of you were breathing together.

I look forward to Tristan and the announcement of your 11th season.

I loved every second of last night’s performance. Saariaho is one of my favorite living composers, and her perfume was hypnotic. Your singers with your Sibelius symphonic arrangements were beautiful. Salonen showed how your symphony continues to tackle challenging compositions with style and flair. The Grieg with Christopher was full of passion and tender lyricism.

It’s impressive that one of the reviewers featured you and your symphony because they focus on reviewing opera and vocal organizations only. Your unorthodox One World embraces vocal, symphonic and new music and perform them equally well with conviction, elegance and passion. On a rainy night, it was wonderful to see a full house. Wishing you and One World continued success. Congratulations, well deserved praise!

You guys blew the roof off Holy Apostles last night!

I prefer your 80-minute gems — diverse programming with an intelligent theme and always emotionally committed performances. 

Dear Sung Jin,

Tonight I had dinner with two of my dear friends, both musicians, who attended Sunday’s concert.  They had wonderful comments about the concert that I would love to share with you.  They were saying things like “the orchestra radiates joy,” “this is something new and fresh,” and “this is the new direction for classical music performances.”

I personally feel so proud and feel like it is such an honor to work with you all.  Thanks for including me in this program and for once again leaving me with a musical experience that I will treasure for years to come.

Best of wishes to you and Adrienne.

Friday, October 29, 2010
St. Ann and the Holy Trinity
Brooklyn Heights

Sunday, October 31, 2010
Church of the Holy Apostles