One World Symphony News

December 2010

Sold-Out: One World Symphony’s Mahler Benefit for Make-A-Wish Foundation®

Photo by Jaka Vinšek

During the busiest week for musicians and audiences and with less than three weeks of preparation, One World Symphony’s performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 was sold out. The concert also benefited Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Metro New York. The audience was treated to surprise back rubs, a sing-along with the symphony, and an inspiring performance of Mahler Symphony No. 5. Audience letters and photos taken by Jaka Vinšek of One World Symphony’s Mahler benefit tell the story.

Maestro Hong,
I don’t believe we have ever heard Mahler’s 5th sound better than we did last night when One World Symphony under your leadership performed it in Manhattan. The fact you had only three weeks prep time is astonishing, judging from the quality of the orchestra we would have thought you had three months of rehearsals. One World Symphony is a wonderful gift.

View more photos and audience letters >>

November 2010

Chuck Norris Never Ran a Marathon

Sung Jin Hong crossed the finish line at 3 hours and 16 minutes (a personal record).

Read Composer-Conductor Sung Jin Hong’s letter sharing his Miracle Marathon 2010 experience.

See the letter and more photos>>




November 2010

Full House at One World Symphony’s Third Annual Halloween Concert

LEFT: Our Halloween costume contest winners and One World Symphony’s bassoon section: Melissa Kritzer and Timothy Emerson. CENTER: Conductor Sung Jin Hong coaching the audience in their part for Jason Candler’s world premiere, Boneyard. RIGHT: Full house at the Friday, October 29th performance.

See more photos and audience letters! >>

October 2010

Miracle Marathon 2010

Help make miracles — directly! Composer-Conductor Sung Jin Hong is running the Richmond Marathon on Saturday, November 13, 2010 to raise funds for One World Symphony’s Community Music. Join One World Symphony in spreading the joy of music to our community by helping us raise $5000 for its Community Music program.

Sponsorship Benefits
The more miles you can support, the more miracles you can create (and the more seriously cool benefits you can receive)!

Learn about the sponsorship benefits, including a FIVE-COURSE FRENCH DINNER!>>

Read Sung Jin Hong&rsauos letter, “Chuck Norris Never Ran a Marathon,” sharing his Miracle Marathon experience >>

October 2010

Hungry March Band Returns to Celebrate Halloween with One World Symphony

Roaring out of Brooklyn comes Hungry March Band, NYC’s legendary street brass march band, showing off the anarchic style that has become their trademark. By popular demand, Hungry March Band returns to celebrate Halloween with One World Symphony. This Halloween, for the first time, a special encore performance will be presented in Manhattan. On October 29 and 31, 2010, the immensely popular band and “New York’s hippest orchestra” will perform Jason Candler’s Boneyard (2010), a world premiere composition specifically written for both ensembles, dance choreography, and audience members.

Hungry March Band has earned a reputation for mythical revelry, having performed at a huge variety of fine venues and celebrated events. Such planned and spontaneous performances have included guerilla art events, mermaid parades, rural raves, subway parties, eccentric weddings, community affairs, protests, high art events, the Staten Island Ferry, Brighton Beach Boardwalks, MOMA, Lincoln Center, the steps of the James A. Farley Post Office, playing themselves in the final scene of John Cameron Mitchell's recent film Shortbus, and many other forays into the territories of free spirit.

Their original song styles range from New Orleans street band, European brass tradition, and Gypsy/Roma classics to Indian wedding brass bands, the jazz world, and the global community of NYC. The band is an ever-evolving musical experiment influenced and inspired by Brooklyn's backyard with Latin flavor, punk rock noise, hip hop beats and music of the streets.

Hungry March Band and One World Symphony, under the baton of artistic director Sung Jin Hong, will captivate audience members of all ages and tastes with interaction throughout the program.

Celebrate Halloween with One World Symphony and Hungry March Band by putting on your dancing shoes, breaking out the fancy threads, wearing your favorite costumes, and bringing the entire family. Don’t miss this spirited fusion of blazing parades and music.

September 2010

One World Symphony Opens its 10th Season to a Standing Room Only Audience

Photos by Jaka Vinšek. TOP: Ful house at One World Symphony Season Opener. BOTTOM LEFT: Sung Jin Hong preparing audience to participate in Eye of the Storm. BOTTOM RIGHT: Sung Jin Hong conducting his world premiere Eye of the Storm.

On the weekend of Yom Kippur, New York City’s One World Symphony under the direction of composer-conductor Sung Jin Hong opened its 10th anniversary season to a standing room only audiences at Holy Apostles in Manhattan. Hong shared the inspiration of his world premiere composition Eye of the Storm (2010) with the engaged audience and invited them to be active and integral participants of Eye of the Storm. Audience letters and the photos taken by photographer Jaka Vinšek of One World Symphony’s season opener Imagine tell the story.

Hi Sung Jin,
The orchestra and vocalists sounded superb, as always. Congratulations also on the successful premiere of your piece — it was absolutely gorgeous. What you said about the Messiaen piece really hit home for me — that as musicians, if we’re not making music we don’t feel alive.

View more photos and audience letters >>

September 2010

A Love Affair, With Music:
Alfred University’s Feature Article on Founder Adrienne Metzinger

Adrienne Metzinger is founder and managing director of One World Symphony. She is a graduate of Alfred University’s renowned School of Art and Design. Ms. Metzinger was recently featured in Alfred Magazine Online:

There’s a big difference between singing in the hallway at Cannon Residence Hall and singing opera in New York City, but that’s the unlikely path taken by Adrienne Metzinger ’98.

“I was the ‘Mary Poppins’ of Cannon” her freshman year, Metzinger says. But she considered herself an actress — “I could mimic singers, like Julie Andrews or Shirley Jones” — rather than a singer.

Then one day Luanne Crosby, professor of music, heard her imitations. “She told me I needed to be in her office Monday to discuss voice lessons,” Metzinger recalls. She continued throughout her time at Alfred.

As a graphic design student under Fred Troller, professor of design with a reputation as an exacting taskmaster, much of Metzinger’s time was spent in the studio.

Whatever free time she had was spent with the Chamber Singers; the Segues, a female a cappella group; and with the cast of Friday Night Live. “I had so much fun with Friday Night Live,” she said. “Most of my good friends from Alfred are people I met through Friday Night Live.”

A week before graduation in May 1998, Amy Lindenbaum ’98 and Metzinger were on their way to New York City when they were in a “terrible car accident,” she recalled. Metzinger broke her back, and spent the next year living at home in Rochester recuperating.

By the following year, though, she was ready to try New York City again, prompted by an invitation from Rebecca Schneider Kessler ’98, who was looking for a new roommate. Metzinger gave herself a week to interview and find a job. Her first was with Stan Adler Associates, where creative director Stan Adler told her to go through the rest of her interviews, then come back to see him on Friday when he was prepared to offer her a job. She did and she’s been there since, advancing to become design director for the agency. “I have been there 11 years. That’s unheard of in New York,” said Metzinger.

“I am really thankful I studied under Fred Troller (He retired in 2001 and died of cancer the following year),” Metzinger said. “I was so much ahead” of designers who had graduated from other programs. “What he taught was really valuable. Sometimes, when I am designing, I can still hear his voice in my head.”

Meanwhile, though, she hadn’t forgotten about singing.

She joined the chorus of an opera company in Brooklyn led by conductor Sung Jin Hong.

They began dating, and 10 years ago, created One World Symphony, with Hong as the artistic director and conductor, and Metzinger as managing director, stage director and graphic designer, as well as a performer. “It’s a nice balance for me,” said Metzinger, allowing her to explore all facets of her creativity.

What started as a “very small chamber ensemble” has grown to an orchestra that averages about 65 musicians, and grows to more than 90 when performing pieces such as Igor Stravinsky’s classic Rite of Spring.

One World Symphony has gained critical acclaim from the New York Times and the Korea Herald, and is consistently named “Critics’ pick” by Time Out New York magazine.

One World Symphony made its Town Hall debut in March 2006, in a sold-out performance, but the excitement of the debut was overshadowed for Metzinger by what happened as the concert was coming to an end.

“At the end of the performance, in front of 1,600 people,” Hong proposed to Metzinger. “I have never been so surprised! I didn’t have a clue,” she said.

They were married in October that year, with the entire orchestra performing at the wedding.

September 2010

AfriClassical Features One World Symphony’s Principal Horn Marshall Sealy

Read the feature on AfriClassical >>

Principal horn of One World Symphony and native of New York City, Marshall Sealy began his French horn study at the age of 8 years. As a young musician, he performed with the Long Island Youth Orchestra and attended Manhattan School of Music and Ithaca College, where he received music and soccer scholarships. He then launched a successful second career as a master of brass instrument restoration and modification.

His musical career continued with many performing opportunities such as the show orchestras of Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis, Jr., Melba Moore, and the pit orchestras of The Dance Theatre of Harlem and Alvin Ailey Dance Company. In 1979, Marshall moved to Boston (MA), where he played with the orchestra of the Opera Company of Boston (seven seasons), Boston Pops Orchestra, Les Misèrables Brass Band, Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, Boston Jazz Composers Orchestra, and the Boston Lyric Opera Orchestra. He has been a soloist with the Plovdiv Symphony (Bulgaria) and U.S. Air Force Band and has performed with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonic, and the Orchestra Filarmonica de Jalisco in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Since his return to New York, Marshall has played on Broadway in the pit orchestras of Beauty and the Beast, Jekyll & Hyde, The Lion King and toured with the National Tour of Evita. He has also performed with such notable artists as Lester Bowie, J.J. Johnson, Max Roach, David Murray, Shirley Horn, Ray Charles, Paquito D’Rivera and Steve Coleman. Marshall has appeared with the live television studio orchestras of the Essence Awards, Emmy Awards, Grammy Awards, Christmas in Washington, and the Whitney Houston HBO Special.

He can be heard on recordings with Les Miserables Brass Band, George Russell, J.J. Johnson, Max Roach, Oliver Lake, Taj Mahal, Michael Jackson, Jay-Z, Nos, Will Smith, and Isaac Hayes (in the film score from the 1999 “Shaft”). Marshall has been Executive Director, New York City Housing Authority Symphony Orchestra; Director of Music, Harlem School of the Arts; and Horn Instructor, Berklee College of Music. He has delivered horn master classes in the United States, Mexico, South Africa, Bulgaria, Serbia, and the Dominican Republic.

September 2010

Alum Rings in a New Day on Wall Street: Illinois Wesleyan’s feature on Sung Jin Hong

Read the feature on>>

Illinois Wesleyan University alum Sung Jin Hong proudly stepped onto the podium at the New York Stock Exchange Friday, September 10 at 9:30 a.m. to ring the opening bell, signifying the start of another day of trading on Wall Street.

The ’97 graduate is the founder and current composer and conductor of New York’s One World Symphony. Hong was invited to ring the bell in honor of the symphony’s service to and presence in the community.

One World Symphony (OWS), created by Hong in 2000, is a not-for-profit organization composed of 70 musicians, 81 vocalists and 13 staff members. The symphony performs concerts throughout the NYC area, selling tickets for a fraction of the cost of many New York concert halls. The symphony was described by Courier-Life as “New York’s hippest orchestra” and received “top marks for gutsy programming” by Time Out New York magazine.

Some of OWS’s most famous programming includes a benefit concert, held just days after Sept. 11, for families of firefighters who died in the Twin Towers. In 2005, OWS performed another benefit concert for disaster victims affected by the tsunami in Haiti.

September 2010

One World Symphony Season Opener in The New York Times

September 2010

One World Symphony opens its 10th anniversary season with Sung Jin Hong’s world premiere Eye of the Storm

Sung Jin Hong in Korea, 2009

by Ruth Ibañez

September 16, 2010 — New York, NY — It is music so riveting it wills the listener’s attention to appreciate and absorb the patriotic tempest of the score and the passion of the composer. Sung Jin Hong, composer, conductor, and artistic director of One World Symphony, debuts Eye of the Storm(2010) that denotes his “chords of memory” as he reclaims a rich tableau that is his cultural identity. The concert takes place on Friday, September 17, 2010, at 8:00 pm, St. Ann and the Holy Trinity, 157 Montague Street, Brooklyn Heights, and Sunday, September 19, 2010, 7:00 pm, Church of the Holy Apostles, 296 Ninth Avenue (West 28th Street), Manhattan.

In a conversation with Maestro Hong over lunch, I had the rare privilege of perceiving a composition that is about to be born. He spoke animatedly about his experience in visiting the demilitarized zone that divides North and South Korea. Through his vivid nostalgic recount of the visit, I as the listener was drawn into the panorama of sound that begs to be written into a score. Hereafter, the story unfolds.

Eye of the Storm: Chords of Memory – Reclaiming One’s Identity

Similar to Henry DeTamble in Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife (2003), I run almost every day to keep myself balanced and remain focused in the moment. When I ran in a marathon during the visit to my homeland Korea for the first time in twenty-five years, I heard Korean drummers and dancers interacting with a pulsating rhythm. The same rhythm was played by a monk using a wood block while meditating in a Buddhist temple. The obsessive rhythm became the birth of Eye of the Storm (2010).

Read more > >

September 2010

Tenth Anniversary Season Opener Sept. 17 and 19: Imagine

One World Symphony, Photo by Hillary Honeck, 2010

One World Symphony's tenth anniversary season — Miracles — begins September 17th and 19th, 2010 with Imagine. The program explores the human ability to overcome extreme adversity through creativity and inspiring art. It includes works by John Lennon, Sergei Prokofiev, Olivier Messiaen, Dmitri Shostakovich, Richard Strauss and a world premiere by One World Symphony Artistic Director and Composer-Conductor Sung Jin Hong.

One World Symphony gave its first performance in October 2001 for New York City to benefit 9/11 victims and families. Over the past decade, One World Symphony has presented over 70 different dynamic programs, developed outreach and educational events with various schools communities, and raised over $10,000 for local and global charities.

Imagine will be presented on September 17th, 8:00 pm at St. Ann and the Holy Trinity in Brooklyn Heights and on September 19th, 7:00 pm at Church of the Holy Apostles in Chelsea. Net proceeds will benefit One World Symphony's Community Music Program — a program which enables students and parents who would otherwise not be in a position to afford classical concerts to obtain tickets to attend live performances during the One World Symphony season.

For more information on Imagine, One World Symphony's 2010–2011 Season Opener click here.

September 2010

One World Symphony performs in The September Concert 2010

Photos by Hillary Honeck TOP LEFT: One World Symphony performs in front of the New York Public Library. TOP RIGHT: Members of One World Symphony at The September Concert Gala BOTTOM LEFT: One World Symphony founders, Adrienne Metzinger and Sung Jin Hong, with FOX 5 News Anchor, Ernie Anastos. BOTTOM RIGHT: Adrienne Metzinger and Sung Jin Hong with Haruko Smith, Founder The September Concert Foundation

One World Symphony was invited to participate in The September Concert on Saturday, September 11th, 2010. Members of One World performed to overflowing audiences in front of the historic New York Public Library on a gorgeous, sunny, Saturday afternoon. Sung Jin Hong and One World Symphony musicians presented an interactive program featuring Antonin Dvorak’s Serenade for Winds, Cello, and Double Bass and a world premiere, site-specific piece by composer-conductor Sung Jin Hong, Sidewalk Sketches. Hong’s work, written for woodwinds, brass, percussion, vocal quartet, cello, double bass, accordion, and electric guitar, was a tribute to New York composers and writers.

Hong began the performance with an orchestral demonstration introducing the unique percussion section assembled specifically for the performance, which included different drums from all over the world. Hong actively engaged the audience by creating a contest with prizes for individuals who could guess the writers and composers quoted in Sidewalk Sketches: Bernstein, Gershwin, Copland and O Henry, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Walt Whitman.

One World Symphony was also honored to be invited to perform at The September Concert Foundation’s Dinner Gala as special guests. After a performance of Dvorak’s Serenade for Winds, Cello and Double Bass, the dinner guests rose to their feet and expressed how much they were moved and inspired by One World Symphony’s passionate music-making and the message of overcoming struggles by working together in harmony. The September Concert Foundation and One World Symphony hope this to be the first of many collaborations that will establish a long-lasting partnership creating global unity through music.

View more photos from The September Concert 2010 >>

September 2010

One World Symphony Rings NYSE Opening Bell

TOP: Ringing the opening bell on September 10th, 2010. BOTTOM: Sung Jin Hong and Duncan Niederauer, CEO NYSE Euronext

One World Symphony Artistic Director Sung Jin Hong and Managing Director Adrienne Metzinger had the honor of joining members of The September Concert Foundation on the podium of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Friday, September 10th, 2010 to ring the Opening Bell. This is the third year in a row that The September Concert Foundation has received this special invitation. Haruko Smith, Founder and Chairman of The September Concert Foundation, asked One World Symphony to join in this special experience because of the symphony’s commitment the world community and to celebrate the new friendship between the two organizations. Ms. Smith described that, for The September Concert, ringing the opening bell is an opportunity to start their yearly event by “sending a message of peace throughout the world.”

Hong and Metzinger had the unique opportunity of meeting and speaking with Duncan Niederauer, CEO of NYSE Euronext. Niederauer graciously led the group on a tour of the NYSE trading floor and discussed not only the over 200-year-old history of the NYSE but of his hopes and plans for its future. Niederauer also praised the work of The September Concert Foundation and its partners, like One World Symphony, for not only in keeping September 11th alive in the memory of our city but for tirelessly and positively moving forward in creating a united global community surrounding that day.

2010 marks the first year that One World Symphony has participated in The September Concert with their performance at the New York Public Library on September 11th. One World Symphony and The September Concert Foundation hope that this is the first of many collaborations that will establish a long-lasting partnership in creating world unity through music.


September 2010

The September Concert Foundation presents One World Symphony

One World Symphony has been invited to participate in The September Concert 2010, Saturday September 11th — a day that has become a National Day of Service and Remembrance. Members of One World Symphony will perform in front of the New York Public Library at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street beginning at 5:45 pm. The performance is free and open to the public. One World Symphony will perform Antonin Dvorak's Serenade for Winds and Strings and Sung Jin Hong's Sidewalk Sketches (world premiere, 2010). Sidewalk Sketches, a site-specific work commissioned by the September Concert Foundation, is a tribute to New York City composers and writers. It is scored for woodwinds, brass, percussion, vocal quartet, cello, double bass, accordion, and electric guitar.

The September Concert Foundation shares One World Symphony's passion for service to our community. Founded in 2002 as a small, local grassroots effort, it has steadily evolved to be an event of global proportion with a mission to promote global peace.

Harmoniously, One World Symphony, founded in 2001, has developed a strong history of serving our local and global communities. The ensemble's first season began as a benefit concert after September 11th, 2001 — from which 100% of its concert proceeds were donated to 9/11 charities. Over the past decade, One World Symphony has raised over $10,000 for charitable causes and organizations such as the Uniformed Firefighter's Association Widows' and Children's Fund, United Spinal Association, American Red Cross Tsunami Victims Fund, American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Victims Relief Fund, The Coalition for the Homeless, St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Roof Restoration Fund (in 2008, 2009, and 2010), and even The Humane Society of New York In 2005, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz publicly commended Conductor Sung Jin Hong and all the talented musicians of the One World Symphony for "generously donating their musical skill to help those in such great need, and for sharing their beautiful music." and he "recognized and honored One World Symphony for supporting humanitarian efforts around the world."





August 2010

Artistic Director Sung Jin Hong’s Composition Debuts at International Fringe Festival

Sung Jin Hong fulfilling his composition commissions in Provence, France (Aug 2010)

One World Symphony’s artistic director and composer-conductor Sung Jin Hong makes his debut as a composer in The New York International Fringe Festival. His orchestral composition From The Alchemist  will be part of the world premiere production of Passchendaele, a gripping play written by John Rafter Lee. Passchendaele,  named for the notorious battle on the Western Front, is inspired by the lives of Sir Douglas Haig, the controversial commander of the allied forces; and John Singer Sargent, a leading portrait painter of the era, who visited the Western Front in 1918.

From The Alchemist,  which was inspired by Paulo Coelho’s novel and written for his wedding to Adrienne Metzinger, was reviewed by The New York Times at its world premiere performance as transforming “a novel to a lush Mahlerian sound.” Hong’s upcoming composition commissions include a piano concerto for Lloyd Arriola, a chamber work for Project 60/40, world premiere orchestration of Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps,  and the symphonic poem Eye of the Storm  (2010) for audience and One World Symphony.

For tickets and more information on Passchendaele, please click here.

July 2010

The NYTimes: Weekend Miser

Artistic Director Sung Jin Hong and members of One World Symphony entertain strolling New Yorkers during the Super Summer Rummage Sale on July 17th, 2010.. Photo credit: Hillary Honeck

Brooklyn’s Fanciest Rummage Sale

By Sara Clemence for RecessionWire, posted July 13, 2010

Talk about bang for your buck. This Saturday, July 17, you can hear live professional music and hunt for bargains for free. The One World Symphony will hold its Super Summer Rummage Sale in Brooklyn Heights — complete with live jazz, cabaret and classical music, led by Artistic Director and Conductor Sung Jin Hong. The wares include two-piece suits, tuxes, dresses, gowns, scores and CDs. Did we mention entrance is free? Check out their site for more details

Posh rummage sale and free concert for your black-tie needs

By Jonathan Berk for Brokelyn, posted July 13, 2010

Imagine the BK Flea meets A Night at the Opera: everyone dressed to the 8.5s, tons of used stuff for sale and classy live music wafting through the air. That’s what we imagine anyway, for Saturday’s Super Summer Rummage Sale being held by Brooklyn’s One World Symphony. The big sale, happening Saturday from 10 to 3 in Brooklyn Heights, promises tuxes, 2-piece suits, dress shirts, neck ties, dresses, gowns, jewelry, leather jackets, jeans, CDs, musical scores and “much much more!” Maybe you’re not quite sure what to wear for those last few night-time weddings coming up? This might be a good place to look.

And, since the rummage sale is being run by an orchestra and all, the day will be chock-full of some high quality live music — including cabaret and jazz standards, Joplin rags, Sousa marches, Bach concerti, a Gershwin rhapsody you know and love and a Dvorak serenade thrown in there for good measure.

The sale and concert are from 10 to 3 on Saturday, July 17, but if you’re super amped about the fancy wares (or really need that cheap tux), there’s a special preview sale the day before (July 16) from 6 to 8 p.m. It’s all happening at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity, 157 Montague St. between Clinton and Henry Streets.

June 2010

Passport to Paris: TONY Critics’ Pick and Full House

One World Symphony closed its ninth season with Passport to Paris to full houses at St. Ann and the Holy Trinity in Brooklyn Heights and its debut in Chelsea’s Church of the Holy Apostles. Both concerts were Time Out New York Critics’ Picks. One World Symphony delivered its dynamic programming by offering New York audiences songs by Edith Piaf performed by Tamra Paselk and Susanna Ketron and cabaret ensemble, Berlioz's Les Nuits d’Été sung by Sonya Headlam and Cheryl Warfield, and Ravel's Piano Concerto with Lloyd Arriola as the featured soloist. Artistic Director Sung Jin Hong interacted with audiences prior to conducting Ravel’s eclectic music, demonstrating the polished fusion of jazz, gamelan, and Asian influences.

A few thoughts from the One World Symphony audience:


Pianist Lloyd Arriola and One World Symphony appreciate audience’s standing ovation in their debut performance at Chelsea’s Church of the Holy Apostles.

Both concerts were terrific. The performers responded well to the conductor. There was a palpable collective chemistry that resulted into this nostalgic and majestic moment that transported all into the ambience that is old Paris. Congratulations.

* * * * *

It was a beautiful program, and I enjoyed myself immensely. I had never heard the Ravel before, and it was a revelation. (After the second movement, a woman behind me said, "That was magical!" ) Of course, the Berlioz is glorious and I really enjoyed the Piaf songs as well. Congratulations on a really perfect concert.

* * * * *

Dear Maestro, My friend Doris was very impressed with One World Symphony and with you. She had a rave review for Sunday evening's performance — she thought the starting with the Piaf songs was a grand idea, just perfect for the theme of the evening. She (and I) were blown away by the artistry of the second soloist, Ms Warfield. What a wonderful voice. The Ravel Concerto was marvelous, it's one of my favorites. I have heard it countless times, but I never weary of it, very exciting when played by a grand pianist such as Mr. Arriola. I remember his previous work with One World Symphony with warm affection and appreciation. Doris observed and commented on the rapport you had with both soloists. I replied that you seem to be have a wonderful ability of getting the finest performances out of all the musicians and singers, despite your limited prep time. The new air conditioned location was very comfortable, the hard surfaced interior walls, ceiling and floor may provide some interesting challenges for orchestra and audience placement. One World Symphony presented an excellent evening of music Sunday. It really made our day. We look forward to the great season on the way in the Fall. Doris indicates she is a new fan of OWS and will be in the audience whenever possible.

* * * * *

I'm very happy to have been in every single show your wonderful orchestra had this season. It was a pleasure seeing the arc of music from beginning to end, and there were many things I enjoyed in every show.

* * * * *

Soprano Sonya Headlam and One World Symphony give a stunning and moving performance of Berlioz's Les Nuits d'Été at St. Ann and the Holy Trinity.

The concert was quite unique and wonderful. Those Berlioz pieces are magical! I also enjoyed the educational 'informances' that preceded each work. My mother enjoyed meeting you and loved the concert as well! Being a pianist herself, she especially appreciated the Ravel! I'm looking forward to working with you in the upcoming season!

* * * * *

I left so very moved and inspired. What a tremendous program; I was feeling the whole time, and intensely from beginning to end. Congratulations to you. It is going to be a great pleasure to sing with you and create something spectacular, I can't wait. Thank you for the invitation!

* * * * *

Truly a great season. The French program was truly magical that I went twice and both times were unique and moving. No one consistently programs the way you do. Piaf with Berlioz and Ravel. Not only it was creative, but it felt quite natural, but no one else does it!

* * * * *

I was surprised you didn't discuss and play the piano in Berlioz like you did on Friday night. Was there a reason? I appreciated that you gave us the opportunity to hear the original version with piano and then with orchestra.

* * * * *

The Ravel was hypnotic both times, but Mr. Arriola and your orchestra played differently both nights. Every minute of both concerts were powerful. Never experienced anything like that before. Thank you for your inspiring music and looking forward to your tenth anniversary season.

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Click for performance photos of Passport to Paris!

May 2010

TimeOut New York
Live Review: A Bohemian rhapsody courtesy of One World Symphony

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.

Audience Interaction: “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.”

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.

Sung Jin Hong and Verunka Vlkova appreciate the generous standing ovation. Alissa Mori, Katrina Gonzales, Andrea Gonzales, Columbine Loza, Thatcher Pitkoff, Lindsay Berat, Chloe Pitkoff performed as Vixen's adorable cubs.












For more Vixen photos, click here!

April 2010

One World Symphony Announces its Landmark 10th Anniversary Season: “Miracles” 


March 2010

Critic's Pick and Full House

One World Symphony performed its second Russian program in New York City featuring the music of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff, which was also TimeOut New York's Critics Pick. Similar to last year's Russian program, the event was a full house of audiences who generously rose to their feet after the final chord. Artistic Director and Conductor Sung Jin Hong briefly discussed, demonstrated and danced sections of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the appreciative audiences. He also encouraged the audience to actively interact with the symphony during the Cossack-inspired dance section of the concerto.

A few thoughts from the One World Symphony audience:


The hits keep on coming for One World Symphony!

Sunday's performance was the usual high quality and very enjoyable. The singers were all excellent.

Mr. Christopher Johnson reminded me a great deal of Van Cliburn, who, I believe, won the USSR prize for his performance of the Tchaikovsky First Piano Concert. Mr. J is very talented, he must have been exhausted afterward, he really "attacked" the work with a dedication and zeal not often seen.

Thank you and your wonderful artists for another enjoyable afternoon of music.

* * * * *

Mr. Johnson on the piano was awesome! I regret missing his Rachmaninoff performance last season. I loved the way you talked about the concerto and got us out of our seats to get the entire audience involved. Please do more of this — have more courage and faith in the audience because we want to hear more not less!

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What a glorious concert! Starting the entire concert with the storm scene was a brilliant strike. The tenor and your players performed with passion and fire. The concerto was just amazing. I heard the concerto many times before, but I was really swept by Christopher's inspiring interpretation.

May I request that someone close the piano lid after the concerto, so we can see the musicians that you are acknowledging.

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That was a moving concert. I saw some audiences get emotional throughout the afternoon. That's a real compliment to you and all your musicians. I also saw something that I rarely see at a concert. There were more audiences in the second half packing the hall. It's always the other way around. Was it because many were texting and twittering about the concert during the intermission?

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Thank you for another wonderful afternoon. The orchestra always sounds great and the colors you consistently get out of them is extraordinary. All the singers were very good and even. This may be one of the more well-balanced cast I've heard from One World. What can I say about Christopher. He is truly an artist who always has something to say. The rousing ovation immediately after the final chord was well deserved. Some of us thought you had an encore for us relating to the dance that you demonstrated, which was quite charming.

On a side note, you may want to consider taking the lid off the piano entirely. I enjoy watching you communicate with your musicians. After the first movement, I moved to a little space towards the side of the synagogue, so I have a better view.

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Some of my favorite concerts in New York are One World Symphony's Russian and Halloween programs. Please keep them coming.

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