Abu Dhabi Festival: Kyung Wha Chung’s melody

Violinist talks about how she keeps fit at the age of 69

Karishma H. Nandkeolyar, Web Editor
17:47 March 6, 2018
Kyung Wha Chung 2
Kyung Wha Chung 1

The secret to 69-year-old violinist Kyung Wha Chung’s fitness lies in walks with dogs through the mountains in South Korea.

“I really hate exercise,” she says, adding that her strolls with her two pets is her “physical outlet”. It seems to be doing well for her, for she seems to have the energy needed to play on a stage night after night, and even her absence from the limelight for five years (she hurt her hand in 2005 and spent the next few days teaching at Juilliard School in New York) has not dimmed her pride in performance or her prowess on stage.

“My relationship with the stage has never changed, because that was something that I really loved as a child and that has never changed, but the break… was a very, very interesting experience. And so it gave me also time to think about different aspects of my life, which was really a blessing in disguise,” she said.

For Abu Dhabi, she has reserved the same melody she played while making her comeback.

“The Brahms concerto is one of the most beloved works composed — [it is] romantic work in classical form. And [there is] wonderful orchestration,” she added.

Her only advice to concertgoers: “[The] only thing that will interrupt the performance is if the audience is not quiet. If they would listen to the music [it] will draw them into the world of this incredible performer.”

And she’s willing to reciprocate. “When I go to a new place, there’s always a difference of people’s reception and that’s interesting and also I’m looking forward to discovering a new concert hall. And also, Abu Dhabi is supposed to be a very impressive place and it’s the first time that I visit so it’ll be a new discovery.”


What: Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia – Rome Conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano With Kyung Wha Chung (violin)

Where: Emirates Palace Auditorium

When: March 11

Cost: Dh175