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Monday 28th October 2002
Leighton House
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Bon Journal

Violin piano concert

Barely twenty years old, Korean violinist Miss So-Ock Kim inspired the audience at Leighton House. Kim and pianist Tom Blach gave an outstanding two hour performance free-of-charge for a private fund-raising event in Holland Park last evening.

There were only 130 seats and it was not just first come first serve, but first reserved, first served -- all by private emails and word-of-mouth. A generous sponsor paid for the hall/museum. Another paid for wine. The performers from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London gave their time. Everybody else paid STG 12.50 each for a seat.

It was one of several events organised on behalf of the Nightingale Project, started by Dr Nick Rhodes and his colleagues at the South Kensington and Chelsea Mental Health Centre. The idea is that "hospitals do not need to be the gloomy places that they often are - indeed that brightening up the physical environment can make an important contribution to the healing process."

Indeed, why do hospitals have to smell like hospitals and remind the patients, visitors, doctors, and nurses that they are in hospitals? Why can't they feel like home? Similarly, why do concert halls have to feel like concert halls, where we're reminded that we're paying a lot of money to see a performance - with other audiences that are strangers to us? Why can't concerts be given in atmosphere that's more friendly?

Kim and Blach's performance were given in a special museum - Leighton House - that felt historic and unique. I brought many of my friends to this event since I knew the organisers - so I felt at home.

Seeing such a young virtuoso play with such professionalism and vigour - it reminded me that music was not restricted to the few that are already world famous. If music could be used to raise money for a good cause, then the world would be a happier place with musicians galore.

4 July 2002 Thursday

Sadly no one brought a camera. So I'm unable to insert photos of the performers or the audience.
Kim and Blach began the programme with Sonatina No. 1 in D (D384) by Franz Schubert. It was a light and happy piece in three movements.
Immediately after this, perhaps too soon in the programme, Kim launched into Bela Bartok's Sonata for solo violin in four movements. It was like going from Bach to jazz, said one guest. The ear isn't used to the violin yet, particularly as a solo instrument and so modern a piece.
After the 20 minute interval in which wine was served, we returned to our seats to listen to two more pieces: La Faontaine d'Arethuse from Mythes by Szymanowki and my favourite - Sonata in A by Cesar Franck.
They gave two encores - a Gershwin piece and Massenet's Thais Meditation.
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