“Violinist goes from center stage to center ice”

Violinist goes from center stage to center ice : Ice hockey-playing musician is also an Olympic ambassador

Jan 11,2018


Violinist Park Ji-hae belongs to an amateur ice hockey team. She says she wants to share the excitement behind winter sports as an ambassador of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. [HAEWA JHP]



When violinist Park Ji-hae leaves home for a performance, it’s not only her 1735 Petrus Guarneri violin that she carries in her arm. In her other hand, she is often carrying a hockey stick. The 32-year-old German-born violinist belongs to an amateur ice hockey team in Seoul and says the sport that she started as a way to relieve stress and depression has become the second most important activity in her life. That is why she jumped for joy in November when she was named one of the honorary ambassadors of the upcoming 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.

But even before being selected as one of the Olympic envoys, Park was so passionate about the event that she personally made a three-minute video clip showing her playing the violin while figure skating to the famous tune of Arirang, as well as scenes of her playing ice hockey, in efforts to promote the event.

“I wanted to show people that a skinny girl like me can also enjoy winter sports and even play one,” she said.

To mark 50 days until the opening of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, the event’s organizing committee invited Park to perform once again at an ice rink in Olympic Park, eastern Seoul. There, she played “White Jeongseon Arirang,” which she had rearranged to promote the games. Arirang is Korea’s most well-known folk song and Jeongseon Arirang is one of the many Arirang tunes that originates in Gangwon, where the upcoming games will be held.

“Jeongseon Arirang has two versions – one that is common in North Korea and another that is common in South Korea, as the two Koreas share Gangwon Province,” said Park. “I rearranged the Jeongseon Arirang by combining the two versions, in the hopes of creating harmony between the two countries during the event through music.”

The violinist has many ideas and events planned as an ambassador of the upcoming Olympics. The Korea JoongAng Daily sat down with her on Monday to learn more about what will be keeping her busy during the Games. The following are edited excerpts from the interview.



Violinist Park Ji-hae [HAEWA JHP]



Q. How was playing the violin while figure skating in front of an audience?

A. I was so nervous. When I did it to create the video clip, it was okay because you can always edit it. But, doing it again live, I was really nervous that I couldn’t do all the twirls and jumps I had practiced. Also, I had to wear figure skates – I’m more used to skating in hockey skates. But it was really fun as well. I clenched my teeth and successfully put on the show, only wishing that more people would become interested in the upcoming games by watching me, a violinist who looks like she has nothing to do with winter sports or ice hockey, enjoy it so much. I also rearranged the folk song Jeongseon Arirang so that listeners could feel the energy and passion that will be present in Pyeongchang starting next month.

How did you get interested in ice hockey?

Growing up in Germany, I was exposed to a lot of winter sports. While I was going through a bit of ennui playing the violin, I wanted to get more involved in winter sports. I first tried figure skating, but on the first day, I tripped and broke my elbow. As a violinist, I thought I needed to play a safer sport and that was ice hockey. Because ice hockey is a team sport, I experienced the team spirit and learned how to keep in step with others.

As an honorary ambassador, what are some of the events you have in mind?

I don’t know why, but as a concert violinist, so many opportunities where I have to deliver a speech and play the violin came to me, like the TED Talk I did in 2013. I was also invited to perform and talk at the renowned ZEIT Economic Forum held in Hamburg, Germany, last year. Pianist Lang Lang and I were the only musicians to be invited to the forum. I got invited again this year so I will be talking about the rich culture of Korea and link it with the Olympic Games as well. Next month, I plan to visit military camps in Korea and perform and deliver talks about myself, music and the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games. Right now, there are so many cultural events lined up to celebrate the Olympics, but the young Korean men who will be responsible for national security during the games are missing out on the fun.

Even classical artists with big agencies have difficulty filling up concert halls. But it seems so easy for you, even without the help of strategic promotional activities. How is that possible?

I am just so thankful. I personally think that it is because I don’t really worry about the result. I perform and deliver talks. I am a violinist who plays a musical instrument, but I consider myself as an instrument who can sympathize with the people of today. That is why I talk a lot about the dark times when I fell into bouts of depression and how I learned to get out of it through music and sports.



Top: Park receives a plaque from Lee Hee-beom, left, head of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics organizing committee, after being named the event’s honorary ambassador. Above: Park plays “White Jeongseon Arirang,” which she rearranged to promote the upcoming Winter Olympics, while figure skating to celebrate 50 days until the event. [HAEWA JHP]


BY YIM SEUNG-HYE [sharon@joongang.co.kr]

Full article found at: http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=3043141

Me on the TV news

Me on the national TV news on primetime, reporting the naming of the honorary ambassador for 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics! What a relief, that it wasn’t bad news like thousands of other bad and sad news…


[Yonhap News] For boost of energy, virtuoso violinist turns to hockey

The serene act of playing the violin and the rough-and-tumble sport of hockey don’t exactly go together like peanut butter and jelly. You wouldn’t necessarily associate one with the other.


But that’s precisely why South Korean virtuoso violinist Park Ji-hae plays hockey in her spare time, or even when she barely has much spare time at all. When she’s drained from recitals and international tours, Park doesn’t just lie down and sleep for hours on end. She plays hockey, a sport that she calls her source of fuel and energy.


“After playing music for so long, I found myself just going through the motions at times, and I needed to reinvigorate myself,” Park told Yonhap News Agency in her practice room in Seoul on Wednesday. “I’d always loved skating, and I wanted to find something that was the complete opposite of playing violin. I settled on hockey.”


Park is also a figure skating aficionado, but hockey particularly appealed to her because it’s a team sport.






This photo provided by Haewa JHP shows South Korean violinist Park Ji-hae pose with her instrument. (Yonhap)




“I am usually by myself with the violin on stage,” she said. “And I loved the idea of playing with others on ice.”


Park, 32, was named an honorary ambassador for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Monday. The move might have raised the eyebrows of people who didn’t know Park’s background as a winter sports-loving soloist and a fan of the National Hockey League (NHL) who owns a Washington Capitals No. 8 Alex Ovechkin jersey.


Months before her appointment as a goodwill spokesperson for PyeongChang 2018, Park produced a music video to promote the first Winter Olympics to take place in South Korea. The video is set to “Jihae Ariang,” her violin cover of the traditional Korean folk song, and starts with Park gliding on the ice as she plays her instrument.


It all seems harmless and innocuous enough. Then about a minute into the clip, Park picks up her gym bag and a hockey stick and heads to a rink for a game with the boys.


The game in the video may well be staged, but watching Park deftly move through larger men and put the puck in the back of the net, it’s easy to see she isn’t just a token female.


The video ends with Park and her fellow hockey players shouting words of encouragement and support for PyeongChang 2018.


“I didn’t make the video just to show people how well I can skate,” said Park, who’s planning a second video in support of the Winter Olympics. “I wanted to let people know that there is this violinist who actually enjoys hockey, and people who aren’t professional or Olympic athletes still support PyeongChang.”


Park grew up playing violin in Mainz, Germany, from an early age, under the influence of her violin-playing mother Lee Yeun-hong. And when she became old enough to go to school, Park’s parents sent her to South Korea so that their daughter wouldn’t forget the Korean language.




This photo provided by Haewa JHP shows South Korean violinist Park Ji-hae (C) performing in Seoul. (Yonhap)



Germany boasts a much longer tradition in skating and winter sports in general, but ironically enough it was in South Korea that Park learned how to skate.


Park said as a child she spent a lot of time watching the Winter Olympics with her father, and the quadrennial competition was “a festival” for her family. Then during one winter break from school in South Korea, Park learned that a local rink was offering a special two-month lesson for students.


She signed up and hasn’t looked back since.


“I was the kind of kid who would rollerblade around the whole neighborhood after school every day,” Park recalled. “And ice skating wasn’t that difficult for me.”


As a grown-up, Park picked up hockey in search of a boost away from music. She walked on to her amateur club, Blizzard, to the surprise of many already on the team. Most players had come through the introduction of mutual friends, and Park, the only woman on the roster, said she was initially seen as a curiosity at best.


But it didn’t take long for her teammates to recognize Park’s unbridled passion for the sport.




This photo provided by Haewa JHP shows South Korean violinist Park Ji-hae (C) in her hockey gear. (Yonhap)

   “They now tell me I am probably No. 1 on the team when it comes to love of hockey,” said Park, who said she once played every day during a weeklong break in Korea from her international tour. “It’s such an addictive sport. I am actually glad I am not all that good at it. If I were better at hockey, I’d be even more hooked on it.”


Though playing hockey usually comes with major risks of injuries, Park said her amateur league isn’t all that physical. And hockey just may be safer than figure skating because of protective gear.


Park told a story of a hand injury she once suffered in figure skating practice. She lost her balance during a spin and broke her fall with her right hand. She was diagnosed with a fracture but Park misunderstood her doctor’s words and thought she’d only suffered a sprain. Instead of a full cast, Park only put on a half cast and continued with her violin performances.


“I was sweating a lot on stage because the arm hurt,” Park said, now smiling at the memory. “But I could still play through the pain.”


Park said she’d dreamed of becoming a figure skater while at elementary school. But she soon realized it was going to be difficult to become a world class figure skater in a country that had never produced anyone who could compete against the best of the best. At least in violin, Park got an early start and had the advantage of learning from her mother, an accomplished violinist herself.



This photo provided by Haewa JHP shows South Korean violinist Park Ji-hae (C) in her hockey gear. (Yonhap)


And if Park had gone down the route of competitive sports, it might well have been a loss for the classical music community. As much as she loves putting on skates, Park isn’t about to quit her day job as a fine soloist.


Park made her European solo debut with the Mainz Chamber Orchestra at 14. And when she was 17, the German Foundation of Musical Life lent Park a rare Petrus Guarnerius 1735 Venedig violin. Only three of this model are known to exist today, and each is estimated to be worth millions of dollars.


Park was admitted to a prestigious music conservatory in Mainz at 14. The place had only accepted students 16 and older before making an exception for the prodigy. She captured the first prize at the Jugend Musiziert, the German national youth music competition, in 2001 (solo) and in 2002 (chamber music).


Then in October 2011, Park became the first South Korean to perform in a season-opening show at Carnegie Hall in New York City. In that performance, Park played Camille Saint-Saens’ “Danse Macabre,” famous among South Korean sports fans as the music for the gold medal-winning short program by figure skating icon Kim Yu-na at the 2009 world championships.


Park said she chose “Danse Macabre” — and she continues to play it often in her recitals — because of what it means to the South Korean people.


“Here Kim Yu-na was, from a country never before known as a figure skating hotbed, and she finally reached the top of the world against all odds with so much hard work and dedication,” Park said. “And this was the piece that accompanied her to the top. Kim’s win inspired so many people that they too could overcome challenges and reach great heights. And it made people so proud. I want to be able to bring that emotion back for my audience.”


Park is a long-time admirer of Kim, the 2010 Olympic champion and one of South Korea’s greatest athletes ever in any sports. On the men’s side, Park was mesmerized by Alexei Yagudin’s gold medal performance at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. In Park’s words, the Russian star was “so masculine and charismatic, and still wonderfully artistic.”



South Korean violinist Park Ji-hae (R) takes a plaque from Lee Hee-beom, head of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics organizing committee, after being named the event’s honorary ambassador in a ceremony in Seoul on Nov. 6, 2017. (Yonhap)



Park is a fan of another Russian athlete — Ovechkin, the Capitals’ high-scoring All-Star. The three-time winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player, Ovechkin has led the league in goals six times in what is shaping up to be a Hall of Fame career.


During her U.S. tour in 2016, Park made a stop in Washington and had a chance to see the Capitals and Ovechkin in action. It was her first NHL game in person.


Unfortunately for Park and other hockey fans, Ovechkin and the rest of NHL stars won’t participate in the PyeongChang Olympics. The league announced in April it won’t send its players to South Korea and the schedule for the current 2017-2018 doesn’t include an Olympic break.


But Park still wants to catch some hockey action — namely, the South Korean women’s team. The upstart nation, ranked No. 22, will make its Olympic debut against three top-10 nations in the group stage: No. 5 Sweden, No. 6 Switzerland and No. 7 Japan.


The captain of the national women’s team, Han Soo-jin, is a former classical pianist. Though Park and Han have never met each other, the violinist said she does have a soft spot in her heart for Han’s team.


“I’d love to go cheer on our women’s hockey team,” Park said. “It’d be great to watch medal favorites in sports like short track or skeleton. But if I had to squeeze time out of my schedule to see the Olympics, I’d go to women’s hockey games.”




This photo provided by Haewa JHP shows South Korean violinist Park Ji-hae performing in a recital. (Yonhap)


Now that she is an honorary ambassador for PyeongChang, Park said she would love nothing more than to perform during the Olympic opening ceremony. Even if that opportunity doesn’t materialize, she is still looking forward to promoting PyeongChang 2018 and South Korea as a whole the best way she knows how — through music.


“I really want to show the world the best of what Korean music can offer,” she said. “I want to remind everyone that Koreans are a proud people. And like the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the PyeongChang Winter Olympics will be an opportunity to raise our country’s global profile.”




Article source :  http://m.yna.co.kr/mob2/en/contents_en.jsp?cid=AEN20171109002700315&site=0700000000&mobile



New Album is COMING!

Finally a new album is coming. The scheduled release date is the 16th August! Guess what kind of album it is going to be! ^^



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