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Bringing St Matthew's Passion to Asia

The Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, one of the world's oldest symphony orchestras, recently headed East to bring Bach's St. Matthew's Passion to some of classical musics' newest fans.

Copyright Gewandhaus / Gert Mothes

South Korea may not have a reputation as a classical music Mecca but orchestras have been finding a warm and receptive audience in the country. The fans were so welcoming after the Gewandhaus Orchestra visited in 1995, the centuries-old orchestra added Korea to its annual Asian tour.

The tour, which ended March 1, highlighted a collaboration with the St. Thomas Boys' Choir as part of this year's “800 Years of the St. Thomas Choir” celebration. With stops in South Korea and Japan over the course of ten days, the whirlwind tour brought the orchestra's beloved rendition of Bach's St. Matthew's Passion to Daejon, Seoul, Yokohama, Osaka, and Tokyo before the group returned to Europe.

Voted one of the top concerts of the year in 2009 by The Guardian newspaper, Bach's sacred oratorio from the Passions series, St. Matthew's Passion, was written for solo voices, a double choir and double orchestra. Setting chapters 26 and 27 of the Gospel of Matthew to music, it's considered a masterpiece of classical sacred music with gorgeous arias and complex movements.

The Gewandhaus Orchestra brings the sacred to moving life in their collaboration with the St. Thomas Boys Choir, a choir consisting of 92 boys aged 9-18 singing under the direction of Georg Christoph Biller, who has conducted the choir since 1992.

Though the tour has already wrapped in Asia, thanks to DHL's fast-paced logistics, the orchestra and choir will be bringing the Passion to its conclusion in England on March 8 and 9.

For more information on the highly-regarded orchestra and their future tours, have a look at their website: www.gewandhaus.deExternal Link