Friday, 10 October 2008

Byung-Yun Yu, a Founder of Thames Philharmonia

Thames Philharmonia was founded by Byung-Yun Yu in 1998 as Surrey Classic Players, with Alexander Postlethwaite as leader and Marsha Young as chairman. In the year 2000 the name was changed to Thames Philharmonia. The orchestra has weekly rehearsals in Kingston-upon-Thames, and performs three or four concerts a year, in St. John's Smith Square and local venues. Some concerts given in support of charities. The players are keen amateurs of all ages and professions, including teachers and students. Most concerts feature international young soloists from different nations of the world.
Byung-Yun Yu was born in South Korea. He studied the piano and violin, together with composition and conducting with Du-Wyan Kim and Han-Jun Kim in Korea, and has recently studied with Sir Colin Davis. After graduating in music, he began conducting at least a dozen concerts annually all over Korea. In 1985 he won a gold medal in the Korean National Choral Conducting competition.
He came to England in 1992 to further his studies in violin and conducting, and has studied under Gerhard Schmidt, Lawrence Leonard, William Webb, Peter Stark and Professor Edward Ho. He studied at the London College of Music and Kingston University, where he gained an MA in music. His knowledge of classical music made an impression on Mstistlav Rostroprovich on the occasion of the renowned cellist and conductor's 75th birthday when Byung interviewed him for the magazine "Auditorium". His conducting engagements have included Kingston Philharmonia, the London Korean Symphony Orchestra, the London College of Music Chamber Orchestra, the Rehearsal Orchestra, and both the Kingston University Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. He has been guest conductor with the Abbeye Ensemble, has an engagement with the Karnata Symphony Orchestra in India and is currently resident conductor of Thames Philharmonia.
He has recently conducted Tchaikovsky's 4th Symphony, Brahms' 1st and 4th symphonies, Beethoven's 3rd and 5th symphonies, Rachmaninov's 2nd piano concerto and Sibelius' violin concerto in St. John's Smith Square, which were highly acclaimed. In the Fairfield Hall, in the summer of 2004 he directed an anniversary performance of the symphonic poem "Korean Fantasy" for choir and orchestra by Eak-Tai Ahn, and Beethoven's Triple Concerto.
Byung-Yun Yu is very keen on musical education and spends much attention to helping instrumentalists improve their technique. He organizes his concerts with charitable causes in mind.

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