Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mozart , Piazzolla and Sungha Jung

At age nine, Mozart had composed five symphonies and a dozen sonatas and was a touring professional musician. At age nine, Piazzolla had started to learn to play the bandoneon. By age eleven, Piazzolla was playing his bandoneon on the stage of Roerich Hall in New York City, had composed his first tango and was known as the "wonder boy of the bandoneon" according to the Azzi/Collier book, Le Grand Tango. At age nine, Sungha Jung, the featured musician in today's video is playing a refined finger-style version of Libertango on the guitar and doing it so well he would qualify for the title "wonder boy of the guitar" in my book. Sungha Jung also has a dozen or so original compositions to his credit and at age twelve Sungha Jung made an appearance on the stage at the Seoul Jazz Festival - you can see it here (at about 1'20" into the video - this is worth watching - please give it a view). He is clearly still growing - literally and as a musician. At just about Sungha Jung's current age, Piazzolla really became serious about music under the tutelage of Bela Wilda, the Hungarian pianist who first introduced Piazzolla to classical music. It changed his life.

So while neither Piazzolla nor Sungha Jung are the next Mozart - after 250 years, we must continue to wait for the next Mozart - they both fall into the category of musical prodigies. As I have patiently viewed nearly 5,000 Piazzolla videos this year, I have seen many child performers. Many of them are remarkably gifted and I suspect will grow up to be successful musicians but no other child has demonstrated the skills and musical sensitivity you see in today's video. The parallels to Piazzolla are interesting and Sungha Jung is at a critical point in his musical life. Will he become a serious student of music as Piazzolla did and bring the world a lasting contribution through his compositions or will he, as Piazzolla could have done, only exercise his skills as a performer? Either way, I suspect we will see more of this remarkable young man in the future but I do hope there is another Bela Wilda somewhere in Korea meeting with Sungha Jung even as you read this.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

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