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Jo Sumi promises to sing for those who are suffering

Posted December. 01, 2022 07:26,   

Updated December. 01, 2022 07:26


“I have figured out there are more people who struggle to survive every single day for many reasons than those who relax and indulge in the joy of music across the globe. Going beyond merely working as a singer, I intend to live in harmony with those socially marginalized.”

World-famous soprano Jo Sumi plans to provide a free-of-charge performance to the weak and marginalized. She will sing for free to specially celebrate the 15th Happiness of 1,000 Won Concert scheduled this Sunday at the Grand Theater, Sejong Cultural Center, Jongno-gu District, Seoul. She had a written interview with The Dong-A Ilbo. “I have been completely dedicated to the sole goal of outperforming other singers for the past 36 years while spreading sympathy and happiness across the audiences. However, I have realized that my job should be a greater mission than what I have worked on so far,” she said. “That is why I want to help make even a small difference by doing my part.”

The upcoming show will be performed in front of 3,000 invitees, including North Korean defectors, people with disabilities, orphans, and young grown-ups raised in orphanages preparing to stand on their feet. Although the concert’s title includes “Happiness of 1,000 Won,” the invitees have free access. The lineup includes Jo Sumi, Prime Philharmonic Orchestra, tenor Jang Joo-hoon, cross-over tenor Chris Young, and haegeum artist NARY. Jo will sing Korean art songs such as “Waiting For You,” “First Love,” and “No Flower Blooms without Wavering.”

“Korean songs are well-received and enjoyed across the globe with K-singers standing on top. It is an incredible change that is hard to believe from the perspective of a singer who made a debut in Trieste, Italy 36 years ago. Back then, it took an outstanding level of capabilities for Korean singers even to draw the attention of local audiences. My goal is to help promote Korean-unique works of art further by singing Korean songs incredibly.”

The first international vocal music competition named after Jo will be held in Paris, France in July next year. Awardees will be allowed to collaborate with Jo and work with the world-leading music group Warner Music to release an album. Jo will lead the judging panel in this competition. She appreciated the recognition and acknowledgment of her 36 years’ dedication to music, hoping the competition to give young vocal music performers the door to the global stage.

Ji-Hoon Lee easyhoon@donga.com