Many critics, including Jens Laurson (writing for WETA) and Alex Ross, were impressed by Unsuk Chin's Alice in Wonderland this summer in Munich. She is being honored right now at the Musica Festival in Strasbourg, as reported by Christian Merlin (Unsuk Chin, la surprise coréenne, October 11) for Le Figaro (my translation):
Musica has just prepared a sonic portrait of Unsuk Chin, the 46-year-old Korean composer, and it is a musician of the first order who has been discovered. Her masterpiece, Acrostic-Wordplay, leaves one speechless: this work, written by a 30-year-old woman who had barely finished her studies with Ligeti, is a concentrated burst of intelligence and refinement, an alchemical mix of East and West, abstraction and oneirism, in a fascinating play of changing timbres and fluctuating harmony. More conventional, her Troyennes reveals an extraordinary dramatic force, the orchestra, the chorus, and a soprano part that takes your breath away (the exceptional Juanita Lascarro) all seeing their expressive potential utilized to the full. Kala, a slightly too systematic series of playful and enchanting pieces, confirms her affinity for the voice, while her Violin Concerto, after the necessary adjustment to a rather consonant style, charms endlessly by an elegance and subtlety increased by the natural class of the soloist, Hae-Sun Kang.It sounds pretty good, doesn't it? Definitely a composer to watch.