[INTERVIEW] Korean-German pianist Gina Alice Redlinger releases debut album 'Wonderworld' - The Korea Times
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[INTERVIEW] Korean-German pianist Gina Alice Redlinger releases debut album 'Wonderworld'

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Pianist Gina Alice performs during a promotional event held online for her debut album,
Pianist Gina Alice performs during a promotional event held online for her debut album, "Wonderworld," in Frankfurt, Thursday. Courtesy of Universal Music

By Park Ji-won

The 2019 marriage of renowned Chinese pianist Lang Lang made headlines in Korea, as he married Korean-German pianist Gina Alice Redlinger. Since the marriage, she has become better known as the wife of the superstar pianist, as well as a TV star, after appearing on some programs in China following her move there. However, she is a promising pianist and talented musician in her own right.

Born in Wiesbaden, Germany, Redlinger started playing piano at the age of four, performing in public for the first time at the age of eight and giving her first solo recital at 15. Following graduation from the Hamburg University of Music, the 27-year-old has collaborated with a number of orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Shenyang Symphony Orchestra and the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra.

After giving birth to a baby boy this year, she is about to resume her journey as a pianist, with her first album, "Wonderworld," released last month by Universal Music's classical music label, Deutsche Grammophon. Lang Lang advised and participated in the album, which includes a variety of genres, ranging from classical to modern ― including a range of Western classical works, Korean songs, Chinese compositions, Japanese compositions, Jazz works, lullabies and a film soundtrack ― supported by her background in Europe, especially in Germany, as well as in Asia, as a mixed Korean German, and China, her husband's country.

The album's works, picked by herself, include: Debussy's "La plus que Lente," Erik Satie's "Gymnopedie No. 1," Fazil Say's "Jazz Fantasy on Mozart," Rachmaninoff's preludes, as well as Chinese compositions such as "Ren Guang's Colourful Clouds Chasing the Moon," and Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi's "Merry-Go-Round." Notably, she chose to play Korean children's songs, such as "Mother, Sister ("Eomma-ya Nuna-ya")," based on the poem by Kim Sowol, and "Bandal" ("half-moon") by Yun Geuk-yeong, for Korean fans.

She also plays two pieces with her husband: Brahms' "Waltz Op.39, No. 15 for four hands" and "Hungarian Rhapsody No. 5," which she picked as the highlight of the album. She revealed that she had to record the pieces within 14 days in China and that her husband and her father accompanied her throughout the recording.

Pianist Gina Alice Redlinger, left, listens as her husband Lang Lang, a piano superstar, speaks during a promotional event held online for her debut album,
Pianist Gina Alice Redlinger, left, listens as her husband Lang Lang, a piano superstar, speaks during a promotional event held online for her debut album, "Wonderworld," in Frankfurt, Thursday. Courtesy of Universal Music

The pianist said that she chose "dreamy" pieces so that the album can help us, as busy people in contemporary society, imagine an ethereal world while listening to her playing, which expresses many emotions and aims to offer some consolation to people.

"I really wanted to bring classical music into the daily lives of everyone," she said during a recent press conference held online to promote her first album in Frankfurt, Thursday.

"Our lives are so busy every day and everyone is always running from one appointment to another, from work to another. So I hope my album is a good friend who accompanies us through life and also (can be listened to) when we want to have our own calm time, while delivering us into our own dream world. When we listen to it, we can be connected to ourselves and also be connected to other people through the music … I recorded many different emotions in the music."

For Redlinger, Korea is a "warm" country she feels attached to due to her Korean heritage, from her mother, and good memories with her grandparents and relatives while spending vacations in Korea. She grew up listening to a lot of Korean lullabies and children's songs from her mother, such as "Santokki," or wild rabbit, and picked some for the album to share the warmth of these pieces and their sentiments of the connection to nature.

"Those two (Korean) pieces are also very warm and fit the album. 'Eomma-ya Nuna-ya' has also a little bit of sorrow in the story with a beautiful melody. 'Bandal' is also a very warm piece, but it feels like being very connected to nature, just as if you could hug the whole world … My son also listened to me playing those two Korean pieces and he loved it. He always listened very concentratedly."

She is planning to visit Korea for some projects related to the album next February. Lang Lang's recitals and performances in Korea with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra are planned for June or July.



Park Ji-won jwpark@koreatimes.co.kr


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