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MP3 Robert Sang-Ung Choi, Cello and Marco Diaz Tamayo, Guitar - fuegokoori : Fire and Ice

An intimate and profound meeting between the guitar''s Latin drive and the soulful melancholy of the cello, this fuegokoori duo, at times tender and at other times explosive, is an act made for the passionate at heart.

11 MP3 Songs
CLASSICAL: Contemporary, LATIN: General

"fuegokoori" is a fresh new concept which combines opposing forces like cello and guitar, and features musical elements from around the world. "fuego" means fire in Spanish, whereas "koori" represents ice in Japanese.

"fuegokoori" symbolizes the explosive synergy of the elemental opposites of fire and ice. My name is Robert Sang-Ung Choi, the initiator of "fuegokoori", and I began with a dream of performing works for cello and guitar. My first step was to outline the musical program by seeking out classical and modern music for this rare but exciting combination; even writing some of my own arrangements and original works. This concept came to its fruition at the first "fuegokoori" concert on October 31, 2003 at the famed Musikhalle in Hamburg, Germany.

Now an internationally acclaimed ensemble, "fuegokoori" explores crossovers of extreme emotions and soul-searching themes, featuring obscure works of more celebrated composers like Paganini, Sarasate, Piazzolla and de Falla, directly contrasted with works by leading Japanese and Chinese composers like Mayuzumi Toshiro and Zhou Long. Experience the refreshing juxtaposition of Asian calm and tranquility with flamenco''s exuberance and fire!

"Think about fire and ice, both are the natural representation of extreme emotions. What you see is not necessarily what you feel. Fire and ice tend to overlap, meaning you have blue fire. For example, if you make something too cold, you''ll burn it. Think about the music we are playing: Spanish/Latino music is full of passion while music with Asian elements is generally calm and tranquil. These extreme emotions tend to overlap and even crossover in an exciting way, and we would like to bring this excitement to the audience."

About the first "fuegokoori" CD: The partnership between cello and guitar is remarkably fresh. This fuegokoori program includes music spanning across three centuries written by Spanish violin virtuoso Pablo de Sarasate, the famous guitarist Mauro Giuliani, Spanish cellist Gaspar Cassadó (1897-1966) and Astor Piazzolla. An original composition by Robert Sang-Ung Choi, Estampa, as well as an exciting arrangement of the famous Guantanamera by virtuoso guitarist, Marco Díaz Tamayo and a Japanese Bunraku composed by Toshiro Mayuzumi, round out a colorful and fulfilling program of "fuegokoori".

The next fuegokoori release, Passion, will be available in the Fall of 2006. It features more Piazzolla tangos and works for cello and guitar ensemble, a fascinating new combination! Look for it here at CDBaby!

"Fiery and sensitive...this combination, riveting and fascinating on the one hand, transfigured and full of a sense of longing on the other. This was not an experiment any more, it was pure music."
Passau, Germany

"Choi is a true artist with the cello...full of the joy and zest of life"
Konstanz, Germany

Robert Sang-Ung Choi was born in Chicago into a music-loving family. He began studying music at the age of three; first the violin and later, the piano and cello. His loving affection for music and exceptional musical talent became evident to his music teachers during his early ages. However, as a multi-talented person, it was only later in life that Sang-Ung decided music was a means to an end for his life. He finally discovered what he wanted to accomplish - his pursuit of the purity of sound, without any musical boundaries.
In 1989, after earning a Bachelor´s Degree in Cell Biology from the University of Michigan, Sang-Ung decided to turn away from the science, medicine and engineering world that lay before him in favour of a life in music. Pivotal in this decision was his 93-year-old piano teacher, Dr Blythe Owen, who taught him not only piano, but also to believe in his own musical instincts and ability.
For Sang-Ung, singing has always been the most important part of music-making; in 1986-89, he was actively performing with vocal jazz, men´s and mixed choir groups. Sang-Ung has studied voice with Charles Eversole, piano with John Owings and Zeyda Ruga Suzuki, and cello with Tom Rosenberg, Pamela Frame and Heidi Litschauer, earning music degrees from Indian University, the Eastman School of Music and the Salzburg Mozarteum.

During his years in Salzburg, Sang-Ung developed a pureness and clarity of tone and expression, which has brought him rave reviews and numerous performances as soloist, recitalist and chamber musician in Japan, North America and throughout Europe. Robert is also a member of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.

No Border. From Bach to Piazzolla, Jazz to Modern Music.
Sang-Ung´s interest in different types of music - jazz, tango, modern classical, traditional classical - is evident in his performance with various artists. His sheer breadth of projects included performance with drummer Ritchie Pratt for "Jazz in Honolulu"; Jazz at Leopoldskron featuring Afro-American Spirituals, Austrian Ensemble for New Music (OENM); fuegokoori: Cello meets Guitars, a collaboration with the Guitar Ensemble Konstanz; and Luigi the Barnyard Mouse, which features reading and performance of his own story and music.

"For me, music is an inspiration. I enjoy playing classical repertoire like the Bach Cello Suites, and at the same time, I´m thrilled when performing new repertoire and being able to improvise in a concert. I believe that a mix of styles will reach a broader audience base which could eventually bring even younger audiences closer to classical music."

His recent recordings include: Cello Moods, featuring works for cello solo by Cassado, Isang Yun, Bach, Ysaÿe and Toshiro Mayuzumi; "fuegokoori: Fire & Ice"; "Allerseelen"; and the Sonata-Concerto for Cello and Orchestra by Brahms. Recorded with pianist Stan Ford, "Allerseelen" is a compilation of songs by Brahms, Wolf and Strauss that had long been special to Sang-Ung and that he adapted for cello and piano. This release, "fuegokoori: Cello meets Guitar", is a live recording of a performance with the Cuban guitarist Marco Díaz Tamayo, featuring duo works from Paganini to Piazzolla.

The next release, fuegokoori: Passion, is due to hit the market in November, so remember to check back with CD Baby!

Take advantage of our special offer: If you purchase TWO copies of fuegokoori: Fire and Ice today, we will send you one free copy of fuegokoori: Passion, as soon as they arrive!

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