PRAGUE – Korean musician awarded by the Czech foreign minister
06.10.2009 / 07:19
(This article expired 06.10.2012.)
Korean musician and Antonín Dvořák-enthusiast Young-Chul Choi has been presented Gratias Agit award for promoting good name of the Czech Republic and its culture abroad.
Young-Chul Choi receiving the award from Czech Foreign Minister JanKohout
At a gala ceremony in Prague, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Jan Kohout awarded 12 foreign individuals and one institution with the Gratias Agit Award for 2009. Among the recipients gathered at Prague’s Černín Palace, seat of the Czech Foreign Ministry, was Young-Chul Choi, a long term promotor of Czech music in the Republic of Korea.
Young-Chul Choi has been born in Mokpo, he earned his degree at universities of Hanyang and Vienna, Austria. He worked as a professor at the Seoul Women´s University and is now the director and resident conductor of Seouloratorio, an organization that includes a music academy, an orchestra and a choir, of which he is the artistic director. Mr Choi is an active promotor of Czech music, he founded the Antonín Dvořák Society in Seoul and endowed it with an extensive archive of Dvořák´s recordings, literature and musical materials. Not surprisingly, Dvořák´s music – and not only his most famous symphony „From the New World“ – is a mainstay of Seouloratorio repertoir.
Every year since 1997, the Czech Foreign Minister presents Gratias Agit awards to those who have helped to promote the good name of the Czech Republic and its culture abroad. Dozens of exceptional individuals were honoured since, among them leading Korean centre for Czech language and culture studies – Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in 2006.
This year´s recipients include individuals and institutions from all over the world. The list of 2009 laureates ranges from Marius Sczygiel, a Polish journalist, who published a best-selling book about the Czech Republic, to Pontifical College Nepomucenum, an educational institution for Czech clergy in the Vatican. Among this year’s recipients of the Gratias Agit Awards was also Paul Wilson, a Canadian writer, journalist and translator, who came to Czechoslovakia in 1967 and stayed for ten years, until he was expelled from the country by the then-communist regime for alleged subversive activities. Since then, he translated works by many Czech writers into English, notably the plays of playwright turned president Václav Havel. Also the only Japanese awarded this year – Itaru Iijima – is a translator of Karel Čapek, Václav Havel and Jaroslav Seifert and leading Japanese expert on Czech literature and culture.Other awarded personalities are from Slovakia, Russia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Austria, Luxembourg, Canada, the United States and El Salvador.