At DramaFever's 5th Anniversary Party, we invited three classical musicians to play covers of some of our favorite K-drama original soundtracks. With the release of the popular drama Tomorrow's Cantabile, we were curious what it is really like to study classical music. Here's what the musicians had to say. 

Violinist Tim Cho


Interview Q1: When/how did you realize your calling as a musician?

A: I first knew for sure that I was going to be in music for life in my sophomore year in high school. Our family had guests over one night, so I decided to move my practice over to the garage not to bother the guests. I was practicing for my trio performance of an arrangement of "Amazing Grace," and I felt this profound warmth embedded in the music that I've never felt before. Ever since then, I knew for sure music was my purpose in life.

Interview Q2: Tomorrow's Cantabile, the new exclusive drama featuring music students, is gaining popularity on our site since it's release. What is it like to go to a music school? What is your day-to-day schedule like?

A: Your experience at a music conservatory usually varies depending on your major: strings, winds, brass, percussion, piano, composition, conducting, and voice (not to mention the jazz/contemporary department for each of these majors). Personally as a violinist/conductor, it is difficult to maintain my playing level on the violin and to study scores for the upcoming orchestra rehearsals. I constantly find myself looking for a slot to squeeze in a time either to catch up on homework or practice. Fun.

Interview Q3: What other instruments can you play, if any?

A: Guitar, bass guitar, drum set, viola, piano, voice.

Interview Q4: Do you have any performance-related pet peeves and/or superstitious habits?

A: I do have one performance habit where I swing my bow due to my constant urge to play around with things. I've managed to tone it down quite a bit but cannot seem to get rid of it completely. My greatest pet peeve is when someone makes a cross on their rosin (only string players will understand what I'm talking about.)

Interview Q5: What is your favorite non-classical music/song? (let it be something top 40, K-pop, country, whatever!)

A: EDM. I am convinced that it will eventually lead itself to modern-day symphony, if it didn't already. Some of my favorite DJs include Armin van Buuren, James Zabiela, Claude VonStroke, SHM...

Interview Q6: Strangers may be too quick to judge or make assumptions about you as a classical musician. Any interesting episode associated with musician stereotypes?

A: There are countless stereotypes about musicians, but there is one that stands out to annoy me the most. People think the faster one can play their notes, the better the musician he/she is. I always try to say to those who stand in awe at the lightening-fast technique of their instruments, "That's circus, not music."

Interview Q7: What do you think about Tomorrow's Cantabile? Are you familiar with the original manga/ Japanese drama?

A: I am not too familiar with the story line. I do know my close friends who've enjoyed the series very much and are pushing me to start watching/reading... And I might do just that.

Interview Q8: What was your favorite drama title out of the ones you performed at the anniversary event?

A: I do not have a favorite drama title per se, but I do have a favorite OST title. Ever since my cellist Yoobin mentioned "That Man" by Hyun Bin from Secret Garden, it gets me laughing every time. The context of the word is just not the same in English as it does in Korean. lol

Interview Q9: In the drama Tomorrow's Cantabile Joo Won's character Cha Yoo Jin talks about Sebastian Viera, his teacher/mentor. Tell us about your musical idol, mentor, the best teacher you've had.

A: Maestro George Manahan (Affiliations: American Composers Orchestra, Portland Opera, New York City Opera) is my current teacher/mentor. He has my utmost respect for his craft of making music and how he treats the musicians under his baton. I also revere Maestro David Gilbert (Affiliations: Greenwich Symphony Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic, American Ballet Theatre, New York Philharmonic) as my mentor for his direction and care for my professional growth.

Interview Q10: As mentioned repeatedly, we find similarities between you and the male lead (Joo Won / Cha Yoo Jin)'s background. Cha Yoo Jin is a pianist hoping to become a conductor of an orchestra, and you are a violinist studying to be a conductor as well. What made you interested in conducting? What's the difference between playing an instrument vs. conducting?

A: Funny story. According to my mother, I started conducting before I started playing the violin. My mom took me to go listen to Beethoven Symphony No.3 at Seoul Arts Center when I was four. Ever since then, she tells me that I would start conducting whenever she put on Mozart's Jupiter Symphony. Haha I guess conducting was always my passion. I just simply came to a realization over time.

To answer your second question, there isn't much difference between the two than you think. Conducting an orchestra is like playing an instrument but just at a bigger scale. Much, much bigger scale. After all, orchestra in itself is considered an instrument.


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Cello - Yoobin Chung


Interview Q1: When/how did you realize your calling as a musician?

I started playing piano when i was 4, and I thought I will become a pianist till I saw a cello. I just fell in love with the mellow cello sound and wanted to devote my life to it.

Interview Q2: Tomorrow's Cantabilethe new exclusive drama featuring music students, is gaining popularity on our site since it's release. What is it like to go to a music school? What is your day-to-day schedule like?

A: This may sound silly, but it's like going to Hogwarts! A bunch of really talented kids get together in a school "Regular everyday people" can't quite understand or see, to make sounds that don't make sense without training and dedication, but what comes out for the end product is truly magical. I wouldn't trade it for anything. Everyday things include working on chamber music and orchestral projects with amazing people, classes about music, and lots and lots of practice!

Interview Q3: What other instruments can you play, if any?

A: Piano. this is my first instrument so i always stuck with it. It's also very important instrument to understand classical music.

Interview Q4: Do you have any performance-related pet peeves and/or superstitious habits?

A: I like to dress up nicely for my performance. I believe in really respecting the stage. people are giving their time and energy to watch/listen, and performers must give back equally.

Interview Q5: What is your favorite non-classical music/song? (let it be something top 40, K-pop, country, whatever!)

A:  I love Jazz! love their mood and freedom and I also like K-pop and Korean ballad. Korean language and lyrics always speak to me more than anything!

Interview Q6: Strangers may be too quick to judge or make assumptions about you as a classical musician. Any interesting episode associated with musician stereotypes?

A: Sometimes people assume that I won't enjoy being around/seeing other types of music because I am devoted to classical music, but my moods change just like everyone else; some days I want to listen to this and some days I want to listen to that.

Interview Q7: What do you think about Tomorrow's Cantabile? Are you familiar with the original manga/ Japanese drama?

A: I actually watched the original version and loved it when I was young. i think it's a really good thing to have classical music on a TV drama. Show people what it is and that it's still relevant. Also it's fun to see what it would be like to attend music school and experience a different life than your own.

Interview Q8: What was your favorite drama title out of the ones you performed at the anniversary event?

A: I like Secret GardenHeirs, and My Love from Another Star! and... everything!! ( i am a big fan of Korean drama~~)

Interview Q9: In the drama Tomorrow's Cantabile, Joo Won's character Cha Yoo Jin talks about Sebastian Viera his teacher/mentor. Tell us about your musical idol, mentor, the best teacher you've had.

A: It's very hard to choose one person as the most important because every person has played an integral role in my musical training, but at this moment my current teacher Alan Stepansky is a very important role model, mentor and an amazing teacher.

Interview Q10:  Many event attendees complemented on how adorable you were! You have a big instrument that is almost as tall as you are. Is there a trick to lugging a cello around? Tell us one thing about cellists people don't really know about!

A: hank you:)

Smile is a good trick for girls to get help:) Cello is so big so moving it around is sometimes very difficult but a good smile can make all the difference whether its asking for help moving it, pushing through a crowd, or just keeping myself happy and smiling doing what I love.

A good thing to know about cellist is that we have similar warm, nice and mellow personalities like our instruments.

Piano - Jo Kang


Interview Q1: When/how did you realize your calling as a musician?

A: I fell in love with the piano from my very first piano lesson. Although the work leading towards a performance can be hard and stressful, after every performance I know playing the piano is what I was born to do.

Interview Q2: Tomorrow's Cantabile, the new exclusive drama featuring music students, is gaining popularity on our site since it's release. What is it like to go to a music school? What is your day-to-day schedule like? 

A: The best thing about going to a music school is that you can collaborate with just about every other student and faculty member. The community is very close knit and friendly.
Day-to-day schedule changes through the years—but basically theory, history, humanities etc. classes throughout the day, major lessons once a week, rehearsals, coachings, homework, assignments, exams and midterms! And of course we need to try and fit in hours of practice somewhere along the way.

Interview Q3: What other instruments can you play if any?

A: I tried to play the flute in Primary school, but asthma stopped me from pursuing this any further. I’ve also picked up the guitar as a hobby to play while I sing cheesy Katy Perry songs (badly).

Interview Q4: Do you have any performance-related pet peeves and/or superstitious habits?

A: I hate seeing people “faking” actions/motions during performances. Musicians should be honest with what they present to their audience.

Interview Q5: What is your favorite non-classical music/song? (let it be something top 40, K-pop, country, whatever!) 

A: I don’t have a favorite anything! K-pop—I love Girls’ Generation (Seohyun fan here).

Interview Q6: Strangers may be too quick to judge or make assumptions about you as a classical musician. Any interesting episode associated with musician stereotypes?

- The only stereotypical episode I come across regularly is when someone can only name Mozart and try to spark up a conversation like they know everything about classical music.

Interview Q7: What do you think about Tomorrow's Cantabile? Are you familiar with the original manga/Japanese drama?

A: No! I’m very excited to start watching it, though!

Interview Q8: What was your favorite drama title out of the ones you performed at the anniversary event?

A: The only one I actually watched was A Gentleman’s Dignity!

Interview Q9: In the drama Tomorrow's Cantabile, Joo Won's character Cha Yoo Jin talks about Sebastian Viera his teacher/mentor. Tell us about your musical idol, mentor, the best teacher you've had. 

A: My musical idol is Martha Argerich (Argentinian pianist). My teachers Professor Nikolay Evrov (who was my teacher in Australia) and Professor Phillip Kawin (my current teacher at Manhattan School of Music) are always pushing me to do and be better and are always supportive. I’ve been very lucky.

Interview Q10: We dig your style, Jo! Loved your outfit at the anniversary event. Piano is the main instrument on the show Tomorrow's Cantabile," as two main characters are pianists. Characters often discuss playing the instrument freely vs. playing by the book (!). We are curious about your thoughts on this and what makes a great pianist. 

A: Thank you! Playing any instrument by the book is important because playing what the composer wants should be number one. However, it’s important to put your own emotions and perspective into your playing. Performing music to an audience is all about showcasing the composers’ masterpieces but being able to share your own story and unique perspectives. Performing is communicating. Otherwise everyone would sound the same!