중앙데일리

Putting music before money

Businessman develops foundation to support the arts

Feb 05,2007
Kim Il-gon, the head of the Daewon Cultural Foundation, supports classical music. By Lee Eun-jeong
Kim Il-gon, the president of the Daewon Cultural Foundation, is well-known in the business community for his support of classical music. He frequently purchases tickets for performances in order to give them to chief executive officers he is acquainted with. He has enjoyed many high-profile concerts including some by well-known foreign orchestras, as well as the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra playing Beethoven’s complete symphonies and the Bucheon Philharmonic Orchestra performing Mahler symphonies in their entirety.
“When people get old, they need friends to enjoy a hobby with,” Mr. Kim said. “Appreciating classical music is a good investment for one’s later life. As the world gets merciless and cruel there is nothing better than music to soothe one’s mind and body.”
“Top businessmen are emotionally deprived,” he added. “It seems as if they have everything but they feel lonely and unhappy. In the beginning, they went to concerts because of the free tickets I gave away but now they buy their own tickets to go.”
Mr. Kim personally organized a culture and arts forum on music, which is sponsored by the Samsung Economic Research Institute. He even arranged for lecturers.
Mr. Kim founded the Daewon Cultural Foundation to support classical musicians and their performances in 2004. That year, the foundation discovered pianist Kim Sun-wook, who was unknown at that time, and selected him as the first recipient of the Daewon Arts Award. Mr. Kim has received 30 million won ($31,914) in scholarship money annually and he won the prestigious Leeds International Pianoforte Competition in 2006. The foundation established the Daewon Music Award at the end of last year and conductor Chung Myung-hoon, composer Kang Suk-hi and music critic Lee Kang-suk became the first recipients of the honor.
“I decided that when I accumulated enough money, I wanted to spend it on music,” said Mr. Kim. “ I believe that spending money is more important than making it. I hope classical music can help retain the innocence of human beings a little. There are many cultural foundations that support artists and arts, and I’m happy about that.”
Mr. Kim’s father was a pianist and he went to concerts almost every week when he was young. He saw a performance of the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1964 and of pianist Arthur Rubinstein in 1965. Mr. Kim’s favorite composers are Brahms, Mahler and Chopin. The foundation also sponsored the 7th conducting camp held at Suwon Philharmonic Orchestra’s practice room in Suwon between Jan. 17 and Jan. 26. Aspiring young conductors took part in the camp. They learned conducting skills from well-known conductors and tried conducting an orchestra.


By Lee Jang-jik JoongAng Ilbo [jbiz91@joongang.co.kr]



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