Where Young and Old Make Music

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Where Young and Old Make Music

This year marks the 12th season of the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, an international event known for its exceptional educational program as well as the caliber of participating artists.

Every year, about 140 talented young musicians are selected from all over the world to participate in the festival's concerts and learn from established orchestral players from around the world. This year's instructors include principal members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Pacific Music Festival was founded in 1989 by Leonard Bernstein, the renowned American conductor and composer, who wanted to share the joy of music with people from all around the globe. The festival hopes to popularize and develop music throughout the Pacific Region through the education of young aspiring musicians.

The first festival, which was initially planned to be held in Beijing was held in Sapporo, Japan, instead due to the demonstrations in Tiananmen Square that year. Since then, Sapporo has continued to host the festival.

Along with the host city, Japanese corporations such as Nomura Securities, Panasonic, Japan Airlines and Toyota Motor Corp. sponsor the event, providing more than half of the 800 million yen ($6.7 million) budget. Opening and closing ceremonies will be held at Sapporo Art Park's outdoor stage and many of the performances will be staged at the Sapporo Concert Hall.

Qualified young musicians between the ages of 18 and 29 will be invited to the festival to receive training and perform as members of the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra. Auditions will be held on March 3 and 4 for Korean candidates at the Yulim Arts Hall in Seoul. Candidates who get through the preliminary round on the first day will then be judged the following day by Charles Dutoit, artistic director of the festival and musical director of the NHK Symphony Orchestra and the Montreal Symphony.

The finalists who make it to the festival, which runs from Jul. 7 to Aug. 1, will learn about ensemble music and get a chance to show off their skills. The festival's organizers pay for travel expenses and provide accommodation and meals to all participants. March 1 is the application deadline for the audition in Korea. Applicants who are not able to make the live audition may submit recordings of the required repertoire with their application.

To gain orchestral experience at an academy before entering an orchestra is becoming an increasing trend for music graduates these days. Unlike most music camps in Korea, where training is offered mainly through private lessons, the Pacific Music Festival's activities include orchestral rehearsals and performances, chamber music coaching sessions and master classes. The Pacific Music Festival is an opportunity for Korean music students to gain hands-on experience, meet fellow musicians from around the world and rub shoulders with the great masters of orchestral music.

For more information about the audition, call 02-548-4480 or visit the Web site (www.pmf.or.jp).

by Lee Jang-jik

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