Listening, playing and learning in the ‘great mountains’

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Listening, playing and learning in the ‘great mountains’

The striking landscape around Daegwallyeong Pass has earned that area of Gangwon province the title “Great Mountains of South Korea.” Here, only 20 minutes from the East Sea and at an altitude offering respite from the brutal humidity and heat, more than 30 world-class classical musicians and 120 gifted students will be convening for the inaugural Great Mountains Music Festival and School.
The festival, which runs from tomorrow to Aug. 8 at Yongpyong resort, is an opportunity for the public to hear classical music in a setting far from the city. While the concerts are indoors, golfing, hiking and the beach are not too far away.
More then 45 concerts and events are lined up, with a focus on the violin, viola, cello and piano. The repertoire includes such favorites as Schubert’s “Trout” quintet, Haydn’s “Sunrise” quartet, Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade” and Brahms’s “Rain” sonata, as well as 20th-century works like Henri Dutilleux’s “Ainsi La Nuit” and Previn’s “Vineyard.”
The festival is also an opportunity for aspiring string musicians to develop. “We wanted to encourage talented young people by giving them a chance to study with greats,” said Kim Myeong-beom, a festival organizer.
These attendees, who hail from more then 15 countries, are students at such venerable institutions as Juilliard, Curtis, Yale and Columbia. Some are kindergartners, others in their early 20s. The students are offered “master classes, individual and chamber music performance opportunities, seminars and lectures that are not ordinarily offered through regular school curricula, as well as intense training on their instruments,” according to the organizer’s literature. Students will also be giving recitals, including solos with a guest orchestra.
Toward the end of the festival, a competition will be held to determine who will perform one of the following at the finale: Henri Vieuxtemps’s Concerto No. 5 or Mendelssohn’s Concerto in E minor for violin; Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in E flat major or Hummel’s “Fantasie” for the viola, and Haydn’s Cello Concerto in D or Tchaikovsky’s “Rococo” for the cello.
Students will study under professionals like Chee-Yun, a violinist who has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, the Toronto Symphony and the Houston Symphony. One of the cello instructors is Aldo Parisot, who has performed with prestigious orchestras across the globe.
Elizabeth Parisot, Aldo Parisot’s wife, is one of the piano instructors; The Washington Post has called her “a sensational pianist.” Other instructors include Chin Kim, Joan Kwuon, Lee Sung-ju, Joel Smirnoff, Yim Won-bin, Toby Appel, Heidi Castleman and Kim Sang-jin.
The festival opens Saturday with performances by the International Sejong Soloists, under the artistic direction of Hyo Kang. Kim Chee-Yun, Joan Kwuon, Frank Huang, Ani Aznavoorian and Jian Wang will be performing Vivaldi’s Concerto for Three Violins in F major, Piatigorsky’s “Variations on a Theme of Paganini” and Haydn’s Concerto in C Major for cello. The festival’s finale features the student concerto competition winners.


by Joe Yong-hee

For more information, visit www.gmmfs.com. Ticket prices range from 10,000 won ($8.50) to 20,000 won.

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