Cellists to vie at international music festival

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Cellists to vie at international music festival

The Tongyeong International Music Festival has in past years brought many classical music fans to the small city of Tongyeong. The fall season of the festival begins on Oct. 27, and the highlight of the festival is the fourth Gyeongnam International Music Competition. The festival added the fall season for the first time last year as it tried to add to its festival nature by tying up with the competition. This year’s event is a cello competition as the instrument category changes every year between cello, violin and piano.
The competition this year is particularly notable because it is the first since becoming a member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions in April. The Gyeongnam International Music Competition is the first Korean classical competition to be recognized by the federation.
Competition is expected to be fierce between the 66 performers from 17 countries, including a number of prize winners at prestigious international competitions such as the Rostropovich Cello Competition, the International Tchaikovsky Competition and the David Popper International Cello Competition. This is partly because there are many piano, violin and voice competitions internationally, but relatively fewer cello competitions. The chief judge is Wolfgang Boettcher, an honorary professor at the Hochschule der Kunste Berlin. A leading soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic till 1976, Mr. Boettcher performed when Herbert von Karajan was the conductor. He was close to Yun I-sang and played Yun’s work.
Concertos by Yun, Edward Elgar, Robert Schumman and Antonin Dvorak are mandatory pieces selected by the competition authority to be played by finalists this year.
The first preliminary takes place on Oct. 28 and 29 and the second preliminary is on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, at Tong Yong Citizen’s Center. The final competition is scheduled for Nov. 3. The winner will perform at the Masan MBC Hall in Masan, South Gyeongsang province, on Nov. 4.
The main composers featured at this year’s festival are Yun, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (this year is the 250th anniversary of his birth) and Dmitri Shostakovich (100th anniversary). The festival’s opening day features a solo performance by violist Richard Yongjae O’Neill on Oct. 27. The St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra will close the festival on Nov. 6.


by Lee Jang-jik
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