Sisters in harmony on new direction for Pyeongchang festival

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Sisters in harmony on new direction for Pyeongchang festival

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Chung Myung-wha, left, and Chung Kyung-wha are in their second year as directors of Great Mountains International Music Festival.

Chung Myung-wha, 68, a cellist, and violinst Chung Kyung-wha, 64 , directed the Great Mountains International Music Festival & School last year for the first time,

For their second year as artistic directors, the two sisters of the internationally acclaimed Chung Trio have put their stamp on the festival with some significant changes in facilities and content.

Each summer for the past nine years, classical music aficionados have gathered in Pyeongchang, site of the 2018 Winter Olympics, for the Great Mountains International Music Festival & School.

For the first eight years of its existence, the festival was directed by Kang Hyo, a violinist and professor at Yale University.

For 2012, the most visible change is the construction of the Music Tent, an outdoor venue that can seat 1,300 people. The Music Tent, which is part of Alpensia Resort, has a bugle-shaped roof with glass walls that can be opened to produce an outdoor feel while preserving high-quality sound.

“By opening up the glass walls, the audience can enjoy the music while breathing in the fresh summer breeze,” said Chung Kyung-wha.

To celebrate the opening of the 11 billion won ($9.7 million) Music Tent, the festival orchestra will perform Franz Josef Haydn’s oratorio “Creation,” together with soprano Im Sun-hae, tenor Kim Woo-kyung and baritone Nikolay Borchev.

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Festival ensemble performs during last year. Provided by the festival

“This year, as we had more preparation time compared to last year, we decided to make the festival more bountiful by inviting more artists as well as building the new tent,” said Chung Myung-wha. “The Music Tent will be a great venue, not only during the music festival, but afterward by the Gangwon Art and Culture Foundation.”

To make the festival more “bountiful,” the Chungs decided to add dance, with the theme “Dancing Through the Centuries.”

“Among the great traditions in concert music is the sophisticated ways that the legendary composers have woven dance themes into some of their most significant pieces for orchestra and chamber music,” Chung said at a press conference last week. “Dance and music are interconnected. Like Jean Paul said, ‘Music is an invisible dance, as dancing is a silent music.’”

According to the organizers, the festival will highlight the world of dance in works stretching across four centuries - from popular dances of the 17th century to the dance crazes of the 20th century.

For this, the two principals of the American Ballet Theatre - Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky - will perform Frederic Chopin’s “Spectral Ball” and Kim Joo-won and Lee Dong-hun from the Korean National Ballet will present a pas de deux from “Giselle.”

The audience can also experience dance through the chamber music of Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms and Antonin Dvorak, which was often written to accompany popular dances such as the minuet in the 18th century and waltz in the 19th century. Igor Stravinksy’s 1918 theatrical work, “A Soldier’s Tale,” contains examples of tango and ragtime dance.

The two artistic directors will also take the stage themselves. Chung Kyung-wha will play “Chacconne” from Johan Sebastian Bach’s “Partita for Solo Violin No.2” and Sergei Prokofiev’s “Violin Sonata 1.” Chung Myung-wha will perform Claude Debussy’s “Cello Sonata” with pianist Kim Sun-wook.

The sisters will also play a duet. They said the third member of the Chung Trio - younger brother Chung Myung-whun on piano - will not join them because of his “busy schedule.”

The three-week festival also offers music classes and an opportunity for students to meet with renowned musicians.


* The festival runs July 21 to Aug. 11 at various venues in and around Alpensia and Yongpyeong resorts. For more information, call (033)249-3374 or visit www.gmmfs.com.

* Tickets are 30,000 won ($26) to 50,000 won per concert. Free performances are offered throughout the festival. To get to Alpensia Resort, take shuttle buses at exit No. 1 of Sadang Station on lines No. 2 and 4 at 8 a.m.; exit No. 6 of Apgujeong Station on line No. 3 at 8:30 a.m.; or exit No. 4 of Jamsil Station on line No. 2 and 8 at 9 a.m. Roundtrip tickets cost 28,000 won for adults and 22,000 won for children.

By Yim Seung-hye [sharon@joongang.co.kr]

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