PyeongChang music fest goes global : This year, musicians from around the world will perform all over Gangwon

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PyeongChang music fest goes global : This year, musicians from around the world will perform all over Gangwon


Pianist Lim Ju-hee performs at a press conference for the 2018 PyeongChang Summer Music Festival on Tuesday at Ilshin Hall in Hannam-dong, central Seoul. [PYEONGCHANG MUSIC FESTIVAL AND SCHOOL]

Now that Pyeongchang is known all around the world thanks to the Winter Olympics, organizers of Music in PyeongChang (MPyC), formerly known as the Great Mountain Music Festival & School, are hoping the PyeongChang Summer Music Festival gets global recognition. This year’s festival is especially significant because first-time artistic director, Son Yeol-eum, has prepared special events and performances that will appeal to both international and local music lovers.

The 15th PyeongChang Music Festival will kick off on July 23 and end on Aug. 6. The theme of this year’s festival is “Curiosity,” and Son explained that she was inspired by the word’s lesser known definition - rare or novel. “I think the biggest strength that classical music has is that it is timeless and it causes people to question,” said Son. She added that curiosity leads to great inspirations and experiences, citing Albert Einstein’s famous quote - “I’m not a genius, I am just curious.”

The three main focuses of the festival are the orchestra, the music summer school and the performances that will take place throughout Gangwon. The Orchestra Series will begin with Going Home, a newly formed orchestra unit, which will be led by Russian conductor Dmitrij Kitajenko. “We have invited many Korean orchestral musicians who are members of famous orchestras around the world to return to Korea to perform together,” said Son.

The director continued, “Unlike these musicians, Dmitrij Kitajenko has a completely opposite story. He has been leading the KBS symphony orchestra in Korea, so Korea is like his second home.” Moreover, Son has invited foreign musicians who have performed in Korea in the past to create a global orchestra.

This year’s music summer school will be different from previous music schools in that they will focus on teaching students to harmonize together in an ensemble rather than playing as soloists. Along with chamber music lessons, the music school will offer special lectures. Students will get to learn about music theory, art history, esthetics and much more. The music school will be held at the Alpensia Convention Center and the Alpensia Concert Hall.

The orchestras will also visit different locations throughout Gangwon to perform, including several tourist attractions such as the Woljeong Temple in Pyeongchang and Museum SAN in Wonju. This will allow locals to come out and enjoy performances in their own neighborhoods. There will be 11 performances in different locations around the province.


From left to right : Kim Sung-hwan, chairman of the Gangwon Art & Culture Foundation, pianist and artistic director Son Yeol-eum and pianist Lim Ju-hee. [PYEONGCHANG MUSIC FESTIVAL AND SCHOOL]

“The first week of the festival will feature 28 songs that have never been performed in the 14 years of the PyeongChang Music Festival. Among them will be Beethoven’s ‘Hammerklavier’ played in a new symphonic arrangement,” said Son. The director added that they have also prepared a friendlier stage where musicians will improvise using ideas and words thrown out by the audience.

There will also be special performers in attendance such as 17-year-old piano prodigy Lim Ju-hee and Korean-Dutch harpist Lavinia Meijer. Lim will perform Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Soli Deo Gloria,” for her very first recital in Korea. Meijer will play songs from her album “The Glass Effect.”

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