Winners of the Great Music Festival celebrate the end of year

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Winners of the Great Music Festival celebrate the end of year

Kim Jong-hoon, chairman of the board of directors of SK Innovation, fifth from front left, Cheong Chul-gun, CEO of the Korea JoongAng Daily, fourth from front left, and ambassadors and spouses partake in the 2021 Charity Night Gala, an evening concert with winners of the 5th Great Music Festival hosted by the SK Innovation and the Korea JoongAng Daily, at the Lotte Hotel Seoul on Tuesday. [PARK SANG-MOON]

Kim Jong-hoon, chairman of the board of directors of SK Innovation, fifth from front left, Cheong Chul-gun, CEO of the Korea JoongAng Daily, fourth from front left, and ambassadors and spouses partake in the 2021 Charity Night Gala, an evening concert with winners of the 5th Great Music Festival hosted by the SK Innovation and the Korea JoongAng Daily, at the Lotte Hotel Seoul on Tuesday. [PARK SANG-MOON]

Following a two-year hiatus since the onset of the pandemic, the winners of the Great Music Festival, an annual music competition for musicians with developmental disabilities, performed before an in-person audience on Tuesday evening at Lotte Hotel Seoul.
 
“I believe music is the universal language of mankind because we can express our thoughts and feelings through music when we cannot communicate with words,” said Lee Yu-bin, a student of music composition at Sunhwa Arts High School and a winner of the 5th Great Music Festival. “Even if we are from different countries or speak different languages, we can communicate through music.”
 
Lee was one of seven musicians, all finalists of the music festival held virtually in October, who performed at the Lotte Hotel Seoul on Tuesday.
 
This 2021 Charity Night Gala special performance was organized by SK Innovation and the Korea JoongAng Daily and joined by the Heart to Heart Foundation and the Ambassadors Spouses Association in Seoul (ASAS).
 
It was the first time in two years for the finalists of the festival to have an in-person audience, as virus-related social distancing measures pushed the last two festivals online.
 
The Great Music Festival, first launched in 2017, is organized annually by SK Innovation and the Heart to Heart Foundation and supported by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and SM Entertainment.
 
As of this year, around 1,500 musicians with developmental disabilities have participated in the festival, according to the organizers.
 
"The musicians that we will meet shortly must have practiced their pieces for more than a thousand times before they came tonight," said Kim Jong-hoon, chairman of the board of directors of SK Innovation, in opening the 2021 Charity Night Gala. "So please listen to them with your heart and try to feel their aspiration, enthusiasm and emotions."
 

It was also apparent on the faces of the audience members as they listened to Lee and the six other musicians that live music had been much missed in their daily lives since the onset of the pandemic.
 
“Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19-related limitations and regulations, ASAS also limited its activities and postponed charity projects since the beginning of 2020,” said Konul Teymurova, the interim representative of ASAS and spouse of the Azerbaijan ambassador to Korea. “However, when we heard about the Charity Night Gala, we decided to join this good cause and support the musicians, especially during these challenging days.”
 
ASAS made a donation to the winning groups of the 5th Great Music Festival, contributing to their continued studies and training in music.
 
“The musicians of the Great Music Festival [tell] the type of stories we should tell more — stories of hard work, hope and passion,” said Cheong Chul-gun, CEO of the Korea JoongAng Daily. “We are especially delighted to share this experience with the ambassadors and their spouses, who have been bringing communities together and working to make a better world.”
Winners of the 5th Great Music Festival, from left, Kang Sang-su, Ji Yeon-jun, Lee Yu-bin, Choi Yun-jeong, Lim Eun-gyu, Lee Kang-hyeon and Ryu Jong-won and jazz pianist and TV personality Daniel Jakob Lindemann celebrate the end of year with a concert at the Charity Night Gala 2021 at Lotte Hotel Seoul on Tuesday. [PARK SANG-MOON]

Winners of the 5th Great Music Festival, from left, Kang Sang-su, Ji Yeon-jun, Lee Yu-bin, Choi Yun-jeong, Lim Eun-gyu, Lee Kang-hyeon and Ryu Jong-won and jazz pianist and TV personality Daniel Jakob Lindemann celebrate the end of year with a concert at the Charity Night Gala 2021 at Lotte Hotel Seoul on Tuesday. [PARK SANG-MOON]

 
There were six winning groups at the 5th Great Music Festival. Due to Covid-19 concerns, only three groups were able to participate in the performance on Tuesday.
 
The performers were: violinist Choi Yun-jeong and violist Ryu Jong-won of Vivace Ensemble; pianist Lee Kang-hyeon and pianist Lee Yu-bin of Playssimo; and saxophonist Lim Eun-gyu, violinist Ji Yeon-jun and pianist Kang Sang-su of Mosaic.
 
Joining in the audience were: Azerbaijan Ambassador Ramzi Teymurov and his wife Konul Teymurova; Belarusian Ambassador Andrew Chernetsky and his wife Marina Kozhurova; French Ambassador Philippe Lefort and his wife Faiza Lefort; Hungarian Ambassador Mozes Csoma and his wife Sunmi Nam; Israeli Ambassador Akiva Tor and his wife Naomi Tor; Kyrgyz Ambassador Dinara Kemelova; Omani Ambassador Zakariya Al Saadi; Peruvian Ambassador Daul Matute-Mejia and his wife Gabriela Blanco de Matute; Sierra Leonean Ambassador Kathos Jibao Mattai; Turkish Ambassador Ersin Ercin and his wife Muge Ercin; U.A.E. Ambassador Abdulla Saif Al Nuaimi; and Zambian Ambassador Wylbur Simuusa and his wife Beatrice Simuusa.
 
The event was moderated by jazz pianist and TV personality Daniel Jakob Lindemann.

BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]
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