Winter melodies to bring back memories of PyeongChang


The biannual concert series “Music in PyeongChang – Winter Festival” aims to bring back memories of the PyeongChang Olympics, while also enriching cultural aspect of Gangwon Province with classical music performances.

On Monday, the event’s artistic director pianist Son Yeol-eum and Gangwon Art & Culture Foundation Chairman Kim Sung-hwan attended a press conference held at Four Seasons Hotel Seoul and announced the winter portion of the festival’s program, which is held in summer and winter each year.

“Music in PyeongChang – Winter Festival” Art Director Son Yeol-eum speaks during a press conference held at Four Seasons Hotel Seoul in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)

“The keyword was ‘differentiation.’ I thought a lot about how to make the concert different from other music concerts held in Korea and even the festival’s summer edition,” said Son, who has held the post from the summer last year.

“As we have fewer performances in the winter, each performance should be different. The six performances should all create different sensations as if they are whole other music concerts,” the pianist said.

This year’s winter event is slated to take place across Gangwon Province from Feb. 7 to 16.

Son explained how the upcoming festival will be a set of “light classic” concerts, experimenting with new possibilities while keeping the basics.

“A large part of the audience still feels distant from classic music. The programs were selected with thoughts to narrow the gap. Classical music is Western music from hundreds of years ago, but I want to make it feel as if (the music is) still breathing around us,” she said.

“The festival’s identity is rooted in the classics. We invited rising, innovative musicians who are based in classical music.”

Originally the Great Mountains Music Festival, the summer festival was launched in 2004 to promote the PyeongChang Winter Olympics from the bidding stage.

For more effective promotions, the festival expanded to a biannual event three years ago. Through the two editions the music festival has been introducing classical music to the northeastern part of Korea.

This year marks the first time the festival will be held under its new name, Music in PyeongChang – Winter Festival.


Poster for “Music in PyeongChang – Winter Festival” (Gangwon Arts & Culture Foundation)

The winter festival consists of six main concerts: “NOwhere: NOWhere,” “Rhapsody in Brown,” “Melody<@MEN,” “Girl Becomes Queen,” “Baroque & Blue” and “Winterreise.”

The opening chamber music concert “NOwhere: NOWhere” will take place at the Seoul Arts Center on Feb. 8. Though often simply titled the PyeongChang Music Festival, the festival begins in Seoul in an effort to appeal to a wider audience.

“Girl Becomes Queen,” slated for Feb. 10 at the Gangneung Arts Center, is a tribute to legendary Korean figure skater Kim Yu-na. The program includes Kim’s performance pieces in order.

“As this edition of the concerts is a part of Gangwon Province’s one-year anniversary for the PyeongChang Olympics, we wanted to stage a performance that links the concerts with the event. Thinking about a way to connect music with sports, Kim popped into my mind,” Son explained.

Organizers have invited the figure skater to the music event, but are not yet sure whether she will be able to attend.

“Winterreise” is an experiment from pianist Son. The performance is a musical play depicting the last days of Schubert. Contemporary dancer Kim Seol-jin is to take on the part of maestro on stage, backed by the piano performance of Son.

Ticket prices for each concert range between 10,000 won ($8.90) and 50,000 won. The festival also includes three free Outreach Concerts, hosted at places where the Winter Games were played, including Wonju, Chuncheon and Jeongseon, all of which are in Gangwon Province.

For more information, visit the festival’s website.

By Im Eun-byel ([email protected])

Source : KoreaHerald

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