Marking 20th year, Music In PyeongChang to highlight nature through classical music

2023. 6. 7. 16:36
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Cellist Yang Sung-won, the music director of the annual Music in PyeongChang festival, speaks during a press conference on Wednesday at the Korea Press Center in central Seoul. (Gangwon Art and Culture Foundation)

Music in PyeongChang, an annual music festival held in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province, will return to the theme of nature to celebrate its 20th anniversary this year.

In 2004, the festival was inaugurated under the theme of “nature’s inspiration.”

From July 26 to Aug. 5, the festival will showcase 20 concerts and eight outreach concerts with pieces such as Schumann's "Forest Scenes," Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons," and Schubert's "Trout Quintet," which are associated with nature or hold special significance, under the directorship of cellist Yang Sung-won. Yang was appointed the festival's fourth artistic director in March.

In the outdoor Daegwallyeong Music Tent, Strauss’ “An Alpine Symphony,” Olivier Messiaen’s “Catalogue d’oiseaux,” which captures the composer’s love for birds, Janacek’s piano cycle, “On an overgrown path,” Mendelssohn’s “The Hebrides Overture” (Fignal’s Cave), portraying a cave in the Hebrides archipelago, and Beethoven’s iconic “Pastoral Symphony,” will be performed.

The festival will invite the Kyiv Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, currently in exile due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, to express support for the artists as well as for peace, Yang told reporters. The orchestra will perform four times during the festival including at a pre-event concert on July 25 that will take place in the DMZ Museum in Goesong, Gangwon Province.

“We contemplated how the festival could contribute to society and how we could help artists around the world,” Yang noted. "To help the region, we will introduce the Family Outreach Concert, which aims to engage directly with local audiences by providing families with an enjoyable concert experience in a convenient location."

Yang also highlighted that a newly added mentorship program to MyPyC Academy will help next-generation musicians. “Instead of focusing on technical aspects, the mentorship program aims to expand artistic horizons of aspiring musicians,” Yang said. Violinist Guillaume Sutre, who is a founding member of Trio Wanderer and also holds the first violin position in the Ysaaye Quartet, has been invited for the inaugural program.

“Maintaining artistic quality on the top level goes without saying. In addition to this, we aim to establish a firm identity for the festival going forward,” Yang said.

The concert will kick off with an opening concert featuring the music director, who is also a cellist, violinist Yang In-mo, pianist William Youn, Choi Soo-yeoul and the Gyoenggi Philharmonic Orchestra. The festival will be joined by renowned musicians from Korea and abroad including cellist Choi Ha-young, the winner of the 2022 Queen Elizabeth competition, pianist Mun Ji-young and clarinetist Kim Han.

Debuting at this year’s edition are violinists Janna Gandelman and Guillaume Sutre; cellists Michiakia Ueno and Dmitry Yablonsky; pianists Roderick Chadwick and Shin Chang-yong, Chloe Jiyeong Mun, Lee Hyo-joo and Julius Jeong-won Kim; guitarist Jose Maria Gallardo Del Rey; percussionist Bruno Desmouilleres; and accordionist Pascal Pallisco.

Besides the music, the festival offers a special lecture, “What is music made of?” by mathematician Kim Min-hyoung on July 29 and 30, and a wine academy.

Organized by Gangwon Art and Culture Foundation, the festival was launched by violin professor Kang Hyo of the Juilliard School and celebrated musicians have served as Music in Pyeongchang's artistic director, including cellist Chung Myung-wha and violinist Chung Kyung-wha. Pianist Son Yeol-eum led the festival from 2018 to 2021.

By Park Ga-young(

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