“Let’s Rock Festival”: The upcoming “Let’s Rock Festival” is gearing up to feature some of the country’s most notable indie bands in a two-day outdoor rock fest. The festival will include headlining acts Clazziquai, Peppertones, Zitten, Sister’s Barbershop, Crying Nut, No Brain, Guckkasten and Rose Motel as well as more than 30 other acts. The two-day indie music festival will be held at the Nanji Hangang Park on Sept. 20 and 21. Ticket prices are listed at 66,000 won for a one-day pass and 99,000 won for a two-day pass. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
“Mamas Gun: Returns 2014”: The London-based electro funk band Mamas Gun is slated to return to Korea and hold another solo concert in September. The five-piece English rock band made its debut in 2008 and has released two albums: “Routes to Riches” (2009) and “The Life and Soul” (2011). Although the band has not yet reached the mainstream in the U.K., the bandmates have managed to find success in the Asian market. The solo concert will be held at the UNIQLO AX Hall in Seoul on Sept. 26. Tickets for the show are listed as 77,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
|Mamas Gun (Christie Goodwin/Mamas Gun official website)|
“John Legend: The All of Me Tour”: The globally renowned U.S. R&B singer John Legend is making his way back to Seoul for an intimate acoustic solo concert in September. The nine-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter has released countless hits over his illustrious 13-year musical career, including his most recent single “All of Me.” In 2007, Legend was honored with the Starlight Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The R&B artist will be performing live at the UNIQLO AX Hall in Seoul on Sept. 28. Tickets for the show are listed at 132,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
“Grand Mint Festival”: This year’s annual two-day Grand Mint Festival will feature veteran rock band Sister’s Barbershop, popular acoustic duo 10cm, Glen Check, Romantic Punch, Verbal Jint, the Peppertones, Peterpan Complex and many more. The upcoming festival will be held at the Olympic Park in Seoul, and will have five different stages. The 2014 Grand Mint Festival will be held on Oct. 18 and 19. Ticket prices are listed at 88,000 won for a one-day pass and 140,000 won for a two-day pass. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.Dance
“Prince Hodong”: The Korean National Ballet is slated to restage its production of “Prince Hodong,” a dramatic cultural tale of love, war and death. The ballet is a modernized retelling of the traditional Korean tale “Princess Nakrang and Prince Hodong,” combining elements of Western artistic culture with traditional Korean culture. “Prince Hodong” will have its final staging on Aug. 30 at Seongnam Arts Center in Seoul. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
|A scene from “Prince Hodong” (Korean National Ballet)|
“The Love of Chunhyang”: Korea’s Universal Ballet Company is staging its original ballet “The Love of Chunhyang” in September, in celebration of its 30th anniversary. Based on the famous Korean folktale “Chunhyangjeon,” the ballet tells the story of Chun-hyang, a low-class courtesan’s daughter who is rewarded for staying faithful while being imprisoned for refusing to be a governor’s mistress during her husband’s absence. The show runs from Sept. 27 to 28 at Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in central Seoul. Tickets range from 10,000 won to 80,000 won. For more information, call (02) 399-1114.
“The Seventh Symphony & The Rite of Spring”: The Korean National Ballet will stage “The Rite of Spring” by Igor Stravinsky and Uwe Scholz’s “Seventh Symphony.” The performance combines the dance performance of Beethoven’s famous “Seventh Seven” score and the classic choreography of “The Rite of Spring,” which was originally created by U.S. dancer and choreographer Glen Tetley in 1974. The KNB’s upcoming performance of “The Seventh Symphony & The Rite of Spring” will be staged from Oct. 16 to 19 at the Seoul Arts Center’s Opera Theater. Tickets range from 5,000 won to 80,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.Festivals
2014 Andong International Mask Dance Festival: The biggest celebration and showcase of the traditional mask dance will be held in Andong Hahoe Village from Sept. 26-Oct. 5. The festival has showcased traditional mask dance performances from the Andong region since it started in 1997. This year’s festival will hold lion-themed performances under the theme of “Jumping! Pumping! Lion.” International mask dance troupes are invited as well. The Chinese and Japanese teams will hold a collaborative lion performance with a Korean team. Other programs include outdoor mask dance performances and more than 500 performances held throughout the festival period. For more information, visit www.maskdance.com (English available).
|Visitors celebrate the Andong International Mask Dance Festival during a traditional performance last year. (Andong International Mask Dance Festival)|
Geumsan Insam Festival: This festival holds diverse programs revolving around ginseng in Geumsan, South Chungcheong Province, the largest producer of ginseng in Korea. Some of the most popular programs include ginseng spa treatments and health therapies. Visitors can also experience other types of therapies such as an Indian Ayurveda retreat and a Mongolian acupressure treatment. Exhibitions and ginseng food booths will heighten the festival mood. For more information, call (041) 750-2114, or visit www.insamfestival.co.kr.
Yukuijeon Festival: This festival offers a chance to revisit the old market in Seoul that flourished in Jongno and the adjacent Cheonggye area during the Joseon era. Yukuijeon were stores that sold six items including paper, linen, silk, cotton and fish. Organizers will set up stalls selling the six items on the streets in the area. Cultural programs including traditional performances and craftsmanship classes will add to the festive mood. Food stalls will delight visitors seeking Korean traditional tastes. The festival will be held from Sept. 20-21 along the Cheonggyecheon Stream. For more information, visit www.yukuijeon.com (Korean only).Classical music
Violinist Nicola Benedetti recital: British violin star Nicola Benedetti will give her first solo recital in Korea on Sept. 2 at Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul. The 26-year-old is one of the most sought after classical musicians in the U.K., with her latest album reaching the highest chart position for any solo British instrumentalist in the past two decades. The program for her Seoul concert includes three violin sonatas by Mozart, Profokiev and Elgar, with pianist Alexei Grynyuk on the keyboard. Ticket prices range from 40,000 won to 80,000 won. For inquiries, call (02)2106-2021.
|Nicola Benedetti (Simon Fowler)|
“Romantic Paris”: The KBS Symphony Orchestra presents a Paris-themed chamber music concert at Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in Seoul on Sept. 13. Titled “Romantic Paris,” the concert will feature the works of five French composers from the 18th and 19th centuries, including Ravel’s “Pavane pour une infante dfunte (Pavane for a Dead Princess)” and Poulenc’s “Sinfonietta.” Conductor Baek Yoon-hak will hold the baton. Tickets run from 10,000 won to 30,000 won. For details, call (02) 6099-7400.
DITTO encore recital: Two months after this year’s DITTO festival, which was themed around Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the four members of the ensemble DITTO, led by violist Richard Yongjae O’Neill, are reuniting for an encore recital. The Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet and oboist Ham Gyeong will join the concert on Aug. 31 at Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall. The program consists of three compositions by Mozart, including Divertimento for String Trio in E-flat major, K.563, and Oboe Quartet in F major, K.370/368b. Tickets cost 30,000 won to 80,000 won. For details, call 1577-5266.
Korea International Wind Band Festival: A weeklong festival of wind music will take place next month in Seoul and its surrounding cities. It will start with a free opening concert at Gwanghwamun Square on Sept. 12. Highlights include three special concerts at Seoul Arts Center on Sept. 14, 15 and 17, featuring composer and conductor Johan de Meij, trumpeter Joe Burgstaller and clarinetist Helen Goode-Castro. A big Marching Show will mark the grand finale on Sept. 18 at the Olympic Park in Jamsil-dong, Seoul. For more information, visit the festival website at www.windband.or.kr.
German Radio Philharmonic: Deutsche Radio Philharmonie, or the German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, will perform at Goyang Aram Nuri Arts Center in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, on Sept. 25. Led by British conductor Karel Mark Chichon, the orchestra will play Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 with Korean pianist Sohn Yeol-eum and Brahms’ Symphony No. 2. Ticket prices range from 30,000 won to 130,000 won. For more information, call 1577-7766 or visit www.artgy.or.kr.
“Romeo et Juliette:” The Korea National Opera presents four nights of French opera “Romeo et Juliette” at Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul from Oct. 2-5. Based on William Shakespeare’s play of the same title, the opera by French composer Charles Gounod is most recognized for its four beautiful duets between the lovers, as well as Juliette’s waltz. The upcoming production is directed by Elijah Moshinsky, who helmed the KNO’s “Don Carlos” last year. Renowned tenor Francesco Demuro will sing opposite Russian soprano Irina Lungu as Romeo and Juliette, with the other pair being Korean singers Kang Jung-woo and Anna Sohn. Julian Kovatchev will conduct the Korean Symphony Orchestra. Tickets run from 10,000 won to 150,000 won. For details, visit www.nationalopera.org.
Lim Dong-min and Lim Dong-hyek recital: Brother pianists Lim Dong-min and Lim Dong-hyek will hold their first joint recital in nine years to present the complete Chopin concertos at Seoul Arts Center on Oct. 4. The older brother Dong-min will play the first concerto, while Dong-hyek will take on the composer’s second concerto both with Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra and its conductor Sung Shi-yeon. Tickets cost from 30,000 to 120,000 won. For more information, call 1577-5266 or visit kimf.co.kr.Exhibitions
Mediacity Seoul: The Korea’s largest showcase of media art will be held at the Seoul Museum of Art from Sept. 2 to Nov. 23. The 8th media art biennale titled “Ghosts, Spies and Grandmothers” brings 452 teams of media artists from 51 countries. The exhibition explores each theme: ghosts stand for the forgotten history and tradition of Asia; spies symbolize the memories of the Cold War; and grandmothers is a metaphor for women in the colonial era. On Sept. 1, Seoul Saenam exorcism, registered as an intangible cultural property of Korea, will be performed to celebrate the opening of the exhibition. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.mediacityseoul.kr.
|“You are the Sucker of My Eyes” by Ho Sin Tung (Mediacity Seoul)|
“Beyond and Between”: This exhibition to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, reveals its trove of centuries-old Korean artifacts and modern artworks. The museum seeks to connect the 230 works on display by pairing them according to similar concepts and expressions. Highlights include Buddhist statues and metalwork from the Three Kingdoms period (fourth-seventh centuries) and Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) grouped with Alberto Giacometti’s skeleton-like sculpture and an abstract painting by Mark Rothko in Museum 1. The exhibition runs through Dec. 21. Admission costs 10,000 won for adults and 6,000 won for teenagers. For more information, visit http://leeum.samsungfoundation.org.
“Matrix: Mathematics ― Heart of Gold and the Abyss”: The exhibition commemorating the 2014 International Congress of Mathematicians in Seoul attempts to ease discomfort with math in an artistic way. For many, the thought of solving math problems doesn’t bring positive feelings but evokes memories of stress from agonizing over equations. Instead of equations and graphs, the exhibition “Matrix: Mathematics ― Heart of Gold and the Abyss” features artistic aspects of mathematics in the form of paintings, sculptures, design, media, sound and architecture. The 11 artworks by 15 artists seek to showcase the beauty of mathematics and its application to everyday life. The exhibition runs through Jan. 11, 2015. For more information, call (02) 3701-9500, or visit www.mmca.go.kr.
“Edvard Munch and the Modern Soul”: This exhibition presents 99 works by Munch created in diverse mediums throughout his artistic career, ranging from oil paintings, drawings and lithographs to photographs. They include Munch’s most famous works: “The Scream,” “Madonna,” “The Dance of Life” and “Starry Night.” The exhibition will be a good chance to gain insight into the artist’s life. The panoramic view of his works shows how his style changed over the course of his career, highlighting his gift to express emotions and characters in symbolic images. The exhibition will run until Oct. 12 at Hangaram Museum in the Seoul Arts Center. Tickets cost 15,000 won for adults, 12,000 won for teenagers and 10,000 won for children under 12. For more information, visit www.munchseoul.com.Theater
“Happy Bok-hee”: This play, set in a tranquil suburban town on a lake, centers on 20-year-old Bok-hee, who lost her father, a well-respected general. The general’s dying wish to the residents of the town is to take good care of Bok-hee. The neighbors pledge to make Bok-hee happy, but as time goes by, they start to care only about their desires and possessions. As the play takes a downward trajectory due to human greed, it offers an understanding of the relationship between evil and good, and between reality and fiction. “Happy Bok-hee” will run through Sept. 21 at Namsan Arts Center, near Myeongdong Station on Line 4. Tickets are 25,000 won for adults and 18,000 won for students. For details, call (02) 758-2150 or visit www.nsartscenter.or.kr.
|The cast of “Happy Bok-hee” (Namsan Arts Centerthe)|
“Autumn Sonata”: Based on the 1978 Swedish drama film of the same name, written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, “Autumn Sonata” is reinterpreted by Korean director Lim Young-woong to commemorate the 60th year of his directorial debut. The play centers on the troubled relationship between Charlotte, a celebrated classical pianist, and her neglected daughter Eva. Charlotte visits Eva, the wife of a village pastor, for the first time in seven years, and they struggle to break the ice after an extended separation. As they confront their broken relationship, they learn about each other and some of misunderstandings. “Autumn Sonata” will run through Sept. 6 at Daehakro Arts Theater near Hyehwa Station on Line 4. Tickets are 30,000 won, 40,000 won and 50,000 won. For details, call (02) 577-1987.
“The Devil”: An original Korean musical based on the theme of the Faustian bargain, “The Devil” will premiere at Doosan Art Center on Aug. 22. Set in 20th-century New York, it tells the story of three characters ― John Faust, his girlfriend Gretchen and the devilish character “X.” Directed by Lee Gina, with music by Woody Park and Lee Ji-hye, the production stars Michael Lee and Han Ji-sang as X and Cha Ji-youn as Gretchen. “The Devil” will run through Oct. 12 at Yonkang Hall of Doosan Art Center near Exit 1 of Jongno 5-ga Station on Line 1. Tickets are 50,000 won and 80,000 won. For details, call 3444-0677.
“Dracula”: One of the most anticipated musicals this season, “Dracula” raised the curtain on July 15 for its Korean premiere. With a score by Frank Wildhorn of “Jekyll & Hyde,” the musical is based on the original Victorian novel by Bram Stoker of the same title. Kim Jun-su, the hottest musical star in the scene, plays Count Dracula, who loves one woman for more than 1,000 years. Veteran actor Ryu Jung-han shares the role with Kim. It runs through Sept. 5 at Seoul Arts Center’s Opera House. Ticket prices range from 50,000 won to 140,000 won. For details, call (02) 580-1300.
“Priscilla”: A jukebox musical from Australia, “Priscilla” is getting a Korean premiere. Full of well-known pop songs like “It’s Raining Men,” “True Colors,” “Material Girl” and “I Will Survive,” the show tells the story of two drag queens and a transsexual who travel from Sydney to a remote town in the Australian desert aboard their lavender bus, Priscilla, to put on a drag show. The cast includes Cho Sung-ha, a TV actor making his musical debut, Korean-American musical actor Michael Lee, 2AM member Jo Kwon and singer-turned-musical actor Lee Ji-hoon. “Priscilla” runs through Sept. 29 at LG Arts Center near Exit 7 of Yeoksam Station. Ticket prices range from 50,000 won to 130,000 won. For details, visit www.musicalpriscilla.co.kr or call 1577-3363.
“Wicked”: A Korean rendition of the hit Broadway musical “Wicked” is currently being staged at Charlotte Theater in Seoul. It tells the story of two different witches in the Land of Oz, the green-skinned, struggling and often-alienated Elphaba and the beautiful and popular blonde Glinda. Kim Sun-young and Park Hye-na play Elphaba opposite Kim So-hyun and Kim Bo-kyung as Glinda. “Wicked” runs until Oct. 5. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 140,000 won. For more information, call 1577-3363 or visit www.wickedthemusical.co.kr.