TIMF 2016 all about ‘Sounds of Tomorrow’

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Mar 1, 2016 - 18:38
  • Updated : Mar 1, 2016 - 18:39

Following last year’s Tongyeong International Music Festival, which paid homage to the 20th anniversary of late composer Isang Yun’s death through the theme of “Voyage,” this year’s theme of “Sounds of Tomorrow” is all about looking forward.

“The meaning behind this year’s theme is that it is all about new music, new compositions, pieces that have never been or are rarely heard these days,” said TIMF CEO Florian Riem, in a phone interview with The Korea Herald on Tuesday. 

The Tongyeong International Music Festival Concert Hall in Tongyeong, South Gyeongsang Province (TIMF)

This year’s TIMF will be held from March 25 to April 3 at the Tongyeong Concert Hall in Tongyeong, South Gyeongsang Province.

“Everything will be very current and modern, it’s like sounds that are written today and will be listened to and performed tomorrow,” Riem continued. “Even the performances of older classical pieces by Stravinsky, Beethoven, Bach, ... these will mostly be pieces that, even though they are obviously not new now, during the period they came out, the pieces were considered too new at the time for people to understand and appreciate their meaning.” 

Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra conductor Sung Shi-yeon 
(Korea Mecenat Association)

Opening this year’s festivities will be “Good Friday Spell,” a classical performance by the Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of maestro Sung Shi-yeon, along with Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang as the guest soloist.

“We really want to keep Korean musicians and orchestras as part of the festival as much as possible. We don’t want it to just be all about international artists” said Riem. “The Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra has never performed at TIMF, but I think that the Gyeonggi Philharmonic is among the country’s top orchestras and well deserves to perform as our opening (act).” 

U.S. composer Philip Glass (Philip Glass Official Homepage)

Also slated for opening night is a performance of the opera “La Belle et la Bete (The Beauty and the Beast),” by U.S. composer Philip Glass, who is considered one of the most influential composers of the late 20th-century.

“I think the performance of the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ opera with Philip Glass is going to be a very exciting one,” says Riem, who noted the opera to be one of the highlights of this year’s festival.

“Philip Glass is such a renowned musician and even though the opera is being performed in Seoul as well, the difference between the Seoul performances and Tongyeong one is that he will actually be attending our performances,” he added.

Following the opera performances, TIMF will also be holding a special “An Evening with Philip Glass” event on March 27, where audience members will not only get to hear the iconic composer perform, but also listen in on an intimate interview between Riem and Glass sharing stories of his life.

Also on the books for this year’s festival are performances by Japan’s Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa, the Changwon Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble I, soprano Marisol Montalvo, pianist Paik Kun-woo and American jazz vocalist Stacey Kent.

Closing out TIMF will be the Tongyeong Festival Orchestra, performing the work of Bruno Mantovani, Unsuk Chin and Bela Bartok under the baton of German conductor Christoph Eschenbach.

This year’s Tongyeong music fest is being held in tandem with the annual World Music Days, which is hosted by the International Society for Contemporary Music and the TIMF Foundation from March 28 to April 1.

For more information on the performances, visit www.timf.org.

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)