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SSF entertains Seoul with classical music

For the next two weeks, the capital city will be filled with classical music as the Seoul Spring Festival returns.

The 14th edition of the annual event began Tuesday and continues through May 4. Led by violinist Kang Dong-suk, the festival takes place this year in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province under the theme of “Music & Gastronomy.”

Linking culinary culture with music, each performance features a theme related to gastronomy. For instance, performances are titled “Starter,” “Continental Cuisine,” “Meat Dish,” “Exotic Flavor” and “Dessert.” 

“Salon Concert” takes place during the 2018 Seoul Spring Festival (Mast Media)
“Salon Concert” takes place during the 2018 Seoul Spring Festival (Mast Media)

“I thought, by linking food and music, the audience would be able to understand the program more easily,” Kang, the festival’s artistic director, said during a press conference in Seoul on Monday.

Tuesday’s opening performance was titled “Smorgasbord,” referring to a type of Scandinavian meal served buffet style. It consisted of five music pieces and ended with Norwegian composer Johan Svendsen’s String Quintet in C Major.

A concert on Sunday, titled “Seafood,” comprises pieces associated with water or the ocean, including Franz Schubert’s “The Trout,” Claude Debussy’s “La Mer” and “En Bateau.”

This year’s festival features pianist Dang Thai Son, a Vietnamese-Canadian pianist who specializes in Chopin. He was the first Asian pianist to win the International Chopin Piano Competition in 1980, a competition familiar to Koreans as pianist Cho Sung-jin became the first Korean to win the competition in 2015.

Concerts on Thursday and Saturday will mark the musician’s first time performing chamber music in Korea. The pianist highlighted the similarities between food and music, saying, “First, the timing is important. Second, both of them require intuition.”

Other musicians taking part in the festival include harpist Isabelle Moretti, cellist Laszlo Fenyo and violinist Kim Da-mi.

One of the highlights of the festival is the “Salon Concert” to be held Sunday at the garden of former President Yun Bo-sun’s residence in Anguk-dong, central Seoul. The residence built in 1870 is a historic site.
The Seoul Spring Festival was founded in 2006 with the aim of offering a wide selection of classical music to the public and promoting chamber music. For more information, visit the festival’s website at

By Im Eun-byel (