Arts Center Incheon celebrates first anniversary

By Im Eun-byel
  • Published : Oct 30, 2019 - 17:04
  • Updated : Oct 30, 2019 - 17:04

Arts Center Incheon in Songdo International City will celebrate its one-year anniversary on Nov. 16.

Since opening last year, the center’s concert hall -- a mix of shoebox and vineyard styles -- has been praised for its exceptional acoustics.

Arts Center Incheon is situated at Songdo International City in Incheon. (Arts Center Incheon)
Commissioner Lee Won-jae (center) of the Incheon Free Economic Zone Authority speaks at a press event held Wednesday in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul. (Arts Center Incheon)

The center was originally envisioned to house a concert hall, a museum and an opera house. But only the concert hall has been completed. While the center has secured land for construction, its plans have not been finalized due to financial issues.

“The concert hall was the first stage of the plan. The construction of the museum and the opera hall is the second stage. Arts Center Incheon should be more than just a local concert venue in Incheon,” Commissioner Lee Won-jae of the Incheon Free Economic Zone Authority, a government agency in charge of Songdo, said at a press event held Wednesday in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul.

“The Incheon Free Economy Zone hosts various international business events. For it to be a truly global city, cultural infrastructure matters. The Incheon Free Economic Zone Authority will continue to support Arts Center Incheon to become an independent art venue,” Lee said.

The center -- a 1 1/2-hour drive from central Seoul -- has been hosting major classical music concerts, including performances by Spanish experimental theater group La Fura dels Baus, legendary Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman and violin virtuoso Hilary Hahn.

“For major concerts, around 50 percent of the audience come from Seoul or areas near the city. When musicians go onstage at Arts Center Incheon as part of a Korean tour, we request a partly differentiated program from the planning stage,” said Lee Hak-kyu, the head of the center.

Marking Arts Center Incheon’s anniversary in November, UK-based Baroque orchestra English Concert, joined by Korean soprano Jo Sumi, will perform on Nov. 6; Philadelphia Orchestra and pianist Cho Sung-jin on Nov. 9; and pianist Andras Schiff and Cappella Andrea Barca Orchestra on Nov. 13.

Next year’s budget for the center has been set at 3.7 billion won ($3.16 million), up more than 30 percent from this year, and the center will host some 60 performances.

While the full program for 2020 is not yet available, the center said it will hold a series of concerts titled “Beethoven Begin” to mark the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

The 2020 season will open in March with a visit by the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, along with keyboard artist Kristian Bezuidenhout and soprano Robin Johansen. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra and oboist Francois Leleux are to grace the stage, too.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)