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MPyC to evolve into multigenre music festival

The biannual festival Music in PyeongChang (MPyC) festival hopes to carry on the legacy of the PyeongChang Olympics with programs that embrace diversity and peace.

The event’s organizers announced the program for the winter edition of the festival on Monday at Four Seasons Seoul in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, with festival artistic director and pianist Son Yeol-eum, Gangwon Art & Culture Foundation Chairman Kim Sung-hwan and Feelgood Kim, the foundation’s new CEO, in attendance.
Music in PyeongChang’s artistic director and acclaimed pianist Son Yeol-eum speaks during a press conference held Monday at Four Seasons Seoul in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul. (MPyC)
Music in PyeongChang’s artistic director and acclaimed pianist Son Yeol-eum speaks during a press conference held Monday at Four Seasons Seoul in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul. (MPyC)

The latest edition, titled “Somewhere in Between,” will take place Feb. 9-25 at venues in Gangwon Province and Seoul.

“The festival date is the actual date of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics,” Son said. “This year, the winter festival will feature eight programs with 18 concerts. It will be the biggest edition of the winter festival ever.”

Continuing the legacy of the PyeongChang Olympics, Gangwon Province was confirmed as the host of the 2024 Winter Youth Olympics on Friday. Son hopes that MPyC will be a cultural festival that plays a big role at the upcoming international sports event.

Like other festivals taking place this year, the winter festival marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven, whom Son referred to as “the most important composer in human history.”

Beethoven Trio Bonn (MPyC)
Beethoven Trio Bonn (MPyC)

The festival has invited Beethoven Trio Bonn, of which Korean pianist Lee Jin-sang is a member, for the opening concerts, which will be held both in Seoul and Gangwon Province. The trio will go onstage for the first time in Korea at Gangneung Arts Center on Feb. 9 and at Jeongdong 1928 Art Center in central Seoul the following day.

“The winter festival will be a multigenre music festival where the audience can anticipate something different each time. But by innovations, I do not mean crossovers. Rather, the artists are the new genres themselves.”
Pianist Simon Trpceski (B. Ealovega / KulturO)
Pianist Simon Trpceski (B. Ealovega / KulturO)

One of the genre-bending acts performing this year is Makedonissimo, a group dedicated to bringing the folk music of Macedonia to the fore. Led by renowned pianist Simon Trpceski, the five-member ensemble reinterprets music of Macedonia with classical and jazz influences. The concerts will take place at Park Roche in Jeongseon on Feb. 11, Chiak Art Center in Wonju on Feb. 12 and Chuncheon National Museum on Feb. 13.

Another highlight of the festival is “Peaceful NEWS,” featuring artistic director Son, joined by North Korean defector pianist Kim Cheol-woong and Israeli-Palestinian piano duo Amal, which consists of Yaron Kohlberg and Bishara Haroni. The concerts will be held at a youth community center in Cheorwon, DMZ Museum in Goseong and Gangneung Arts Center from Feb. 21-23.

“I have been friends with Bishara for a long time. We thought it would be nice if the three of us, Bishara, Yaron and I, could play in North Korea. But since a visit to the North would not be easy, we decided to invite Kim. The plan has been in place since 2015. After five years, it will finally be realized,” Son said.

“The four pianos each symbolize north, east, west and south, creating NEWS. We hope that this can be news of peace. The concerts will take place in the border cities of Cheorwon and Goseong.”

As with last year, the festival will close with “Winterreise,” a musical play that depicts the last days of Schubert. This year, dancer Cha Jin-yeob, who directed the choreography of the opening and closing ceremonies of the PyeongChang Olympics, will grace the stage at Alpensia Resort Concert Hall from Feb. 24-25. 

Dancer Cha Jin-yeob (MPyC)
Dancer Cha Jin-yeob (MPyC)

Ticket prices range from 10,000 won to 30,000 won. The festival also includes five free Outreach Concerts, performed at places where the 2018 Winter Games were held, including Jeongseon, Chuncheon, Wonju, Cheorwon and Goseong.

For more information, visit the festival’s English website at

By Im Eun-byel (