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MPyC kicks off 3-week run celebrating Beethoven

Artistic Director Son Yeol-eum (MPyC)
Artistic Director Son Yeol-eum (MPyC)
Alpensia Concert Hall (MPyC)
Alpensia Concert Hall (MPyC)

The curtain went up on the 17th Music in PyeongChang festival Wednesday, kicking off three weeks of concerts.

The biannual classical music festival, organized by the Gangwon Arts & Culture Foundation, will be held across Gangwon Province until Aug. 8. This year, the festival is titled “Must it be? It must be!” paying homage to Beethoven.

Like many other music festivals this year, the summer event celebrates the 250th anniversary of the birth of the composer.

On Wednesday, the Chuncheon Philharmonic Orchestra opened the festival with concert “Behold” at the Alpensia Music Tent. The orchestra presented Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, “Choral,” under the baton of principal conductor Lee Jong-jin.

This year, the festival presents a lineup featuring more domestic talent than in past years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has halted virtually all international travel. The lineup is packed with local orchestras and South Korean musicians.

The festival is set to close on Aug. 8 with the artistic director, pianist Son Yeol-eum, performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58, with the PyeongChang Festival Orchestra.

This year, the festival’s online master classes have gone online and other educational programs have been dropped. Master classes on six instruments from piano to violin will be held via the festival’s YouTube channel, MPyC TV, during the festival period.

Musicians, including violinists Svetlin Roussev and Florin Iliescu, oboist Ham Kyung and clarinetist Kim Han, are to meet online with a total of 22 selected participants.

Reflecting the latest performance trends in the face of the coronavirus crisis, Son will hold a drive-in concert on July 29 at the Gangneung Drive-In Movie Theater, playing Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, “Quasi una Fantasia,” Op. 27, No. 2, more widely known as the “Moonlight Sonata.” Only 40 cars will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis.

For safety reasons, the organizers will leave every other seat empty at concert venues. Audience members must wear masks at all times. Visitors must “check in” using the Clean Gangwon Passport app, a digital entry log system managed by Gangwon Province. The system gives users an “electronic stamp” after checking their health condition.

Tickets are priced from 25,000 won to 100,000 won ($20.95 to $83.31). For more information, check the festival’s official website at

By Im Eun-byel (