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Tongyeong to expand Yun I-sang Award

Tongyeong Music Hall (Tongyeong International Music Festival Foundation)
Tongyeong Music Hall (Tongyeong International Music Festival Foundation)

Though many musical events have been postponed or canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the southern city of Tongyeong is looking forward to Isang Yun Prize 2020, which celebrates the legacy of iconic composer Yun I-sang (1917-1995).

Tongyeong, a port city in South Gyeongsang Province, is Yun’s birthplace. Based in Berlin in his later years, the composer became internationally recognized for his attempts to bridge the music of the East and the West.

The Tongyeong International Music Festival, which is held every March in remembrance of the venerated composer, was canceled this year following the coronavirus outbreak.

While the festival has been canceled, a composition contest held in Yun’s honor has been expanded this year. The Isang Yun Composition Award has been renamed the Isang Yun Prize, along with the addition of six UNESCO Creative City of Music Awards. The Tongyeong International Music Foundation and UNESCO City of Music Tongyeong joined hands with Isang Yun Peace Foundation Seoul, which confers the Isang Yun Composition Award, to create the expanded contest. Tongyeong was named UNESCO Creative City of Music in 2015.

According to the foundation’s press release, prize selection criteria for artists include active involvement in society and contributions to “peace, reconciliation and harmony.” This year, a new one has been added: “support in positive change for their communities, especially in view of the hardships of the current pandemic this year.”

Nominations were received earlier this month. The jury consists of Chairman Florian Riem, CEO of the Tongyeong International Music Foundation; Douglas Gautier, CEO of the Adelaide Festival Centre; Tisa Ho, executive director of the Hong Kong Arts Festival; composer Toshio Hosokawa; Edicson Ruiz, member of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra; Marla Stukenberg, director of Goethe Institute East Asia; and Yun I-sang’s daughter Djong Yun, a painter.

An awards ceremony will be held Oct. 11 inside the Demilitarized Zone along with a concert.

By Im Eun-byel (