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Chungs confident Great Mountains fest can become world-class event

Late works of great composers to be heard on the hills of Gangwon Province

Internationally renowned sister musicians Chung Myung-wha and Chung Kyung-wha said they will combine their decades of musical experience to help the Great Mountains Music Festival & School become a world-class chamber music festival.

Cellist Myung-wha and violinist Kyung-wha have become new artistic directors for the GMMFS, the major summer event for classical music lovers. This year, the 8th GMMFS takes place from July 24 to Aug. 13 at the Alpensia resort in Gangwon Province, gathering renowned and rising artists for 55 programs and master classes.
Violinist Chung Kyung-wha (right) and cellist Chung Myung-wha, two artistic directors of the Great Mountains Music Festival & School, at a press conference in Seoul on Tuesday. (Communique)
Violinist Chung Kyung-wha (right) and cellist Chung Myung-wha, two artistic directors of the Great Mountains Music Festival & School, at a press conference in Seoul on Tuesday. (Communique)

“The festival has much room for growth and advancement, so I will use my experiences and knowledge as much as I can to make the festival successful. In particular, it is a great joy to work with my sister for my home country’s music festival,” said artistic director Chung Kyung-wha in a press conference in Seoul. It is quite unusual for the media-shy violinist to meet reporters.

“The core vision of the GMMFS is to make it become the world’s best chamber music festival and the music should be at the highest level, exciting and creative,” said artistic director Chung Myung-hwa.

The focus this year will be showcasing final works of great composers when they were grappling with age or illness, the two said.

Under the theme “Illumination,” the highlights of the two-and-a-half week program will include Mozart’s Requiem, Schubert’s Quintet in C Major and Mendelssohn’s rarely heard String Quintet No. 2, all of which are late works of the composers.

“Limitations ― coming from the pressure that your remaining life is short, from a threat of war and illness ― must have affected not only to ordinary people but to great composers,” the cellist said.

“They chose to create an artwork experiencing all kinds of life experiences, illuminating light on our senses and souls. ‘Illumination’ is a theme to deliver how they inspired music and create new inspirations for the audience.”

The two are to be on stage on July 29 for Brahms’ Piano Trio No. 1 in B Major, Op. 8, as part of the festival’s “Distinguished Artists Series” at the Alpensia Concert Hall.

It is their first performance of chamber music in Korea in six years, Chung Kyung-wha said.

“I haven’t been on stage for the past five years because I hurt my hand. For five years as an ordinary person, I have learned and felt so much. Fortunately, my hand was fully recovered last year and I’m excited about performing with my sister and great pianist Kevin Kenner,” the violinist said.

Other highlights of the Distinguished Artist Series include Mozart’s Overture to The Magic Flute and Requiem, which will be staged by the GMMFS Orchestra and conducted by Sung Shi-yeon, assistant conductor of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.

“The GMMFS Orchestra consists of local and overseas artists as well as festival scholarship students. It could be challenging to train them in a short period of time but I’m expecting a good result,” Sung said.

“We will play Sssmayr’s version of Mozart Requiem, which Mozart sublimated his painful life into a religious but humane piece.”

Other acclaimed participants include clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, violinist Todd Phillips, violist Roberto Diaz, cellist Karine Georgian and pianist Kevin Kenner.

Rising stars such as pianist Son Yeol-eum, violinist Shin Hyun-su, double bassist Sung Min-je and tenor Kang Yo-sep will also perform at the festival.

Tickets range from 40,000 won to 50,000 won. Reservations can be made through,, or For more information, call (02) 725-3394~5.

By Kim Yoon-mi (