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Great Mountains Festival to explore arts of dance and music

By Korea Herald

Published : June 26, 2012 - 19:32

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An artist’s redition of the Music Tent, the new outdoor stage for GMMFS (GMMFS) An artist’s redition of the Music Tent, the new outdoor stage for GMMFS (GMMFS)
Annual event sells high-priced tickets to promote donation, opens 1,300-seat Music Tent


Great Mountains International Music Festival & School, a classical music event held in the summer in Pyeongchang of Gangwon Province, will focus on the inseparable relationship between music and dance, artistic directors of the festival said on Tuesday.

“Legendary composers have woven dance themes into some of their most significant pieces for orchestra and chamber music. Dance and music are two inseparable art genres and the two have greatly collaborated in developing the Western music for centuries,” said cellist Chung Myung-hwa, co-artistic director of GMMFS, in a press conference held in Seoul. Chung and her sister, violinist Chung Kyung-hwa, have been leading the festival as artistic directors since last year.

“At the festival, the audience will explore the elements of dance in music by listening to beautiful classical music performed by world-renowned and aspiring artists,” she said. Choi Tae-ji, head of Korean National Ballet, has contributed to organizing the festival, she added.
Chung Kyung-hwa (right), violinist and co-artistic director of GMMFS, speaks at a press conference with her sister and co-artistic director of the festival Chung Myung-hwa (center) and Korean National Ballet head Choi Tae-ji at a press conference in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap News) Chung Kyung-hwa (right), violinist and co-artistic director of GMMFS, speaks at a press conference with her sister and co-artistic director of the festival Chung Myung-hwa (center) and Korean National Ballet head Choi Tae-ji at a press conference in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap News)

The festival, now in its ninth run, will kick off July 21 and will run through Aug. 11 at the Alpensia Resort in Gangwon Province.

Fans of classical music can look forward to a new outdoor stage called “Music Tent” which can accommodate about 1,300 people.

“The outdoor stage, built with a horn-shaped roof and glass wall, will offer an unforgettable experience for the audience to enjoy the music by breathing the fresh air,” said Chung Kyung-hwa.

The festival’s biggest-ever orchestral performances will be held at the Music Tent. The GMMFS orchestra led by Sung Shi-yeon, assistant conductor of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, will perform Hayden’s “Creation.” The concert is one of the festival’s highlights, featuring acclaimed Korean and international musicians, including violinists Bae Ik-hwan, Kwon Hyek-joo and baritone Nicolay Borchev.

About 11 billion won ($9.49 million) was spent on the new multi-purpose facility and the venue will provide more cultural contents for both residents and visitors to Gangwon, said Kim Nam-soo, secretary general of the festival’s main organizer, Gangwon Arts & Culture Foundation.

For the first time, the festival will also adopt an “H-seat” system to encourage more individual sponsors for emerging artists participating in the festival. The ticket “H,” meaning “High Contributor,” is priced at 250,000 won. Of that fee, 200,000 won will be used to cover operating expenses of the festival to enhance the quality of the event while keeping the regular ticket prices low, organizers said.

To highlight its theme, the festival will invite two stars from the American Ballet Theater, Maxim Beloserkovsky and Irina Dvorovenko. The husband-and-wife team is scheduled to perform four short ballet pieces at the Alpensia Resort’s concert hall with renowned musicians. Kim Joo-won, guest principal dancer for Korean National Ballet will also perform the beautiful pas de deux from “Giselle” with her dance partner Lee Dong-hoon who is also with KNB.

Korean music for dance performances “Chohi and Her Imaginary Dance” and “Hang-Sang V,” both composed by Korean composer Park Young-hee, will be introduced for the first time at the festival.

Also included in the program are Leonard Bernstein’s final work, a brass quintet “Dance Suite,” and Igor Stravinsky’s suite from “A Soldier’s Tale” with a tango. For “A Soldier’s Tale,” top Korean actor Ahn Sung-ki will narrate the story of a soldier who trades his fiddle to the devil for a book that tells the future.

The two artistic directors of the festival, together with renowned pianist Peter Frankl and violist Maxim Rysanov, will perform Brahms’ Piano Quartet in G minor, Op. 25 on July 29 as part of the festival’s “Distinguished Artists Series.”

The series includes a collaboration between The Michelangelo Quartet led by violist Nobuko Imai and Korea’s star pianist Kim Sun-wook. They are to perform Brahms’ Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34, on Aug. 3.

For more information on the festival, call (02) 725-3394-5 or visit www.gmmfs.com.

By Cho Chung- un (christory@heraldcorp.com)