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2021 Music in PyeongChang fest hopes to bring spirit of being alive center stage

Poster for the 18th Music in PyeongChang (MPyC)
Poster for the 18th Music in PyeongChang (MPyC)
The 18th Music in PyeongChang is set to kick off July 28 with performances around Gangwon Province, including the festival’s main venue, Pyeongchang Alpensia Resort’s concert hall.

Under the theme “san (alive),” a total of 13 concerts will be held this year, along with two special concerts, seven touring concerts, and master classes conducted by artists participating in the festival.

“The word ‘san,’ can be interpreted as ‘alive,’ or ‘mountain.’ The mountains beautifully surround Gangwon Province, which I am very used to seeing as a child who was born and raised here,” pianist Son Yeol-eum, the festival’s artistic director, said during a press conference held Tuesday morning at the Korea Press Center in Seoul.

“After I grew up and began traveling abroad on tours, I realized that being surrounded by nature, especially the mountains, is not a typical thing,” said Son, who came up with this year’s theme.

As a native of Wonju, Gangwon Province, mountains symbolize life and liveliness, Son said. It also conveys the hope that this year would bring back “the spirit of being alive” after the vicious pandemic shook the world, she said.

Son also spoke about her longtime admiration of pianist Paik Hae-sun, and how honored she is to be able to play as a duet at one of the festival’s main concert programs titled, “Star.”

“I took her masterclass a long time ago and feel very lucky to finally stand on stage with pianist Paik,” Son said.

Serving as the festival’s artistic director since 2018, Son’s goal this year was to create programs unlike any other. 

Artistic director Son Yeol-eum (right) and general manager Park Hye-young hold a press conference for the 18th Music in PyeongChang, at Press Center in central Seoul, Tuesday. (Kim Hae-yeon/The Korea Herald)
Artistic director Son Yeol-eum (right) and general manager Park Hye-young hold a press conference for the 18th Music in PyeongChang, at Press Center in central Seoul, Tuesday. (Kim Hae-yeon/The Korea Herald)
Among the highlights of this year’s Music in PyeongChang is a concert by renowned pianist Paik Kun-woo and violinist Clara Jumi Kang. Another program of note is a concert by Bulgarian violinist Svetlin Roussev and English violist Luke Turrell who will perform works by Leo Ornstein and Franz Schubert.

This year’s special concerts will be performed by the winners of the Isangyun Competition, an international music competition held annually by the city of Tongyeong to commemorate composer Yun I-sang. The two cellist grand prize winners, Lee Sang-eun and Lee Jeong-hyoun, will perform works by Felix Mendelssohn, Claude Debussy and Sergei Rachmaninoff, among others.

Touring concerts will be held at seven locations in Gangwon Province, starting in Hoengseong on July 29 and ending in Chuncheon on Aug. 6.

The in-person, one-on-one master classes will be conducted by 18 artists involving 13 different instruments and voice. Applications for the master classes can be made through Saturday at the festival’s website, http://mpyc.kr/masterclass.

More than 58 percent of the seats were sold on the first day of sales on May 18, according to the organizers.

Organized by the Gangwon Art and Culture Foundation and hosted by Gangwon Province, this year’s Music in PyeongChang will run from July 28 to Aug. 7.

By Kim Hae-yeon (hykim@heraldcorp.com)
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