Music in PyeongChang to tell ‘A Different Story’

By Im Eun-byel
  • Published : May 28, 2019 - 15:09
  • Updated : May 28, 2019 - 15:09

Music in PyeongChang (MPyC), also known as the Great Mountains Music Festival, has revamped its concerts and program, with the aim of becoming a leading music festival here.

The program for this season was announced by festival artistic director and pianist Son Yeol-eum and Gangwon Art & Culture Foundation Chairman Kim Sung-hwan during a press conference Tuesday in Seoul.

Now in its 16th year, the event was originally launched to promote the PyeongChang Olympics. It is held twice a year, in summer and in winter.

The latest edition of the festival, titled “A Different Story,” is slated to take place from July 31 to Aug. 10 at Alpensia Resort in PyeongChang and across Gangwon Province.

Last year’s theme was “Curiosity,” and this year, the organizers hope to present the future of the festival, said Son.

“This is not a one-time performance in a city. Each performance has its own story, and as a whole, the festival is like a collection of short stories. The performances are all connected and disconnected to each other,” Son explained. 

From left: Pianist Son Yeol-eum (Marco Borggreve), violinist Park Ji-yoon and pianist Hans H. Suh (MPyC)
Poster image for the 16th Music in PyeongChang (MPyC)

The festival will feature 12 main concerts, ranging from classical music to an homage to Beethoven and unconventional music pieces.

The main schedule will kick off with the “Once upon a Time” concert on July 31, beginning with Shchedrin’s “3 Shepherds,” followed by Ravel’s “Mother Goose” Suite, Schubert’s Piano Quintet in A Major “Trout” and more.

On Aug. 2, a concert in celebration of Beethoven will be held, titled “Muss es sein?” or “Must it be?” The program consists of the composer’s Sonata for Piano and Cello Nos.1 to 5.

On Aug. 6, the “Bohemian Rhapsody” concert will present Dvorak’s Slavonic Dance in E Minor, Kreisler’s “Gypsy Caprice” and Ravel’s “Tzigane.” Puccini’s opera pieces are also included, such as “None Shall Sleep” from opera “Turandot,” “And the Stars were Shining” from “Tosca,” and “When I Walk” from “La Boheme.”

The next day, the “Alice in Wonderland” concert will present experimental music pieces. On the last day, the “Happily Ever After” concert will wrap up the festival, featuring Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique.

“‘Symphonie Fantastique’ was the first piece that I picked for the festival. It inspired the whole festival,” Son said.

The festival orchestra is returning with almost the same members, mainly musicians who are members of orchestras in Europe and the US.

In addition, “outreach concerts” will be held 12 times, once every day, at different venues across Gangwon Province, including Museum San in Wonju.

“Until last year, the format of the outreach concerts was diverse, from operas to chamber music. This summer, we are focusing on recitals,” Son said.

Furthermore, some changes have been made to the festival’s summer program. For example, there are more educational activities, including classes for local school orchestras, students and adults.

From this summer, the festival will feature a recital by the winner of the International Isangyun competition, starting with Pianist Hans H. Suh, who won in 2016.

Showcases of contemporary music by six progressive composers will also be held.

“As the MPyC festival has been about tradition, the classics and chamber music, we have not been able to introduce contemporary music to the audience. But as an organizer, I would love to introduce contemporary music pieces. For me, there is a sense of mission to do this,” said Son. 

Pianist Son Yeol-eum speaks during a press conference at culture complex Ode Port in southern Seoul on Tuesday. (MPyC)

“In the beginning, there really was not much time for myself. I had to work all the time (performing and planning for the festival). But now things have become stable,” the 33-year-old pianist added. “(Thanks to the festival) I have somehow come to enjoy playing the piano more.”

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)