'The Passionate Keyboard' of young pianists

By Im Eun-byel

Five-day piano festival to introduce prodigies well on their way to becoming virtuosi

  • Published : Sept 3, 2019 - 15:48
  • Updated : Sept 3, 2019 - 15:52

Though the label “young pianist” may be subjective, “The Passionate Keyboard” event defines them as artists with potential and talent who have yet to become fully established.

The Passionate Keyboard, a five-day event organized by Young Artist Forum & Festival, is aimed at finding such young pianists. The inaugural event featuring five performances, a pitch session and a forum will be held at the Sejong Center in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, Oct. 8-12.

“We chose the piano as theme of this year’s event, because it is the most common instrument for the public and there have been a large number of pianists who won prizes at international competitions,” Yoon Bo-mi, co-head of Young Artist Forum & Festival, said at a press event Tuesday at the art center. 

From left: Oh Jung-hwa, Sejong Center’s Performing Arts Programming Team director, Yoon Bo-mi, the co-head of Young Artist Forum & Festival and pianist Han Sang-il speak during a press event for “The Passionate Keyboard” held Tuesday at Sejong Center, central Seoul. (Sejong Center)

“Through three days of performances, we hope to show diverse aspects of the instrument,” Yoon said. The audiences will also be able to experience how live performances are different from recordings, Yoon added.

On the first three days, eight young pianists will perform in four piano recital programs: “The Duo,” “The Piano for the Afternoon,” “The Star is Born” and “Chopin and Chopin.”

The lineup includes: Hong Min-soo, second-prize winner at the 11th Liszt International Competition; Park Jin-hyung, winner of the 2016 Prague Spring International Competition: Kim Jun-ho, who won second prize at the same competition; and Park Jong-hai, this year’s Kumho Art Hall’s artist in residence.
Pianist Kim Jun-ho performs F.Liszt Transcendental Etude No.10 in F minor (Sejong Center)

“There are many competition winners. But aside from the wins, we invited those who have personalities in music and are serious about (playing) music,” said pianist Han Sang-il, who selected the pianists.

“In the past, winning local competitions was enough to gain attention. But now, even winning international competitions may not be enough. There are more, younger, talented musicians than before, but less attention is paid to them,” Han said. “We hope this event can give the spotlight to more talented artists.”

The highlight of the festival is “Live Battle” on Oct. 11, featuring four female finalists in their early-20s. Selected through an online audition, they will compete in 30-minute performances with a program of popular Chopin pieces.

The winner of the open audition will receive a cash prize of 2 million won ($1,650), a chance to hold a recital in 2020 and an interview with a media outlet.

The last day of the festival will close with a pitch session and forum discussing the future of classical music, especially the role of online platforms.

Tickets for the event can be reserved through Sejong Center’s website, Interpark, Yes24 and Melon Ticket. Each music presentation costs 30,000 won and the pitch session is priced at 10,000 won. Admission to the forum is free of charge. Next year’s event will feature string instruments.

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