The Korea Herald


TIMF to take place, reflecting on ‘Changing Reality’

Classical music festival to broaden its sphere, featuring YouTube star Leenalchi, ‘Minari’ Han Ye-ri, ballerina Kim Joo-won and more

By Im Eun-byel

Published : March 2, 2021 - 15:52

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Tongyeong Concert Hall (Tongyeong International Music Foundation) Tongyeong Concert Hall (Tongyeong International Music Foundation)

The 2021 Tongyeong International Music Festival will take place from March 26 to April 4, presenting 23 performances under the title of “Changing Reality.”

The annual music festival held in Tongyeong, South Gyeongsang Province commemorates the iconic Korean composer Yun I-sang. It features classical music to contemporary music, inviting performances from domestic and overseas artists and orchestras.

For the opening concert on March 26, Venezuelan conductor Christian Vasquez will take the baton for the Tongyeong Festival Orchestra. The concert will kick off with Yun I-sang’s “Fanfare & Memorial,” which the Tongyeong-born composer wrote to warn humanity against nuclear war, and will wrap up with Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5.

On March 26 to 28, Korean American composer Kim Texu’s new work “Dear Luna” -- a reinterpretation of the works of Schubert, Debussy and John Adams -- will have its premiere, completed with ballet dance and media art.

Celebrated ballerina and choreographer Kim Joo-won is the artistic director of the performance. Six dancers will dance along to the piano music, alongside a narration from actor Han Ye-ri of the Golden Globes-winning film “Minari.”

The festival features a more domestic lineup this year, as the COVID-19 pandemic has restricted international travels.

Up-and-coming pianists Kim Tae-hyung, Kim Da-sol, Park Jong-hae and Youn Hong-chun will perform in succession for the “Piano Marathon Concert” on March 27.

Virtuoso violinist Chung Kyung-wha will perform a complete cycle of Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas in a violin solo on March 28 and 30.

This year, the TIMF will feature Korean traditional music-inspired band Leenalchi, who made a 600 million hit on YouTube as part of a promotional campaign with the Korea Tourism Organization last year. The band will perform the hit song “Tiger is Coming” and more on April 2.

For the closing concert on April 4, Mozart’s last work Requiem will be performed, by soprano Lim Sun-hae, bass Park Jong-min and the Daejeon Philharmonic Chorus and Tongyeong Festival Orchestra. All artists and troupe members will be tested for the coronavirus a week before the performance. 

Poster image for the 2021 Tongyeong International Music Festival (Tongyeong International Music Foundation) Poster image for the 2021 Tongyeong International Music Festival (Tongyeong International Music Foundation)

As last year’s festival was canceled due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers have planned a more flexible program to cope with the virus-plagued times.

About 50 percent of the tickets will be sold for each performance, leaving an empty seat between every audience member.

Under the Level 2 social distancing measures, performances will be held both offline and online. At Level 2.5, performances will be livestreamed online without audiences, and canceled at Level 3.

By Im Eun-byel (