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Music in PyeongChang returns bigger and earlier

Son Yeol-eum poses for photos after a press conference for Music in PyeongChang on Monday. (Yonhap)
Son Yeol-eum poses for photos after a press conference for Music in PyeongChang on Monday. (Yonhap)

The 19th edition of Music in PyeongChang is set to take place earlier and will be bigger than before, the festival’s artistic director Son Yeol-eum said Monday.

The iconic music festival will be held for 22 days from July 2 to 23 at various places in Gangwon Province under the theme of “Mask.”

“Because of the masks during the pandemic, we were able to stay connected during a time of disconnection,” Son said.

In ancient Greece, masks were synonymous with personas, she said, and therefore, “closely linked to persons and personality.”

“Many artists will unleash their own stories at the music festival, which resemble the many meanings of a mask,” she said.

The event organized by the Gangwon Art and Culture Foundation will be bigger than any other previous editions, offering a total of 27 concerts, including 18 main concerts. In 2020 and 2021, the festival offered nine and 13 main concerts, respectively.

The festival this year will expand its scope to include overseas musicians, including Russian pianist Alexander Melnikov and flutist Matvey Demin, the winner of Tchaikovsky Competition 2019.

The new scheduling is part of efforts to avoid the holiday rush of late July to early August. For the past 10 years, Music in PyeongChang coincided with the peak summer holiday season when traffic gets heavy and accommodation rates go up.

“People’s vacation times are becoming increasingly flexible,” Son told reporters.

The festival also runs a week longer than previous editions -- each day will host only one or two concerts, all of which will take place in the afternoon.

“Now I want to give the perception that there is music whenever you go to PyeongChang,” the pianist said.

This year’s Music in PyeongChang will feature PyeongChang’s Strings and Baroque Ensemble for the first time. Strings consists of about 20 young string players and will perform music from living composers.

Educational programs will be back to their full size. In particular, the festival will introduce an orchestra academy.

“Many people are saying that it’s difficult to receive education related to chamber music and orchestra, but this academy can offer intensive education,“ added Son, who has been the artistic director of the event since February 2018.

Music in PyeongChang will kick off with an opening concert featuring three masked players performing music of two late composers, George Crumb and Frederic Rzewski, at PyeongChang Alpensia Music Tent on July 2. (
Korea Herald daum