Posted : 2010-07-25 17:16
Updated : 2010-07-25 17:16

Musicians gather for Korea’s Aspen

A performance during the opening concert of last year's Great Mountains International Music Festival & School. The classical music event continues through Aug. 13 this year in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province.
/ Korea Times file

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff reporter

Top musicians from near and far will gather in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province for some exciting music-making and learning.

The Great Mountains International Music Festival & School (GMMFS) has grown into a summer getaway spot among classical music aficionados, and this ``Aspen Festival of Korea’’ has kicked off its seventh edition last Friday.

Artists such as violinist Chung Kyung-wha, who made headlines by resurfacing from a five-year hiatus earlier this year, is participating in the festival as a member of the faculty. Her elder sister, Myung-wha, who had been a regular in the event, has also returned, along with other cello masters including Aldo Parisot and Jian Wang. They will give master classes to students registered in the music school leg of the event.

Sejong Soloists, the internationall renowned-conductor-less chamber ensemble that has been the face of the festival since its inaugural edition, are also due to take the stage for the next three weeks. Also not to miss is the rising 22-year-old pianist Lise de la Salle.

These musicians have gathered, moreover, to celebrate this year’s theme ``Create and Recreate’’: Staple works of the classical canon and creative new works inspired by them will be presented.

``Not only in music, but in the history of humankind in general, things are never born alone, but from the seed of things already in existence,’’ Hyo Kang, artistic director of the event, said.

The opening concert Thursday will showcase the Asia premiere of Richard Danielpour’s ``Lacrimae Beati,’’ which is based on by Mozart’s requiem ``Lacrimosa.’’ On Aug. 6, fans can look forward to comparing Beethoven’s ``Kreutzer’’ Sonata with Janacek’s ``Kreutzer.’’ Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy was inspired by the Beethoven piece to write his shocking short story about murder, which in turn motivated Janacek to write his string quartet.

The festival theme is also doubly meaningful in a different light. Given the nature of classical music performances, musicians ``recreate’’ by giving flight to an existing score, but at the same time ``create’’ by offering their own interpretation and color of the piece.
Festivalgoers can look forward to enjoying the concerts at the newly opened concert hall in Aspensia Resort. The festival, sponsored by KBS and hosted by Gangwon Cultural Foundation, among others, attracts some 40,000 visitors each year.
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Chubg sisters will succeed Hyo Kang

Hyo Kang, who has been leading the Great Mountains International Music Festival & School (GMMFS) since its inaugural edition in 2004, announced Sunday that this year will be his last.

Chung Myung-wha and her younger sister Kyung-wha have been named his successors as artistic director and co-artistic director, respectively.

``I felt it was about time that the festival be led by a new energy,’’ Kang, a renowned violinist and professor at the Juilliard School in New York, said ``in a press release.He is also the artistic director of Sejong Soloists.

``Hyo Kang has been a visionary leader and I feel more burned than joyful at the thought of filling in his shoes, but my sister (Kyung-wha) and I will try our best to help the festival grow into a world premier event,’’ said the elder Chung, who is a professor of cello at the Korea National University of Arts. The younger Chung, a violinist, teaches at Juilliard.
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