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PyeongChang music fest faces revamp.

The 15th annual PyeongChang Music Festival and School to be held from July 23 through Aug. 5 faces a few changes this year.

It will be the first festival under a new artistic director, pianist Son Yeol-eum who took the helm of the annual event in March, after the retirement of virtuoso artistic directors Chung Myung-wha and Chung Kyung-wha who have led the event since 2011. Prior to that, Professor Kang Hyo of The Julliard School was the first artistic director from 2004.

The festival will also be rebranded as "MPyC" which is an abbreviation of "Music in PyeongChang."

"We wanted to be called by a friendlier name so we created a nickname," Son said during a press conference in Seoul, Tuesday.

This year's festival carries a special meaning, according to Chairman Kim Sung-hwan of Gangwon Art and Culture Foundation.

"The PyeongChang Music Festival was initially launched to attract the Olympics in PyeongChang. This year's festival is the first even in the town after the Olympics. It's also the first with a new artistic director to carry on the work of previous artistic directors," Kim said.

"If we look at the trends these days, there are many young artistic directors of classical events. So we believed it was right to appoint Son. She is from the region, so it will be helpful for the festival to have a local artistic director to harmonize with the locals."

Many questioned whether the festival would continue after the Olympics, but it will, according to Kim.

"Both the summer and winter music festivals will continue. However, financially it's more difficult since the Olympics is over. We're tightening our belt and planning to create a sponsorship committee," he said.

This year's festival is organized with more diverse programs, according to Son.

"We have special lectures on a variety of topics and also plan to hold concerts in well-known locations in Gangwon Province such as Museum SAN. We will be touring around the Gangwon region. Also, the first week of the festival will showcase music that has never before been performed at this festival," Son said.

"They are well-known pieces such as Schubert's piano trio and Brahms' piano trio. I was surprised they hadn't already been played in chamber music concerts. We plan to continue to find pieces like this."

There will also be specially formatted performances such as an improvisation concert on July 28 where performers will create music requested by the audience on the spot. There are also more recitals this year.

The theme for this year is "Curiosity."

"I think what is amazing about classical music is its ambiguity. Anything is imaginable with classical music, compared to other art genres. We can transcend space and time. I think that is the power of creativity. So I didn't want to limit the theme from our previous regional repertoires but wanted to focus more on what classical music can do for us now," Son said.

The 32-year-old initially refused the artistic director position, but accepted to give a helping hand to the event which needed many changes to level up. "I just hope I can be helpful," Son said.

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Publication:The Korea Times News (Seoul, Korea)
Date:May 30, 2018
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