Korea's Great Mountains Music Festival Cancelled Due to Floods and Mudslides

Classic Arts News   Korea's Great Mountains Music Festival Cancelled Due to Floods and Mudslides
Torrential rains, floods and mudslides in South Korea's Gangwon province have led organizers to cancel the third annual Great Mountains International Music Festival and School (GMMFS). The festival, a Tanglewood/Aspen-style event that combines concerts by renowned performers with high-level instruction for music students, was to be held at the YongPyong resort near PyeongChang in the mountains east of Seoul from today to August 14.

Plans for this year's GMMFS had been ambitious. Programming around a "Four Seasons" theme was to include, in addition to Vivaldi's deathless tetralogy of violin concertos, Tchaikovsky's The Seasons for solo piano, Astor Piazzolla's Las cuatro estaciones porteê±as ("The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires"), and the world premieres of Taiwanese composer Gordon Chin's Summer Grasses and Korean composer Suk Hi Kang's Four Seasons of PyeongChang. Among the visiting soloists and faculty were to be cellists Andr_s D‹az, Aldo Parisot, Myung-Wha Chung and Jian Wang; violinists Joel Smirnoff (of the Juilliard String Quartet), Kyoko Takezawa and Chee-Yun; and pianists Vladimir Feltsman and Elizabeth Parisot. In addition, the festival had planned a performance of Earl Kim's one-act opera Footfalls (based on the Samuel Beckett play) and the launch of the Aldo Parisot Cello Competition, with a first prize of US$10,000.

Unfortunately, severe damage to the festival venue itself as well as to the surrounding area made proceeding with these events impossible. In announcing the cancellation and expressing his regret, GMMFS founder/artistic director Hyo Kang said, "This is a time for everyone to bond together and work to aid the victims of this terrible tragedy."

In place of the Great Mountain Music Festival itself, the New York-based string ensemble Sejong Soloists (the GMMFS's resident orchestra) and various guest artists are undertaking a series of benefit concerts in Seoul and around South Korea, with all proceeds donated to aid victims of the floods and mudslides. There are currently eight such performances scheduled between August 1 and 16; more information is available from Sun Yoo at syoo@sejongsoloists.org.

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