Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Choe U-zong at the TIMF

Tongyong Int'l Music Festival Opens

By Bae Keun-min
From The Korea Times - 03-21-2006 19:33

The Tongyeong (Tongyong) International Music Festival 2006 has raised its curtain with the opening of its spring season in the southern city, birthplace of the celebrated composer, Isang Yun (1917-1995).
Under the theme of ``Flux,’’ the music drama ``Rose’’ by Choe U-zong opened the six-day agenda last night at the Citizen’s Center, followed by Japanese pianist Norie Takahashi’s recital.
``Rose’’ is based on the poem ``Always a Rose’’ by Liyoung Lee of China. It portrays a man’s life and features musical actors, a 20-member ensemble and a 20-member choir.
To commemorate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dmitrii Shostakovich, the program of 12 official concerts will feature many pieces by the two great composers as well as Yun’s musical numbers.
Celebrated performers include the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Maestro Yuri Simonov, and the 35-year-old Canadian Brass quintet. Clarinetist Martin Spangenberg & Quartet 21, Counter Tenor David DQ Lee and the Germany-based classical jazz quintet Salta Cello will also show off their artistry at the festival.
Hwang Byung-ki, kayagum (12-stringed Korean harp) player, and the AbsoluTrio from Germany will present innovative repertoires at separate concerts on the final day.
Aside from the official concerts and performances, some 750 artists of 70 teams will perform different genres of music at various venues across the city in South Kyongsang Province, including churches, the submarine tunnel and the cross-country bus terminal, during the fringe festival.
The music festival originated from a one-night concert in 1999 commemorating Yun. It was not easy to host such a tribute to the great composer as he had been found guilty of pro-Pyongyang spy activities in East Berlin in 1967. His visit to North Korea as a musician had made him part of the famous ``Tongbaengnim’’ scandal.
However, the success of the one-night commemoration was reborn as an annual festival in 2002 after a couple of more events. Last year, the festival acquired a larger physique as it started presenting a year-round program for three different seasons of spring, summer and fall.
The Tongyong city government has recently been more actively involved in the annual event shouldering more than 900 million won, three-fifths of the total 1.5 billion won estimated cost this year. The local government is also driving a plan to build a music hall complex dedicated to the South Korean composer Yun.

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