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Church-sponsored concerts support young Korean musicians

Proceeds from the concerts have funded scholarships for 20 musicians in the past few years
A musician plays the violin during a Church-sponsored concert in the South Korean capital on Sept. 19 last year

A musician plays the violin during a Church-sponsored concert in the South Korean capital on Sept. 19 last year. (Photo: Catholic Times of Korea)

Published: August 22, 2023 05:34 AM GMT
Updated: August 22, 2023 05:53 AM GMT

A Catholic Church-sponsored concert project in South Korea has continued to raise funds for scholarships to young musicians.

The Korean Young Artist Series, which first started in 2017 at the Myeongdong Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Seoul has gradually developed into a “mentoring project” for young musicians.

This year, two concerts were held on July 10 and Aug. 14.

Vere Ensemble, a five-member woodwind team, performed the Aug. 14 concert.

A baroque music performance with flutist Yubin Kim was held on July 10.

At the young age of 19, Kim was appointed as the youngest member of the world-famous Berlin Concerthaus Orchestra and principal flute.

Baroque music is a style of music that prevailed from about 1600 to about 1750. It is well known for its grandiose, dramatic, and energetic spirit but also its stylistic diversity.

The proceeds from the concerts have sponsored scholarships for 20 Korean musicians so far.

“Over the past years, about 20 young musicians have received scholarships and held performances,” said Agnes Choi Ji-young, head of the culture and arts committee of Myeongdong Cathedral.

The initiative started in 2017 from a suggestion by Sunwoo Yekwon, the first Korean to win the gold medal at the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Texas, U.S. that year.

The competition is named after American pianist Van Cliburn who in 1958 won the first Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, Russia during the height of the Cold War propelling him to international fame.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840- 1893) is an internationally acclaimed Russian composer known for his concert pieces including “The 1812 Overture” released in 1880.

According to the project organizers, the musicians who perform at the concerts donate their proceeds from ticket sales to fund a scholarship for young musicians.

The young musicians who are nominated to receive the scholarship are required to perform in the cathedral's chapel.

The concert venue will also host five more concerts this year.

The organizers pointed out that more than 50 percent of the concertgoers were non-believers, and most of them did not know much about Catholic Church

“I didn't know much about the Catholic Church, but it's so nice to see it,” an unnamed concertgoer said.

“I visited the church because of the concert,” said another unnamed visitor.

This report is brought to you in partnership with Catholic Times of Korea

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