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Euro Music

Posted June. 29, 2006 03:21,   


Most of concert halls or opera houses in Europe are firmly shut down when one visits them during summer vacation because their running seasons are over. However, vacation spots surrounded by splendid landscape or with old traditions heat up with music festival fever.

Attending such summer music festivals in Europe is emerging as a new type of theme traveling. That is because festivals, where the best star performers and pieces all come together, are a great opportunity to experience the various dimensions of European culture and art.

Amateur Club’s Music Journey—

Audio music club “High-Fi Club” and its Incheon and Gyeonggi Province members plan to travel to Austria and Russia from July 29 until August 9. The background and age of the travelers is quite diverse, ranging from teachers, students, office workers, and housewives while their age group ranges from teens to 50s.

Austria’s Salzburg, the hometown of Mozart, will celebrate the 250th anniversary of Mozart with a Festival that will perform 21 pieces of drama music including Mozart’s Opera Oratorio.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Shostakovich, Russia’s St. Petersburg will host the “The Stars of the White Night” festival where all the symphonies composed by Shostakovich will be played by world-renowned Russian conductors such as Gergiev and Mariss Jansons. The club members plan to attend some of the performances.

Before they leave Korea, as a pre-practice exercise they plan listening to Mozart and Shostakovich’s pieces on DVD and CD accompanied by the comments of music columnist Yoo Hyuk-jun. Kim Soo-young, 42, who plans to attend music festivals with her two daughters in college and middle school, said, “I went to Europe a couple times with my children, but we were all busy most of the time riding buses and visiting museums. I chose to travel this time because I think that it will be more memorable to stay in one or two cities and submerge completely in music.”

The author of “European Music Festival Pilgrimage,” psychiatrist Park Jong-ho also plans to attend music festivals for approximately a month with about 30 members of music clubs.

Festivals that Make News of World Music Community—

Music festivals are held in locations such as the floating stage by the Bodensee Lake, near the borders of Germany, Switzerland and Austria, or in a Roman-era arena such as Verona’s Opera Festival or by the Luzern Lake, Switzerland, like the Luzern Festival. The summer music festival surrounded by magnificent scenery is changing as a stage to present large-scale new performances that reflect the newest trends in the world music performance business. Cecilia Bartoli and Anna Netrebko are some of performers that have rocketed to world-class stars through such festivals. That is why at recent festivals it was not difficult to see album scouts from all over the world sign contracts on the spot with new rookie performers.

European music festival traveling is not a privilege for the wealthy only. People who acquire tickets that are even difficult to buy with money are young music enthusiasts that attend the festival carrying only a backpack. That is because passion and diligence is required to gain such tickets. In case of the Salzburg Festival, the seats of most of the famous operas are sold out two years in advance. Lieutenant Junior Grade Kim Jin-sung, 30, works as a Russian instructor at the Naval Academy and is a famous classical music enthusiast that has wandered in most of the European’s performances right before he joined the navy last year. He commented, “It is impossible to describe the thrilling excitement of entering a music hall by somehow acquiring a ticket, even if I had to sleep at youth hostels.”

Seung-Hoon Cheon raphy@donga.com