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18 Korean singers advance Queen Elisabeth Competition's first round

18 Korean singers advance Queen Elisabeth Competition's first round

Posted March. 10, 2023 07:46,   

Updated March. 10, 2023 07:46


The Queen Elisabeth Competition, one of the three most renowned concours in the world, announced that 18 South Korean singers were selected for the first round of the vocal competition, making South Korea the country with the largest number of singers who advanced to the first round this year. It is highly expected that “K-classical music” will carry on the legacy of “K-pop.”

The names of 64 singers for the first round were announced on the Queen Elisabeth Competition’s website on Wednesday (local time). Of 44 women and 20 men, 18 South Korean singers accounted for around 28 percent. It is the highest number of Korean singers who made it to the first round, followed by 12 in 2014 and 13 in 2018.

Hosted by the Royal Palace of Brussels since 1937, the Queen Elisabeth Competition is regarded as one of the top three international musical competitions, along with the International Chopin Piano Competition and the International Tchaikovsky Competition. At first, the violin, singing, composition, and piano sessions took turns every year. The composition session was held in 2012 lastly, which was replaced by the cello session. The first cello competition was held in 2017, and the second last year.

In the cello session organized last year, 10 South Korean cellists advanced to the first round of the competition, taking up 15 percent out of a total of 66 cellists. Choi Ha-young garnered attention by earning the first prize.

In the voice competition, soprano Hong Hye-ran and Hwang Su-mi topped their competitors in 2011 and 2014, respectively. Other South Korean vocalists also left a mark, including soprano Lee Soo-yeon (laureate) in 2018; and soprano Park Hye-sang (5th place), tenor Kim Seung-jick (laureate) and baritone Yoo Han-sung (laureate) in 2014. In 2015, Lim Ji-young became the top violinist. Cho Eun-hwa and Jeon Min-jae earned the first prize in 2008 and 2009, respectively, in the composition session that ended in 2012.

As many as 412 participants joined the competition, recording the largest ever in history. The 64 artists will compete in the first round from May 21 to 22, and join the semi-final round from May 24 to 25. Twelve finalists will be selected and sing for the final round at Bozar Art Center in downtown Brussels from June 1 to 3, with Queen Mathilde of Belgium in attendance. Soprano Jo Su-mi is one of the seven jury members this year.

The Korean Cultural Center in Belgium has supported the Queen Elisabeth Competition since it signed an annual MOU. It hosts the Korean Gala Concert with the competition’ organizing committee.

Eun-A Cho achim@donga.com