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Jazzing up the winter

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By Yun Suh-young

This year's PyeongChang Winter Music Festival to be held from Feb. 15 to 19 at the Alpensia Concert Hall in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, will be showcasing a warm blend of jazz with classical music featuring a star-studded cast.

The festival is a winter version of the PyeongChang Music Festival & School (formerly the Great Mountains Music Festival and School) which is held every summer in the northeastern province of Korea. The winter festival is a newly created one which began last year at the same location the annual summer program is held. It was created to explore diverse genres of music other than classical and the main theme of the festival is jazz, again this year due to the positive feedback from last year's program mixing the two.

"The repertoires for this year's program are songs that lie in between classical and jazz such as Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue or Bernstein's West Side Story. The jazz songs will be centered on the immortal jazz figure Thelonious Monk's works," said artistic director Chung Myung-wha.

Grammy-nominated jazz musician John Beasley, who has collaborated with many famous artists such as Miles Davis, Sergio Mendes, Fourplay, Al Jearreau, Chaka Khan, Barbra Streisand and James Brown, was invited as the main guest of the festival and will lead five jazz sessions during the event. He will perform in several different setups -- a solo performance, his own band MONK'estra, and the seven-member jazz band Septet as well as a duet performance with Korean jazz singer Woongsan. He was producer of Woongsan's 20th anniversary album "Jazz is My Life" released last year.

In 2013, Beasley released an album called "Monkestra" reinterpreting the works of Thelonious Monk with a jazz orchestra. The album is currently nominated for best arrangement at the Grammy Awards. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of jazz pianist Thelonious Monk's birth this year, Beasley will be performing his interpretations at the with his own band named after the artist.

He will also perform with Septet consisting of Darryl Jones on electric base, Gene Coye on drums, Bob Sheppard and Tom Luer on saxophone, Lemar Guillary on trombone, Dontae Winslow on trumpet and John Beasley himself on piano.

The festival will open with "Three Sarang-gas for Pansori, Cello, Piano & Buk" by pansori singer Ahn Sook-sun, cellist and artistic director of the festival Chung, pianist Son Yeol-eum and percussionist Jun Kye-youl. John Beasley's solo performance and piano duo Anderson & Roe's performance will open the ceremony Wednesday.

Thursday, Feb. 16 is the jazz night featuring the Woongsan Band and MONK'estra.

On Feb. 17, a chamber music classic concert will be offered. Kim Sang-yoon on clarinet, Isang Enders on cello and Kim Kyu-yeon on piano will play Beethoven's Trio for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano in B-flat major, op. Soprano Maggie Finnegan and pianist Son Yeol-eum will perform Gershwin's songs such as "Love Walked In" and "Someone to Watch Over Me" on the same day.

That evening, two jazz performances will take place featuring Lee Ji-yeun's Contemporary Jazz Ensemble and John Beasley's Septet.

Feb. 18 will be another classical concert day featuring the Wonju Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Kim Kwang-hyun. Later that evening, 3 Brave Souls, a trio of John Beasley, Darryl Jones and Gene Coye, will present a unique opportunity to hear contemporary sounds of "funk."

The last day, Feb. 19, will be a harmony of classic and jazz, beginning with Schubert and ending with John Beasley's solo recital with Woongsan as guest singer.


Read the full piece from: Korea Times

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