▲ Winner of the trumpet competition Miroslav Petkov, of Bulgaria, performs in the Winner's Concert at Jeju Art Center in Jeju City, Aug. 20. Photo courtesy International Wind Ensemble Festival Organizing Commitee
The 15th Jeju International Wind Ensemble Festival finished its nine-day musical journey on Aug. 20 in Jeju City. Attracting an estimated 46,000 audience members from Korea and abroad, the JIWEF, received many positive reviews.
“It’s a perfect festival for this hot summer. I came out to enjoy the 8 p.m. concert at Jeju Seaside Art Center every night,” said Bae Ji Won, a college junior from Top-dong.
At every concert throughout the festival, high school students could be easily seen wearing their uniforms. Kim Jung Hwan, a middle school student said after one of the concerts, “Frankly, I came here to write an essay for my music class, but I enjoyed it. It was more public-friendly than I expected.” Kim Mi Young, a mother of an elementary school student said, “This event is great. We all know Jeju does not have enough art performances compared to Seoul. It is a much needed festival on this island. I brought my son to four other concerts. They were all great.”
Ludwig Albert, a percussionist who performed at the welcoming concert on Aug.15, said, “I was amazed by the size of it and to see so many invited artists and ensembles from all over the world. It was also amazing to see so many candidates for the brass competition as well.”
“It is a festival of which Jeju can be proud, seeing its uniquely offered program, gathering so many artists and musicians from abroad. I surely think it is one of the greatest and most unique festivals and it is a great opportunity for the percussion and marimba to be part of it.”
The festivities began on Aug. 15 at the Jeju Art and Culture Center with a street parade of the musicians, which concluded at the Jeju Seaside Arts Center where the welcoming concert, Viva Brass! took to the stage at 7:30 p.m. and lasted several hours. All the seats were filled and people seemed to enjoy the summer night music. The concert was not all about classical music. The Chestnut Brass Company, Sound INN Brass, Jeju Wind Orchestra and Jeju Special Self-Governing Province Jeju Chorale and Seogwipo Chorus, gave very audience-friendly performances to which audiences could follow along.
For the 6th Jeju International Brass Competition section of the festival, 276 musicians from 19 countries competed. There were more participants this year due to the fact that the competition became one of the World Federation of International Music Competitions on April of last year.
For the competition, if judges deemed that no performance warranted first place, then no first place would be given, and ranking would begin at second place (if the judges decide that a performance was worth second place). As an example Janos Benyus from Hungary won second place in horn, without there being a first place winner. There were no second place winners for bass trombone.
Gregory Battista from Dallas, Texas, a competitor in euphonium said “I love Jeju. This is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The festival is pretty much like the World Cup for our musicians, especially this year.”
The festival could not have been such a success without the help of the 120 volunteers who were willing to assist audience members and the committee. “If there are any problems, the people have been so friendly here that they fix it as soon as possible and they have been really open to our suggestions. It is such a welcoming island. It has really been a great experience,” Battista said.
The festival will return next year, Aug. 12 through Aug. 20. The International Brass Competition section of the main festival will return the following year, 2012. For more information visit www.jiwef.org.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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