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PyeongChang arts festival aims to uplift Olympics spirit

2017/08/07 17:07

By Woo Jae-yeon

SEOUL, Aug. 7 (Yonhap) -- A music and art festival for the 2018 Winter Olympics and the Special Olympics will open in the host city PyeongChang on Thursday, its organizer said Monday.

The annual PyeongChang Special Music & Art Festival, in its fifth year, will aim to keep up a festive mood with the global sports events less than six months away, it said.

Some 500 people including 130 with developmental disabilities from 26 countries will participate in the five-day event.

"The festival materializes the spirits of Special Olympics that emphasize understanding, harmony and challenge, rather than competition, through culture and arts," said Ko Heung-kil, chairman of the Special Olympics Korea committee, which organized the event, in a statement.

A poster for PyeongChang Special Music & Art Festival. (Yonhap) A poster for PyeongChang Special Music & Art Festival. (Yonhap)

The opening ceremony is slated for 10 a.m. on Thursday at the concert hall of the Alpensia Resort in PyeongChang, some 180 kilometers east of Seoul.

Globally known Korean musicians including cellist Chung Myung-wha, pianist Cho Jae-hyuck and violinist Lee Kyung-sun will stage performances while mentally disabled violinist Park Sang-jin will perform in collaboration with other musicians.

The festival will also offer other special programs by the physically challenged.

Lithuanian Emil Korickij, a physically challenged musician, will sing at the "Sharing" concert on Friday, and one-handed pianist Nicholas McCarthy from Britain will perform during the "Caring" concert the next day.

New York-based South Korean artist Kang Ik-joong, known for putting together palm-sized paintings drawn by children around the globe for a giant installation artwork, will run an art program.

"As the festival's slogan 'Together We Can! Together We Play!' shows, we hope this becomes a meaningful time for everyone by tearing down the wall of prejudice based on physical and mental disabilities and help people genuinely enjoy being together," said former South Korean Prime Minister Han Seung-soo, honorary chairman of the festival's organizing committee.