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An begin of explanation on the model of these young musical talents.

mus01The South Korean modern musical world is influenced from the early XXth century by Western music. The South Koreans are good students and can be elevated to model, indeed recent generations are more present on the international classical musical scene and are noticed in the most prestigious music competitions worldwide. Their progression evoluated so rapid, such as at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels from 2009 to 2011 the South Koreans accounted for a quarter of participants in the first round. In 2010, five of them reached the finals and in 2011 for the first time, a Korean soprano Haeran Hong, arrived in first place in the song contest. Like the soprano Sumi Hwang a few years later in 2014 or the young violinist Lim Ji Young in 2015.

How can this phenomenon be explained? Is this the result of talent and only hard work. The educational system can help to develop the talent of the future virtuosos, the enthousiasm of young musicians attracted by the excellence, the spirit of the competition, and the desire of consecration on the international scene. The musical awakening is indeed early, potential talents are trained in specialized universities or foundations in Seoul, and are also encouraged and supported by the authorities. The older generations who already shine in international competitions teach them the way to follow. And then the best of them will complete their technical mastery of their instrument and their training in the best Western schools. The virtuosos will receive the pride of being enshrined in the major international competitions such as in Brussels, Warsaw or Moscow among others and will make a fruitful and rich career full of professional encounters.

Quoting Lee Yeong-jo, chairman of the Korea arts and culture education service: ” the students perform well and are competitive because they have trained so hard since a young age”. Education is also a key factor in the process. Competitions are held for the young prodigies in Korea to accustom them to their future lives. Individual talent combined with national support and patronage have proven to be the relevant factors to help the Korean musicians to become globally competitive. And with a myriad of violinist, pianist or vocal prodigies showing their virtuosity to the joy of listeners from around the world, it is now clear that Korean classical music lives its best moments ever.


Olivier Bulto 


Mrs Lim Ji Young won the 2015 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels.


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