A city located at the southern edge of the Korean peninsula and with 140,000 inhabitants, Tongyeong is internationally renowned as the hometown of many celebrated composers, including Isang Yun, who became a genuine symbol of the city and the most famous music figure and icon of Korean music. In Tongyeong, music links tradition and modernity with many of its contemporary musicians drawing inspiration from the traditional operas such asthe mask dance Ohgwangdae. As music is the city’s lifeblood, it has recently invested US$ 52 million in a state-of-art concert hall.
Tongyeong is a city that knows to celebrate music within lively festivals including the Pop Music Festival and the Tongyeong International Music Festival (TIMF). The TIMF is a ten-day event that pays a large tribute to Isang Yun, and is considered as one of the most influential and well respected contemporary music festivals in Asia. Operating on an annual budget of US$ 2 million, the festival hosts a wide and diverse array of international artists and orchestras, and attracts an audience of over 20,000 every year.
While firmly supporting the emergence of creative industries, Tongyeong harnesses the full potential of culture and creativity as drivers of social inclusion and cohesion. In support of this framework, in 2014 it launched the Culture Day programme, which, on the last Wednesday of every month, enlivens public areas throughout the city with a special cultural programme. Film screenings, music concerts and performances are offered free of charge so everyone can take part. This outdoor event aims to increase participation in cultural life, as well as improve the quality of urban life through culture and creativity.
As a Creative City of Music, Tongyeong envisages:
- positioning the city as an international model in the field of music by taking the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the composer Isang Yun as an opportunity to reach wider international audience;
- increasing music education programmes in secondary and higher educations, as well as establishing a high-level university of arts and music;
- fostering international artistic exchanges and the mobility of artists through the Tongyeong Festival Orchestra, focusing on the role of music as enabler of intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding;
- opening the line-up of the city’s music events to worldwide musicians to showcase works of internationally renowned composers, especially from other Creative Cities of Music;
- organizing the World Music Days to support young composers as well as stimulate the music creative industry by generating new employment opportunities; and
- cooperating with Creative Cities of all creative fields covered by the Network to encourage multidisciplinary initiatives.