Committed efforts are made to recognize the DMZ as a space for peace and life by multiple organizations including Gangwon-do (Moon-soon Choi, the Governor), the DMZ adjacent county Inje (Sang-ki Choi, County Governor), Gangwon Art & Culture Foundation, Yanggu County (Im-mook Cho, County Governor), People for Earth (Kumsil Kang, Executive Director), and Music for One Foundation (Mijung, Im). Under the catchphrase 'DMZ to PLZ!', the 2019 PLZ Festival, which combines a classical music festival and an international academic forum, will be held in Gangwon-do for ten days from September 20 to October 5.
The Peace and Life Zone (PLZ) Festival is part of a cultural movement that aims to spread the voice for peace and life, and Gangwon-do is the starting point of this 'PLZ Cultural Movement'. Based on the belief that the global crisis we face cannot be solved without efforts for peace and life sensitivity, the PLZ Festival makes an effort to sublimate the DMZ, an area which has formerly been a symbol of conflict, as a symbol of peace and life.
The PLZ Festival is divided into two parts. First, an international academic event, the PLZ Forum for Ecozoic Era (PLZ Forum) with the theme "The Rights of Nature and Ecological Transformation" is held at KT & G Sangsang Madang in Chuncheon from September 20 (Fri) to September 22 (Sun). Klaus Bosselmann, a professor of law from the University of Auckland and Maria Mercedes Sanchez, Coordinator of the UN Harmony with Nature Program with about 100 experts from different fields of study share and discuss issues of environmental degradation and climate crisis.
The classical music festival, the main event of the PLZ Festival, is held in Inje and Yanggu Counties from September 26th (Thu) to October 5th (Sat) starting with a concert performed by Ensemble des Nations (formerly UN Ensemble) at the ROK Army 12th Division Recruit Training Center in Inje. The Opening Concert "Pray for Peace" begins at 6PM on September 27 (Sat) at DMZ Peace-Life Valley in Inje. The Art Director of the PLZ Festival and a pianist, Mijung Im performs with the hope for peace and life.
The next concert is held at Eulji Observatory with the theme of "Mozart at Eulji Observation" at 11AM on Saturday, September 28. This will be followed by the Main Performance at the DMZ National Native Botanic Garden at 3PM. With the host Ilbum Chang, a classical music critic, Ensemble des Nations (formerly UN Orchestra), Vivache Chamber Orchestra and a soprano Hye Jung Kang perform classical music and Korean songs such as Carmen Fantasy, OP.25 and "My Heart" music by Dong-jin Kim. The next concert at 3PM on September 29 (Sun) performed by Jongwha Park (piano), Hyun Mi Kim (violin), Dami Kim (violin), Ensik Choi (viola), and Joonho Shim (cello) meets the local residents of Inje County at Inje Mountain Village Folk Museum.
In particular, on September 28, eleven ambassadors including Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union, Ambassador of Romania, Ambassador of Bangladesh, Ambassador of Zambia, Ambassador of Egypt, Ambassador of Sierra Leone, Ambassador of Nicaragua, Ambassador of Dominican Republic, Ambassador of Sri Lanka, and Ambassador of Bolivia, attend the Eulji Observatory performance and the main performance held at the National DMZ Native Botanical Garden.
The concerts between October 3 (Thu) and 5 (Sat) are held at Park Soo Keun Museum in Yanggu County. With the theme "Rainbow and Danny Boy on a Wonderful Day in October", Eun Kyung Oh (soprano), Seung-Hyun Choi (mezzo soprano), Yeong Hwa Lee (tenor), Ki-Woo Kang (baritone) perform Korean Songs followed by the concerts on October 4 (Fri) and October 5 (Sat) both at 3PM performed by Hyungsoo Ahn Quintet and Kyungsun Lee and Seoul Virtuosi respectively.
Starting with the PLZ Forum, the PLZ Festival promotes and recognizes the DMZ as a place of peace and life to the audience through classical music performances in the natural scenery near the DMZ. Mijung Im, Art Director of the PLZ Festival, said, “I hope the people of Gangwon-do, South Korea, and the whole world experience the 'Transforming DMZ to PLZ' through the Festival and change their image of the DMZ.”
While all the music performances at the PLZ Festival are of free of charge and open to public, the PLZ Forum (Sep. 20~22) and the concert at 12th Division Recruitment Training Center (Sep. 26), The performance at Eulji Observatory are open to its visitors only.