Opening the New Year with the People, “2023 New Year’s Concert”

Date Jan 06, 2023

It is time to celebrate the beginning of a new year with colorful and pleasant melodies. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (Minister PARK Bo Gyoon, MCST) hosted the “2023 New Year’s Concert” at the Concert Hall of Seoul Arts Center at 7:00 p.m. on January 4, in celebration of the Year of the Rabbit.

This New Year’s Concert is all the more meaningful as it was held with the audience physically present at the venue for the first time in three years since 2020. The New Year’s Concert was held without an audience in attendance and streamed live online in 2021 and 2022 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The fascinating music to be enjoyed and cherished by the over 2,000 concertgoers attending in person at the Seoul Arts Center Concert Hall this year was also available online in real-time anywhere in the country. The concert was streamed live online on Naver TV, the Seoul Arts Center YouTube channel, and KBS myK as well as broadcast live via SAC on Screen at various venues, including four culture and arts centers around the country* for the first time this year.

The program of the “2023 New Year’s Concert” highlighted the ever-changing charm of performing arts in Korea today. Master pansori (Korean musical storytelling) singer Ildong BAE and young sorikkun (folk song singer) LEE Hee Moon, who kicked off the concert, were key artists who have been promoting the true color and value of sori (song) around the world in their unique ways. The sori to be performed by BAE and LEE represented our precious heritage passed down from our ancestors as well as the roots of K-content, which has been continuously presented in various forms through the lens of the times. Master singer Bae performed “When the Blind Man Sim Regained His Vision” from “Simcheongga (Song of Sim Cheong),” and Gyeonggi sorikkun LEE staged the Gyeonggi folk song “Jeokbyeokga (Song of the Red Cliffs).” BAE and LEE’s stages were followed by the performance of YOON Hyung-joo, who sang “Our Story,” “Beautiful Person,” and “Two Little Stars,” heartwarming songs familiar to us and loved and cherished over generations. The concert was also an event that confirms the status of Korean musicals, which have emerged as a new driver of K-content. Musical actors KIM Dohyeong, KIM Bo Kyung, KIM Sohyun, and KIM Junsu presented famous numbers from the musicals The Phantom of the Opera, Mozart!, Dracula, and Rudolf.


KBS Symphony Orchestra led by conductor CHOI Young-sun also staged the instrumental music for the New Year’s Concert this year. The orchestra opened Part 2 of the concert with the overture of Mikhail Glinka’s opera Ruslan and Lyudmila. Korea’s leading soprano JO Sumi then took the stage to continue the New Year’s lively energy with a program of various songs. She performed “You Are My Heart’s Delight (Dein ist mein ganzes Herz)” from Franz Lehár’s operetta The Land of Smiles (Das Land des Lächelns), classical music including “Adagio” by Albinoni/Giazotto, and songs featuring beautiful Korean lyrics such as “On the Way to You,” “The Blooming Day,” and “Dandelion,” an original soundtrack from the Korean television series Curtain Call. She then continued to be joined by the Hyuneum Children’s Choir to sing a medley of songs from the film The Sound of Music. JO took the stage again for the concert’s grand finale, where she sang “Champions,” the theme song of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan.