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SERGEI A. AIZENSHTADT
The Far Eastern State Academy of Arts,
SOUTH KOREAN TV SERIES IN THE SERVICE OF MUSIC EDUCATION
Abstract. In this article we study forms and methods used to popularize western classical music in a South Korean TV series. The main subject of analysis is the TV series Beethoven Virus (2008) devoted to a symphony orchestra in a fictional South Korean city. The main purpose of this TV series is the promotion of classical music, and the author of the article comes to the conclusion that its popularity among Korean audience is explained by its engaging, convincing artistic methods with respect to national cultural specificities, which were used to show the working environment of professional musicians. The series reveals real problems of modern Korean musical culture: “crisis of overproduction” of academic musicians; discrimination of graduates of South Korean musical educational institutions; prejudice that classical music is only for the rich. The author emphasizes that immersion into the atmosphere of professional musical life allows the viewers to apprehend the educational value of the TV series more clearly. Beethoven Virus demonstrates traditional Korean attitude towards European classical music determined by the Confucian roots; and at the same time, it depicts changes in the modern culture conditioned by gradual departure from traditional values. The two main characters — the young and the old conductors — symbolize the old and the new in the Korean musical culture. They interact in a traditional eastern way: the new spirit does not openly conflict with the established convention, but sprouts from it. The author suggests that the music is explained in the film through emotional associations which let the viewers fully perceive the musical idea. The author believes that this method, compared to other ways widespread in the West, corresponds to the nature of the specific sensation of European classical music associated with Confucian cultural roots. An opinion is expressed that methods of music education used in Beethoven Virus were chosen in accordance to the South Korean serial genre traditions: leitmotivs in the soundtrack and gesture clichés are of particular significance here. The author suggests that the South Korean experience of promoting musical classics by means of serial films can be used abroad — given that the differences in mentality and realities of musical life are taken into account.
Keywords: South Korea, TV series, teledrama, dorama, Korean Wave, hallyu, classical music, academic musical art, symphonic orchestra, K-pop, Confucianism, popularization of classical music, music education