Steven Mead relinquishes artistic lead of Jeju Festival

The Besson artist steps down after helping develop the South Korean event in one of the world's leading wind ensemble and solo competition festivals.

  Steven Mead has been the artistic director for the past seven years

Steven Mead will relinquish the artistic directorship of the prestigious Jeju International Wind Ensemble Festival in South Korea at the end of the year.

It will mark the end of a highly successful seven year tenure and a connection that goes back to 2003 when the festival began and saw him invited as a soloist and member of an adjudication team for its fledgling euphonium competition.

Innovation and excellence

Since then the Jeju International Wind Ensemble Festival has developed into one of the world's leading music festivals, attracting the finest musicians and leading wind and brass ensembles.

The Besson artist was appointed the festival's Artistic Director in 2013, pushing the event further in scope and building on its reputation for innovation and excellence.

It now attracts thousands of musicians with around 40 bands performing around 85 concerts, and the festival simultaneously hosting eight high profile international solo competitions.

Concerts are live streamed and the competitions attract the best young performers in the world performing to impress outstanding international juries.

Although this year's festival was blighted by the effects of the COVID-19 virus, the solo competitions went ahead online with a smaller five day festival taking place featuring mainly Korean ensembles.


A spokesperson for Festival Committee told 4BR: "We have been very fortunate to have Steven as our Artistic Director since 2013. He is such a passionate musician who has spared no effort to advise us. We believe that due to his devotion Jeju has become one of the world's leading music festivals.

As you might imagine it's not easy to replace another artistic director to replace someone as passionate as Steven."

This really is a unique and wonderful music festival and I look forward to regularly returning to enjoy it develop further in the years to comeSteven Mead


In reflecting on his tenure, Steven also revealed that he will now assist in that process.

"These seven years have been quite extraordinary, and it's been a real honour to have served the festival,"he said.

"I'm very pleased that my involvement with the festival will continue in the future as soloist and as an adjudicator.

The Jeju festival has developed a wonderful international profile, and I'm happy that during my tenure I've been able to instigate modernisations within the solo competitions, creating a transparent marking system that has been widely accepted by jury members and warmly welcomed by all competitors."

He added: "It's also given me the opportunity to meet so many brilliant musicians who visited the island of Jeju. This really is a unique and wonderful music festival and I look forward to regularly returning to enjoy it develop further in the years to come."

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