I was happy to learn that an appreciation of classical music is on the rise in Korea, on a recent visit to the classical-music store Pung Wol Dang. This is the largest classical-only music store in Korea, and a haven for aficionados and novice listeners alike. It was founded by Park Jong-ho—a well-known psychiatrist, opera critic, and columnist—with the heartfelt ambition of spreading the love of classical music. And his store certainly goes a long way in achieving this; in fact, it has become something of a classical-music mecca, due in part to its enormous stock of tens of thousands of CDs, which include some rare finds.
As well as this, the relaxed atmosphere invites visitors to listen to music, read books on the subject, and connect with fellow listeners. The staff members are friendly and very knowledgeable; if you are a complete beginner, there is even a music curator on hand to guide you in choosing the right album to start you on your classical journey. Park Jon-ho also runs a series of lectures that offer a more in-depth look at classical music, and these are always fully booked. I ended my visit at their café, Lozen Cavalier, with a relaxing combination of tea and chamber music.
Pung Wol Dang, Sinsadong 657-37, Seoul.
For more information, visit www.pungwoldang.kr.
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