How Musicians are Surviving COVID-19
Written by Dongwan Kim | Published. 2021.01.23 16:18 | Count : 1293

COVID-19 has torn apart our society: it has made people reluctant of meeting each other face-to-face and going to indoor spaces. This led to an arduous consequence for both performers and viewers in numerous fields of performing arts, especially in the music industry, since performances are usually held in a closed space.

This characteristic can serve as a super agent for COVID-19 transmission which explains why performers are placed in agony as holding a concert is one of their main sources of income. Many young musicians are especially concerned as being unable to perform live in front of a physical audience can be very critical to their career. This is because consistency in performing is crucial for these young musicians to get attention. Fortunately, musicians have managed to break out from their shells to continue performing in a way that is safe and sound.

Following the current ‘Digital Era’, musicians began to utilize information technology to continue their passion. Seongjin Cho, a prominent pianist who was the winner of the 2015 Chopin Institute, held a live YouTube concert on April 26th. During his virtual concert, he showcased his new pieces that were going to be part of his upcoming album. It was broadcasted worldwide, and over 48,000 people watched the livestream.

[ Seongjin Cho’s live, remote performance, photo credits: KBS 뷰.
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Seong-Jin_Cho_20161116_06.png ]

There had also been online concerts of a larger scale. For example, The Berlin Philharmonic orchestra decided to hold an online concert, streamed it free of cost and released all their previous performances across 10 years with no additional charge.

[The Berlin Philharmonic performing live, photo credits to Hkaralahti. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Philharmonisches_Kammerorchester_Berlin.jpg]

Classical musicians are not the only ones to find alternative ways of holding concerts. Many pop artists, such as Miley Cyrus, and Katy Perry, also decided to follow the same footsteps.  This course of action from professional musicians has inspired many younger performers and students to continue with what they have been doing. According to Sung-jin Mo, a pianist from Sangmoon High School, “although these performances are not the same as watching them live, they are refreshing to watch and provide hope that us  musicians can continue to do what we love through a different medium.” The steps these artists are taking are allowing people to realize the possibility of adaptation, even for music. 

[Interview with Sung-Jin Mo. Photo credit: Dongwan Kim]

With these changes, an underlying question arises: can these online concerts ever replace live concerts? The answer can be seen from several different perspectives. Some people may feel that the atmosphere of a live performance cannot be recreated online. However, there are also positive responses towards this new medium, which emphasized lower prices and no space constraints. The affordability and universality of online performances not only help musicians but also grants safety and enjoyment for the general population.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has put the world in despair. However, the actions taken to overcome the restraints placed by COVID-19 have taught our modern society a notable lesson: the significance of flexibility. No matter how oppressing a certain circumstance may approach, being able to adapt and work around such barriers serve as an inspiration for people and help society to progress forward.
These important lessons we have learned can also be projected in various ways through different mediums. For example, educators are giving online lectures, and companies are holding online business meetings. This article helps reflect not only how people are responding to COViD-19, but also the austerity of society to resolve difficulties and what we can take home from these hardships.


Dongwan Kim
Grade 11
Brook Hill Boarding School

Dongwan Kim  student_reporter@dherald.com

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