Conductor Gum Nanse of South Korea received the Sejong Culture Award for his contribution to society, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced Thursday.
The former music director of the KBS Symphony Orchestra was recognized for his efforts to introduce Western classical music to the underprivileged and rural audiences.
He founded an orchestra composed of young musicians from farming and fishing families and has also led performances in remote rural parts of the country.
The 64-year-old musician is one of the most popular conductors in the country. He now serves as the artistic director for the Eurasian Philharmonic Orchestra.
Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Choe Kwang-sik hosted an award ceremony at his ministry near the Changgyeong Palace in central Seoul.
Gum graduated from the music composition department of Seoul National University and the conducting department of the Berlin National Music College. He formerly served as the conductor of the KBS Orchestra, the Suwon City Orchestra, and the Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 1998, he founded the Eurasian Philharmonic Orchestra for the popularization of classical music.
Other recipients of the award included veteran actress Kim Hye-ja.
As a goodwill ambassador for World Vision, she has been actively involved in relief efforts in poverty-stricken African countries.