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Just in: Seoul sacks its top composer

January 3, 2018 by norman lebrecht

13 comments.


We hear that the board of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra has fired Unsuk Chin as its artistic advisor. She was only appointed to the post in 2016 but got involved unwisely (according to insiders) in the intrigues against music director Myung Whun Chung and appears now to have paid the price.

Seoul politics are a pit that musicians enter at their peril.

The orchestra will take a decade to recover from these upheavals.

 

photo: Kairos


Comments (13)

  1. Paul S says:

    Your claim that Unsuk Chin would have been involved in the intrigues against Myung-Whun Chung is totally wrong.

    Unsuk Chin was virtually the only person to stood up to protect Myung-Whun Chung in public when Maestro Chung was being unfairly attacked by the orchestra’s former CEO and other actors, both when Maestro Chung was still the orchestra’s Music Director and later.

    She even wrote a long article in the Korean edition of the Huffington Post defending Maestro Chung:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.kr/unsuk-chin/story_b_9622412.html

    1. norman lebrecht says:

      Our inside information is that she worked it both ways, but it would be unwise to delve any deeper into Seoul politics.

      1. Valerie. D says:

        Your informations which means ‘work both ways’ are totally wrong, Mr. Lebrecht. I don’t know where you’ve got the source and who is this “insider”, but you’d rather at least double-checking if it’s a reliable and trustable information.

      2. Sue says:

        Oh, an each way bet in the daily double?!

  2. Paul S says:

    This fake news is completely unsubstantiated and potentially libellous.

    1. JK says:

      The fervor of the comments surrounding this saga is very interesting. I wonder who these commentators are? Who can they be? Who can they be?? Lol

  3. Valerie. D says:

    What Norman writes here is a contradiction in itself.
    First of all, he outrageously claims that Unsuk Chin would have been involved in the intrigues against Maestro Chung – which is wrong and as has already been proven, completely opposite contents from the truth.
    The claim that Unsuk Chin would have been sacked by the orchestra’s board is totally unsubstantiated, as well.
    After being faced with facts, Mr Lebrecht relativizes the whole thing by claiming Chin would have “worked both ways”, alleging that his piece would be based on “insider information” (here, there’s NO given proof of such “insider information”) so as probably to shield himself from attacks.
    Finally, he stifles any discussion by claiming that “it would be unwise to delve any deeper into Seoul politics.” Indeed, that’s the only sentence that makes at least a bit of a sense here, although in a different way than Norman’s original intentions.

    Mr Lebrecht, if you don’t give any proof about “given insider’s information”, you’d rather stay being quiet, watch the situation and figure out what’s really going on. Britain is too far way and Seoul is the city which you don’t have the enough acknowledgement.
    You can’t just post such allegations without serious research and without double-checking your sources.

  4. Chris C. says:

    The orchestra did not fire Chin. She decided to leave and the orchestra was only informed of the decision after it was made.

    1. norman lebrecht says:

      The board fired her, according to our source.

      1. Weezy says:

        Norman, your entire first paragraph is false. You should make sure to have reliable and truthful sources before you try to defame an organization which has many musicians and staff, who are working hard to move past the drama of the last several years and keep the SPO in good shape. Shame on you.

  5. JK says:

    The fervor of the comments surrounding this saga is very interesting. I wonder who these commentators are? Who can they be? Who can they be?? Lol

  6. Heidi says:

    Seoul politics are a pit that musicians enter at their peril. The orchestra will take a decade to recover from these upheavals.

    Why are you so sure about that and what makes you to think so? Isn’t it a bit irresponsible to write a thing like that? All I can perceive is an accomplished orchestra that has just launched a new fine season. It would be a real shame if anyone in the music world would accept your predictions at face value. I truly hope that your patronizing projections won’t cause a disservice to this fine orchestra and to Myung-Whun Chung’s remarkable legacy. This orchestra and their musicians simply deserve to be given some time, trust and peace [redacted].

  7. Alberto says:

    Dear. Norman.
    IMO you should check your sources.
    Chin was appointed as a composer-in-residence in 2006, it was already 12 years ago by Maestro Chung. Since then she has collaborated with him on various occasions. She was only one who spoke loud for defending him through S.Korean press against defamation once the conflict began. How would be possible that she had something against Maestro Chung? If you have some reliable ground for this, how about showing it up for us some evidence for what you did claim?

    Regarding the alleged sacking, could you please be clear with valid proof? Instead of relying on ‘insider’, why don’t you directly contact the orchestra’s office or board and ask them for an official reply about that for confirming and maintaining your point?

    And what do you exactly mean by “It would be unwise to delve any deeper into Seoul politics”?


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