Seoul orchestra commits musicide

Seoul orchestra commits musicide


norman lebrecht

March 16, 2015

As if things weren’t bad enough at the Seoul Philharmonic, which got its US tour cancelled by the city council ast week, the city’s other orchestra is locked in all-out industrial war.

The KBS Symphony Orchestra, formerly run by the broadcasting authority, has been hived off to a new company. Two thirds of the players – 67 altogether – are refusing to sign contracts with the new owner until job security is guaranteed. The owners have no intention of doing so.

Today, they advertised vacancies on 16 different instruments in the orchestra, paving the way for mass dismissals.

Seoul has, in a matter of weeks, gone from a booming classical economy to near-bust.

What is remarkable is how little the managements – or their sponsors Hyundai, and others – seem concerned by their worldwide loss of face.

seoul phil


  • korry kung says:

    After meeting with Kissenger, kim jong nut outlined his triple-pronged pre-unification preparation plan for orchestras with his minister of culture.

    First priority: stability

    make all south korean orchestras pay the same wage to players as north korean orchestras. Seoul phil will still exist but it will be like suwon phil or busan phil with similar pay. Dissolve KBS.

    Second priority: stability

    only hire compliant new leaders and screen for compliance in new players. Working conditions in the south are already similar to the north–drastic adjustments will not be needed.

    Third priority: stability

    Increase censorship and surveillance, enact more laws to control speech and the freedom of assembly. Make the state’s presense felt. Pinhole cameras are replaced by large lensed cameras and big fat microphones are set out in the open. Remove pens and pencils. For security, all concert halls and orchestra offices will house their own mini police office on the premises. A policeman will be required to be physically present in the orchestra office as a member of the orchestra staff to help secure meetings and the day-to-day operation of the organization.

    Kissenger personally recommends shinik hahm for the position of music director for the new korea national symphony orchestra, resident ensemble in both seoul and pyong-yang. This new flagship national orchestra will be the only orchestra permitted to tour internationally. All orchestral members will have an rfid chip embedded on their person and in their instrument. To deter defections while abroad, potential asylum seekers will have Taser leads applied to their scroti, if male, and favorite gucci and louis vuitton purses locked away in strong boxes post-concert, for females. Upon successful return to korea, male players will be rewarded with a drunken night with a female professional stress relief agent, while female players will be able to enjoy either having their nose done or tummy tucked. The DMZ will host an annual summer music festival that will make Aspen or Tanglewood look like child’s play with performances guaranteed to blow you away.

    What’s happening now in seoul is just phase one.

  • Nick says:

    It seems a touch ironical that the KBS Symphony used to be by far the best orchestra in Korea before the Seoul Philharmonic appointed Myung whun Chung. If Chung were to leave the SPO, it could open the doors for the KBS to reassert itself. Clearly that is not going to happen.