Seoul Phil confirms next month’s US tour is cancelled

You read it first yesterday on Slipped Disc, with the full reasons.

Here’s the bleak statement:

 

chung

It is with profound regret that the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO) has made the decision to cancel its forthcoming U.S. tour. The tour was scheduled for 14th – 24th April 2015 with seven concerts in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Davis, San Francisco, Seattle, Ann Arbor, and Chicago. The cancellation is due to a recent and significant cut in tour funding from the City of Seoul. The SPO, which is heavily subsidized by the City of Seoul, has failed to secure sufficient financial support from alternative sources and has therefore made the decision not to proceed with the tour. Maestro Myung-Whun Chung, Music Director of the SPO, has stated: “On behalf of my musician colleagues at the SPO, I am deeply saddened that the tour to the U.S. has been cancelled. This is due to financial reasons entirely beyond our control.”

 

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  • Please see Korea Herald’s editorial commentary regarding the SPO’s tour cancellation
    http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20150316000843
    It says that “the SPO’s overseas tours and record deals were the Seoul Metropolitan Council’s pet peeves against the orchestra and getting the budgets approved was not easy even in previous years.”
    “To prevent similar incidents from happening again, a fundamental structural problem needs to be resolved. Budgeting has been a perennial problem for the organizers of cultural occasions, who have to prepare events without having secured funding. While the government approves budgets for the following year in December, the international norm is to prepare events at least two to three years in advance. This is one area where the country needs to adopt the global standard.”
    “Politicians and bureaucrats should also refrain from exploiting their control of the purse strings for political reasons ― the arts and culture should be allowed to remain above the political fray. Cultivating the arts and culture requires long-term planning and a broad perspective.”
    “It would not be an exaggeration to say the country’s international stature has been damaged primarily as a result of politicians’ limited perspectives.”

    • Very well said. The present structure of SPO is fundamentally flawed unless you want to have a mediocre orchestra. The Mayor Park of Seoul, the former CEO, Park, and the Seoul City Council members are largely responsible for this embarrassing situation due to their inept myopic perspectives.
      However, Koreans are known for their resilience and diligence. I have every confidence the SPO will recover from the growing pain.

  • It is deeply disappointing to learn that Korean private and business communities would not step up to support SPO, one of the best orchestras in the world and one of the recent Korea’s proudest achievement. We live in New England and have planned to go to the west coast to see the SPO members and maestro Chung conducting in person.
    I wish maestro Chung a good health and SPO recovers this unfortunate set back.
    We are cheering for you. God bless you!

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