Seoul maestro lashes out at orchestra’s ex-CEO

Seoul maestro lashes out at orchestra’s ex-CEO


norman lebrecht

December 29, 2015

In his resignation letter, sent today to Seoul Philharmonic players, Myung Whun Chung makes no secret of the cause of his departure, pledging to continue to combat Ms Park’s legacy and her powerful supporters. He writes:


‘It is with great sadness that I write this letter of departure from the SPO at the end of my 10th year as your music director.

‘I would like to congratulate the SPO members on your achievements over the last 10 years — achievements that have been applauded all over the world. It is sad that these achievements have been overshadowed by one person’s fabricated statements. Lies and corruption may cause scandals, but human dignity and truth will prevail in the end.

‘There is only one thing that I consider higher and more important than music — namely, humanity. For this I am willing to put music at the service of helping, enriching and defending human rights, be it to help children through UNICEF or, in our case, helping the 17 people who have been terribly mistreated by the former CEO. Mistreated far beyond civilized, acceptable levels. Perhaps it is a reflection of Korean society that this has been allowed to happen.’


  • Pangea says:

    Let’s thank Ms. Park for “encouraging” Maestro Chung to stop wasting his precious time & talents on this back-water snake-pit of a country. Let’s leave Ms. Park to conduct this orchestra herself (i.e., if her plotting & back-stabbing activities leave her enough time to do so), and let’s bring Maestro Chung back to the West, where his talents are appreciated.

    • Rob van der Hilst says:

      Amen. (best wishes folks!)

    • Nick says:

      I doubt if Pangea or those who control the despicable goings-on at the orchestra are aware how much directing the Seoul Philharmonic meant for Myung Whun Chung. The success he and his two sisters have enjoyed in the west over the last four decades resulted in immense national pride. He looked on his direction of the SPO partly as a way of giving back to his country. As has been discussed here before, career-wise there was absolutely no need for him to base himself in Seoul and out of the international limelight for 3 months or so. He felt it was very much his duty.

      As the SPO now begins its descent back into the obscurity from which MWC rescued it, I trust all Koreans will reflect on his last sentence. What Ms. Park and her backers have achieved is a disaster not just for the orchestra but for the country as a whole.

      • Olassus says:

        That’s right.

      • Esprit de Joie says:

        That Maestro Chung has so selflessly spilled all his blood, sweat & tears on this orchestra (with such amazing results) is well known. And that one miserable witch like Ms. Park had the power to ruin it all is the sign that Chung shouldn’t waste one more minute on it. She’s behaving like a scorned lover.

    • Jamie says:

      “Back-water snake-pit of a country”? Classy response.
      Clearly you’ve never been to Seoul.

  • Stefan Boerman says:

    Who knows who really “feels” what over there.
    Everything I see/hear/read about the elite (which is those who can afford music lessons) smacks of politics/influence/social hierarchy.
    That country would be better off being socialist. Their rich influential crowd is like the “cool kids” in an American junior high school.

  • debussyste says:

    Please come back in France Maestro Chung ! We love you and would be more than happy to have you here for the rest of your great musical life.

  • Michael says:

    Is it part of “humanity” to fire 5% of his orchestra every year?

    • Excelsior says:

      How do you think this orchestra, under Chung’s leadership, improved so drastically over 10 years – by keeping the same 3rd rate players??? Great orchestras aren’t created democratically: Artistic quality can only be achieved by replacing mediocre players with great players. The Chungs have tried their best to raise the artistic standards in Korea – through education & training, and clearly they’ve come up against envy, jealousy & intrigue for their efforts. With respect to classical music, Korea needs the Chungs far more than the Chungs need Korea.

      • Michael says:

        To fire 5% of the musicians every year in any case, and this is decided by only one man, is not the way you build an orchestra on the long term. You should check on the level of some of these “3rd rate player”.
        Same as bringing key players only for some concerts.
        There is a reason no top orchestras in the world work like that.
        There is no doubt that Chung is a great conductor and brought SPO to an excellent level. But by doing it that way and with him leaving it’s certain that the level of the orchestra will drop drastically.

  • peter says:

    The truth will come as soon as investigation is completed.
    Mrs Koo and secretary should follow the rule of law.