Seoul can’t sign conductors

Seoul can’t sign conductors


norman lebrecht

January 31, 2016

The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, headless since Myung Whun Chung was forced out, lists no conductors on its website for the second half of this year. The blanks affect a Tchaikovsky Four, two Ravel and Brahms concerts with Yuja Wang as soloist in July/August, and Brahms First Symphony and the Beethoven’s Ninth in December.

A notice on the News & Info section of the site confirms that ticket prices have been reduced for all future concerts that should have been conducted by Chung.

myun whun chung

Christoph Eschenbach has booked in for one concert in July.


  • Brian from DC says:

    Eschenbach hasn’t “stepped in” for the July concert. It is part of the original season, planned before Chung departed the orchestra.

  • Michael says:

    Chung was not forced out but resigned at the very last minute, a couple of days before his contract renewal, so the orchestra will be in trouble to find a replacement.

    • Heeja Walker says:

      Wrong. He was forced out.

      • facts says:

        He did not renew his contract.

        • Heeja Walker says:

          You are wrong. Chung was driven into resignation. He didn’t have a choice.

          To begin with, there was the hideous defamation campaign against Chung and the SPO.
          And the mismanagement of the orchestra ever since ex-CEO Park took up office.

          Chung clearly showed lots of patience and lots of solidarity with the orchestra: he stayed in Seoul during the two disastrous years of Park’s tenure and even one more year after (despite Park’s dreadful defamation campaign), even though promises were broken, even despite the ignorance of the orchestra’s board and top management, even though the prestigious US tour of the orchestra was cancelled at last minute (because of the then-CEO Ms Park and the City Parliament), even though – in the course of Ms Park’s vendetta – key staff of the orchestra was being summoned by the authorities and the SPO’s offices were raided … et cetera et cetera.

          As for the non-renewal of Chung’s contract: it was the board of the orchestra who decided at sudden to postpone the discussion of its renewal by one month.

          No one in their right mind would have stayed under such circumstances.

          And there’s clearly a pattern here. During the tenure of the orchestra’s dreadful ex-CEO Park, 13 employees were tormented by Park up to a point where they had no choice but to resign (so that Ms Park could install her own henchmen in the office without having ‘blood in her hands’.)
          And exactly the same happened with Chung. He was forced out. Period.

  • Nick says:

    Seems the orchestra’s marketing department has trouble in identifying works. According to the website, two concerts in December due to have been conducted by Myung-Whun Chung have been retitled – the first is now “Beethoven’s Choral Symphony” whilst the second is “Beethoven Symphony No. 9”!