Korea’s Chopin winner gives two fingers to Seoul

Korea’s Chopin winner gives two fingers to Seoul


norman lebrecht

February 01, 2016

Seong-Jin Cho, the first Korean to win the Chopin Competition, has signed a contract with Deutsche Grammophon, which surprises no-one since the label sold over 100,000 copies of his winning performance.

But here’s the surprise: Seong-Jin has agreed to make his debut studio recording in Dresden. The conductor will be Myung Whun Chung, who was forced to leave the Seoul Philharmonic after a campaign of vilification by its former chief executive.

Under normal circumstances, the Korean winner would have played to his home crowd. But he has decided instead to show solidarity with the ousted maestro.

Seoul Philharmonic also lost its DG deal when Chung departed.




  • Chopin Lover says:

    As far as I know, Cho’s scheduled to perform with the Seoul Philharmonic in July even though the replacement of Mo. Chung was not announced.

    • Nick says:

      Cho’s Seoul concert is still listed with conductor “TBA”. As noted in an earlier post, the webmaster of the SPO is still being particularly lazy as it is many weeks since Chung left. Yet the copy underneath the programme states this –

      “Tchaikovsky’s emotionally-charged Symphony No. 4 is part of Maestro Chung’s core repertoire whenever he conducts leading orchestras around the world and is fitting way to end this festive program.” Hmmm!

  • Holly Golightly says:

    Seong-Jin is not only a talented player but a refined and elegant young man. He’s an ideal representative of South Korea – that supremely can-do nation which is licking all its competitors.

  • Nick says:

    It will be interesting to know if this recording was originally planned to have been made with the SPO and then changed to Dresden in recent weeks. Chung was probably scheduled for recordings in Dresden in that period and Cho’s diary in the year following his Competition win can hardly be anywhere like full.