Seoul scrapes together a secondhand season

The Seoul Philharmonic, abandoned by its music director after a hate campaign by the former CEO, is still being refused by more artists than it can sign.

It has announced a list of four conductors to replace Myung Whun Chung next season.

They are: Eliahu Inbal, Christoph Eschenbach, Yan Pascal Tortelier and Alexandre Bloch.

Draw your own conclusions.

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  • Eschenbach is now one of the most desperate conductors out there. After having lost three music directorships in less than ten years, along with his image and reputation, there is not much else for him to lose, so of course he would accept to conduct any orchestra that would take and pay him, including the Seoul Philharmonic and the equally despised and ruined Malaysia Philharmonic.

  • Snide directives that really amount to an order to agree with the writer are not rhetorical devices that impress me. That said, Bloch is far too young, it is far too early in his career, for any general assessment. He needs more time and experience, which is precisely why I pray he doesn’t succumb to blandishments from the nest of vipers in Seoul. I’ve long enjoyed Yan Pascal’s work and the larger part of his Chandos output. I don’t want him in Seoul, God knows, for I’ve never spent an evening in the company of a more amiable person, let alone conductor, utterly devoid of side, and wonderfully curious. He deserves better than he’s had so far, and sure as hell better than Seoul. I don’t know Inbal as a person at all, but he’s eighty this year, and after a fine, if not stellar, career marked by some very notable (and lauded) recordings, I should not want to see it, or him, killed by Seoul. That leaves Eschenbach, and if he wants to go there, I wish him, and Seoul, luck. If he wreaks the same havoc there that he did in Philadelphia, it might be karma for both conductor and management.

  • I hope they can straighten things out on the management side, but in the meantime, the musicians, who aren’t at fault, deserve to have some decent conductors to work with.

  • One has to wonder if there is any effective management at all at the SPO or are they all shell-shocked at the legal wheeling and dealing of the disastrous Ms. Park? Some weeks ago, Yuja Wang pulled out of her appearance with the orchestra, presumably because of the treatment of Myung-Whun Chung. Her concert was billed as “SPO and Yuja Wang”. Guess what? It’s still billed under that title. Click for more information, though, and you’ll see that the soloist is Olga Kern. Is there no trade description legislation in South Korea?

  • The musicians of the Seoul Philharmonic, and their audience, are the victims in this. If indeed they are being boycotted by “more artists than the management can sign”, then at least they can be considered exceedingly fortunate to have a conductor, musician, and human being like Yan Pascal Tortelier come to be with them. The politics and vitriol will not deter him from inspiring chemistry and excitement with the people who really matter. His will be a healing and uplifting presence.

  • My conclusion would be that the conductors are trying to save the season and the orchestra from a dispute which is not the orchestra’s fault. I hope that I got that one right, Mr. Teacher.

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