Chung plans a One Korea orchestra

Chung plans a One Korea orchestra


norman lebrecht

July 11, 2017

The conductor Myung Whun Chung, re-engaged with his home country, is forming a One Korea orchestra in the hope that musicians from the North will be allowed to join.

Seems unlikely in the short term, but he has concerts planned in Lotte Hall, Seoul, on 18 and 19 August.


  • Alexander says:

    had an experience before of listening to his conducting … for the next time if I see his name on a playbill I will certainly think to myself “I have another fish to fry” …. just my opinion, of course

    • Harold Lewis says:

      Yes, Alexander, just your opinion. And no more enlightening than the next man’s. It would at least be interesting to know why you feel justified in showing such contempt for his work.

      • Alexander says:

        he prevented me from getting sound emanating from a soprano I intended to listen to ( instead of his prim and loud practicing the scores of an opera). Actually opera is something what is conceived for human voices more than for a just plain symphonic music. If that gentleman (still) couldn’t get it – let it be up to him. Yes, that soprano doesn’t possess a big voice, rather tiny – any way – one should be able to comprehend the situation that one is in charge .
        You wanted my opinion – you got it. I’m not pretending to be an expert. I am a person with my own taste and sense of style. Some like champagne, others – cognac, a few like beer …. maybe in a backward order …. This was not my contempt – just my feelings after the performance …. and that acclaimed soprano appeared to be a bit off my taste , partially because of the conducting …. life , you know, is such a thing which can be tasted only in its complexity … and not every time one is pleased with it …. I am ( also) not a dollar to be adored by everyone 😉

        • Nick says:

          I’m not sure whether it is beer or champagne you are looking for, but Chung is one of the most experienced opera conductors. 5 years in charge of the Bastille Opera, regular appearances at the Wiener Staatsoper, La Fenice and elsewhere. I hesitate to say it, but from your use of English I would not be surprised if you are an acolyte of the former disgraced, dreadful General Manager of the Seoul Philharmonic who has done so such damage to that orchestra.

          I do hope Chung can get a joint Korean orchestra together. He is the only one who can.

          • Alexander says:

            it seems to my taste there are too many beer lovers in the room 😉
            Harold Lewis (nevertheless) got a score – too loud 😉 You , guys, who are close to the pit, are so sensible species – be at your own, unlike you, I am not going to impose my opinion on your fragile s(e)olus ;), especially using my weird ( to some ears) Ehglish 😉 … intolerance is the first sight of vulgarity 😉 ….. just F.Y.I. ( and it wasn’t me who said it first ;))))

          • Alexander says:

            find my misspells- I see at least two 😉

  • Rgiarola says:

    It’s sounds like Barenboim middle east orchestra. The hope to unite countries in war, inviting people from both places. Let me just remind that Italy and Iran had never been in a war agaisnt each other. That thing is another story.

    So I can guees that Chung next step will be win a Nobel peace prize.

    Anyone knows if Chung is under the same management of Daniel?

    • ketzel says:

      It’s not the management’s fault, regardless. The problem is narcissism. People who are good at their job, music, think they understand politics, and end up as fronts for evil regimes.

      • Rgiarola says:

        You are right! I was joking about the coincidence of ways to explore narcissism. In the past, I believe maestros were more criative concerning it. Lolol

  • Harold Lewis says:

    Your reply makes little sense. Whatever coherence it has is not helped by the gasping style you affect in your comments. It’s as if your thoughts suffer from emphysema. How did Chung prevent you from “getting sound emanating from” the soprano? Was the orchestra too loud for your taste? If that occasion was the sole cause of your dissatisfaction it seems a flimsy reason for writing a conductor permanently out of your concert-going experience.

  • Max Grimm says:

    While it may seem unlikely, he did succeed with a project some years ago, when he invited a North Korean orchestra to come and play in Paris, alongside the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.

  • Keane Southard says:

    I applaud his attempt to make this happen and sure hope it succeeds. Music is very effective at bringing people together despite cultural, political, and other differences, and we desperately need more examples of this kind to outshine the hate and fear that dominates the discussion of these conflicts. There is also a great organization called Musicians Without Borders that does similar work bringing people together through music who have been divided by war and conflict.

  • MDB_Sinfonietta says:

    Yes — well — Chung is truly not a good musician or artists. He’s far more interested in himself — not those who perform for him. Yes he had the Paris Opera for 5 years, until they couldn’t take it anymore and he was reassigned to the Radio France Philharmonique. And Chung stayed with the Philharmonique for 15 years because he couldn’t land another position anywhere else. He’s wealthy — knows people with money — so it would not surprise me that he has found the funding to launch his Korean One orchestra. It’s probably the best he can do at this point…

    • Alexander says:

      I really didn’t know that fact ( or those facts) … surprise? don’t think so knowing Koreans a bit ( sigh) …. as for the opera I attended ( saw/listened to) – I heard the opinion of other soprano ( and that soprano is the one of leading in Europe) – she said that she would be afraid to sing with the conductor like him in certain operas where sopranos have to express their feelings in ” a low voice” …. just so ….any way your message was interesting for me to read …

    • lee says:

      Are you serious?
      He is doing a lot of philanthropic work.
      and All of the profits from the One Korea Orchestra will be donated to the North Korea Children’s Fund.

    • Nick says:

      Yet another from the former GM’s retinue who can’t even get facts straight! Clearly no idea that there was a period of six years between his appointments at the Bastille and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. And what is the formal relationship between these two two organisations, I’d love to know? Couldn’t obtain another position? That’s a joke, too! How about Chief Conductor for the Accademia dell’ Nazionale de Santa Cecilia between 1997 and 2005 and the first Principal Guest Conductor ever in the history of the Dresden Staatskapelle.

      And you clearly have no idea in the vast number of guest appearances with the finest orchestras in the world, award-winning recordings – oh, it’s a waste of time going in to any more detail with people who belong to the clique of the disgraced, idiotic former GM.

      As for Alexander’s comment below, that has to be garbage. Which opera? What opera house? Date? Which sopranos? I don’t believe one word of it!

      • Alexander says:

        champagne doesn’t need to prove the finesse of its bubbles before beer …. I also can be arrogant … the part of royal blood is in my veins ….

        • Nick says:

          Same questions which you might care to answer – Which opera? What opera house? Date? Which sopranos?

  • Bviolinistic says:

    I have performed numerous operas with him in Vienna and my personal opinion is that he is severely lacking in both conducting technique and musicality. I have enough experience to know that everyone has a different opinion, however! As for his philanthropy, I think it’s highly commendable.

    • Jk says:

      My personal opinion, is that he is one of the top 3 conductor alive today. Also my personal opinion about the Vienna opera house is that the amount of rehearsal time and preparation that goes into the average performance is a disgrace and it shows in the quality of the playing. Fortunately you can rely on the aura of your great tradition and your inherent musicality. However this only takes you so far.