Berlin Philharmonic appoints its first Korean player

Berlin Philharmonic appoints its first Korean player


norman lebrecht

March 04, 2018

The Korean viola player Kyoungmin Park joined the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra on February 15, we hear. She is on a two-year trial and appears to be the first Korean ever to play in the elite ensemble.

Kyoungmin Park came second in the 2013 ARD competition and was offered principal viola in Frankfurt’s hr-sinfonieorchester, turning it down so that she could continue her studies in Berlin.


  • Thorsten Grunzmoeller says:

    In related news, the second prize in the Valetta International Piano competition, Malta, was won by a Korean named “Jun-Bum Heo”.

  • Thomasina says:

    I was curious if she was from the Karajan academy and I checked it. She wasn’t but I found Christian Thielemann in the graduate list. The entrance day was April 1, 1978, so it’s his birthday just 40 years ago. I imagine if he was still a viola player.

  • Sue says:

    I don’t care about the identity or nationality of musicians, only how they perform.

  • Jackie says:

    Just trial period. I dont think she is passing this test.

  • Tony says:

    Is it true? There was another news in 1995. Nari Hong(Nari Brandner) was known as first korean BPO member. She is playing in DSO-Berlin.
    I think she failed to test. But, she was first korean BPO member.
    What is your opinion?

    • Max Grimm says:

      Nari Hong was the first Korean to win an audition for a position in the Berlin Phil but failed to gain membership (or ‘tenure’) when her trial phase concluded.
      Mrs Park, if she passes her trial, would become the first Korean to gain membership (or ‘tenure’) in the Berliner Philharmoniker.

      • Thomasina says:

        I remember a commentator on this blog was saying that in Berlin Phil about one in three failed their trial. Of course I don’t know if it was accurate information…

        • Max Grimm says:

          You remember correctly. Originally, I believe, it was Berlin Phil hornist Fergus McWilliam who said that on average one third didn’t pass the trial phase.