The Strad takes down offensive article on Koreans

The Strad takes down offensive article on Koreans


norman lebrecht

February 27, 2019

An article that appeared yesterday on the Strad magazine’s website and social media is now nowhere to be found online after a rush of reader objections that it contained racist stereotypes.

The article is apparently still due to appear in the next print issue of the magazine.

Written by a German violinist, Viktoria Elizabeth Kauzner, the article was titled ‘Why do South Korean string players do so well at competitions?’

It is full of sweeping genralisations, such as: “… ‘tiger moms’, who videotape lessons and ambitiously review them with their child at home. Some parents of female instrumentalists are working to the agenda of acquiring suitable husbands for their daughters – for just as daughters of the well-to-do in Europe’s patriarchal bourgeoisie societies of the past practised the piano in preparation for becoming accomplished housewives, talented Korean daughters have a better chance of capturing the attention of a ‘good husband’.”

UPDATE: An apology from The Strad

The Washington youth orchestra coach Samuel Thompson was among many protesters:

While I do not know your magazine’s editorial protocol, the fact that this statement was “fit to print” does a grave disservice to the hundreds of Korean musicians who work tirelessly due to their dedication to the craft: furthermore, does the author NOT remember that the great Kyung Wha Chung assured Mr. Galamian that she would NOT give up her career for marriage?

Ms. Chung’s story aside, you have done a tremendous disservice by allowing this statement to be printed, and as the many comments on the article show, a retraction and an apology are definitely in order.


  • Viola da Bracchio says:

    Astounding that they still intend to go ahead with the print edition of this offensive tripe? Or perhaps they are already tired of posting all those subscription copies to S Korea, and hope for a slew of cancellations?

    I’m sure 2SetViolin will have a field day with this vile tosh.

  • Jehi Bahk says:

    I think the “rush of reader objections that it contained racist stereotypes” is based on reading only the excerpt of the article which you could read free of charge on the Strad website. I think if one would have read the full article you wouldn’t come to that conclusion. In my opinion the article offers interesting insights and also some inconvenient truths but is not at all racist.

  • Edward says:

    They could have just modified the offending passages instead of deleting the entire article. But, alas, someone got “offended”!…. 😛

  • Carl Shuster says:

    We have had the pleasure of following the careers of some of the highly talented musicians at the Tanglewood Music Center some of whom have chosen to bless our performance halls with their extraordinary artistry. To a person they are supremely devoted and hard working. We are so lucky that they choose to grace our stages!

    This article is not fit for this respected publication.

  • Nick says:

    Only uneducated and ill-informed people can object to “Strad”s article. As someone who works with young Korean artists I can only attest to absolute truth of the article. There is as much racist about it as if we say that US basketball team is mostly black. There is nothing racist about it. It is very true. Yes, black basketball players are mostly stronger, faster than most white players. Yes, Korean kids work more than others, their parents are mostly devoted 100% to children, and yes, there are some girls whose families believe in a better marriage, thus better lives for their children. Anything wrong with that, you there on the radical Left side?

    • Samuel says:

      I would be very interested to see statistical proof of what you say about “black basketball players”. Sadly, your reference to black men being faster and stronger is hallmark of “anthropological racism”.