Korean wins rapid tenure in the Berlin Phil

Korean wins rapid tenure in the Berlin Phil


norman lebrecht

November 01, 2019

The viola player Kyoungmin Park has been granted permanency in the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra 21 months after she started playing. The usual trial period is two years.

Ms Park is the first Korean to be admitted to the elite ensemble.


  • Gerry Feinsteen says:

    Congratulations to her and the orchestra. But one cannot help but wonder, given recent news, are visits to mainland China now off the table?

    • Jacob van Eyck says:

      SEOUL, Oct. 31 (Yonhap) — South Korean officials are working to determine the facts regarding China’s reported denial of visas to three South Korean college students in the U.S. planning an orchestra tour in China, a source said Thursday.
      According to a U.S. news report, the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music in New York said Tuesday the band had canceled plans to tour China this winter after Beijing refused to issue visas for its South Korean members.

      The news report cited Eastman Dean Jamal Rossi as claiming that the move came in response to Washington’s 2016 decision to deploy an advanced anti-missile defense system, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), to South Korea.
      A source familiar with the matter in Seoul, however, said on Thursday what the American university claimed has so far turned out to be untrue. According to the source, none of the students from the band or tour organizers have applied for visas yet.
      The source also said the visa process was being handled by a local agency in the U.S.
      It was unclear whether the agency had prejudged that South Koreans would not be allowed to travel or why Rossi made such an accusation.
      When asked for a comment over the matter, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a briefing on Wednesday that it was not aware of the situation, describing it as “an individual affair.

  • Bill says:

    First Korean as a permanent member, perhaps, but not the first Korean to get a job playing in the orchestra.

  • FrauGeigerin says:

    Well done. That means 1) she is a great player 2) she understands the workings of the orchestra and its sound 3) she is a nice person and most people like being around her. Finding out these things is the reason behind having these long trials. Congratulations!

  • Axl says:

    Yeyy!! Well done Ms Park!

  • Fan says:

    She is an incredible musician! Fantastic news! Well deserved!

  • Caranome says:

    Great article about effect of blind auditions on women hiring and general rise of females in orchestras: http://www.unz.com/isteve/the-feminist-inflection-point/

  • Dave says:

    I looked at an old YouTube video of the Berlin Philharmonic from the 70s. There wasn’t a female’s face to be seen. The musicians were all white males. Maybe we are finally seeing some progress after all these years.

    • Axl says:

      The (permanent) first woman was Madeleine Caruzzo who was appointed 1982 and is still playing in the orchestra. Retired hornist Fergus McWilliam was said that BPO always looking right musician – not the best player even that BPO players are the best. So that is one reason that why they don’t have so many ladies. When Abbado come in chief and lot’s of “old guard” musicians retired in 90’s and (at the time) new young players come to orchestra – that was beginning the new era. Now there’s again lot of retirement’s so that might be chance to appointed more very talented females. But the gender is not the main thing. Let’s hope that they found quite quickly new players – despite that are they males or females, white or black and so on.

    • FrauGeigerin says:

      In the 70s there weren’t many musicians in orchestras ANYWHERE, including the US. The Berlin Phil has MANY women now, and they have had them for along time. The progress is not recent. You need to read more, Dave.