Biz news: Piano star dumps French agency for German

The Korean pianist Seong-Jin Cho has switched general management from Solea in Paris to KD Schmid in Hanover.

In North America he remains with Primo Artists.

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  • KD Schmidt was (or is?) not a ‘pleasant’ agency, if I think of what I heard in the eighties and nineties: employees were under pressure to ‘get’ a fixed number of engagements per month and risked being fired if they ‘underperformed’. Also they exploited Dutch agency Interartists Holland, some directors conducted an antique trade on the side.

    • I’m genuinely curious why you feel it’s a bad thing for employees to be held accountable to produce results for the artists they represent?

      • It is not a matter of accountability. The performance of employees at a music agency cannot be standardized, because the parameters of the efforts to get engagements for the artists are too haphazard and random and too different, also the contexts can be entirely different. For instance: one employee finds 17 engagements in a short period, but 8 are due to a festival that sudenly needed replacement for sick performers; another employee gets only 10 engagements but of 3 he/she has worked carefully over a year to get good contracts, say for a conductor. How could you assess and compare the work done for such different results? If under pressure to get a certain number of contracts within a time frame, employees may offer artists for lower fees to get a financial edge, which will create other problems later-on, or they will focus on artists who sell more easily than others while those others are much better players (thus stimulating commercialism instead of artistic achievement). And then, imagine the atmosphere among the employees, the anxiety, the rivalry, the invitation for intrigue and cheating. The result is another factor which threatens to kill-off classical music, I would call it the ‘maffioso factor’.

  • Weird why he changed?

    It seems that he is having an incredible career after winning Chopin. I wonder if there wasn’t enough going on for him, or there were any conflicts?

  • Striking loss for the agency, but expected. Cho deserves better. I heard the conductors in Solea have zero engagements.

    • May be true but they’ve only got 3 conductors and they look young and new. Seems like a strong solo roster with the other superstar pianist, Beatrice Rana.

  • I am really glad he’s got rid of Solea. I am a big fan of this great pianist of our era and have been keeping up with what was occurring publically around him. He chose Solea over prestigious agencies because he preferred a smaller agency and Zimerman advised him to go with his gut feelings. I hardly see Solea was doing anything to promote Cho’s career almost non-existent even though they were his primary agency. Compared to Solea, his North and South American management agency, Primo, has been very engaged and proactive with him.

  • The small boutique is loosing its most important artist in the very difficult time to the big agency…no solidarity between managements even in this terrible situation ?

    • The English usage is with one ‘n’. Just as we designate Munich not München, Brunswick not Braunschweig.

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