Chicago Symphony names new sub-principal

Chicago Symphony names new sub-principal


norman lebrecht

January 24, 2023

We hear that Danny Yehun Jin, 23, has won the post of assistant principal second violin in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Danny is a Curtis graduate, still based in Philadelphia.

His bio says he began learning the violin aged three, making his debut with the Seoul Royal Symphony as a soloist at the age of nine.


  • Bone says:

    When I saw his pic, I guessed that he was not in the brass section.

  • Robert Levin says:

    Danny is a student of the emminent violinist and teacher Ida Kavafian at the Curtis Institute of Music and has also attended the Heifetz Institute. Ida is a disciple of the great Oscar Shumsky, who studied with Leopold Auer, so there is a direct link to Jascha Heifetz and Nathan Milstein. Himari Yoshimura, the phenomenal wunderkind who is the talk of the violin world, is also studying with Ida at Curtis.

  • Old Man in the Midwest says:

    Glad that the D&I programs are working as planned.

  • william osborne says:

    This brings to 19 the number of fully Asian members in the Chicago Symphony compared to 0 in the Vienna Phil. This is notable because from a quarter to a third of the students at Vienna’s University of music for the have been Asian for well over half a century, but none have ever been accepted by the Vienna Phil.

    In his memoirs, published in 1970, Otto Strasser, a former chairman of the Vienna Philharmonic reveals why:

    “I hold it for incorrect that today the applicants play behind a screen; an arrangement that was brought in after the Second World War in order to assure objective judgments. I continuously fought against it, especially after I became Chairman of the Philharmonic, because I am convinced that to the artist also belongs the person, that one must not only hear, but also see, in order to judge him in his entire personality. [Three screen is always removed for the third round of the Vienna Phil’s auditions.] Even a grotesque situation that played itself out after my retirement, was not able to change the situation. An applicant qualified himself as the best, and as the screen was raised, there stood a Japanese before the stunned jury. He was, however, not engaged, because his face did not fit with the ‘Pizzicato-Polka’ of the New Year’s Concert.”

    A look at the orchestra shows that the tradition continued. It is thus very happy news that an Asian-American violinist who was a member of the Vienna Phil Academy is in a trial year at the Staatsoper and could in three years be tenured into the VPO if all goes well. This would be a sign of meaningful progress. (Forgive me if I ignore responses here by anonymous reactionary cowards.)

    • Violinist says:

      CSO has 24 “fully” Asian members, one of them is retiring so when this young gentleman joins, the number will remain the same

      • William Osborne says:

        Thanks for the update. Interesting. I mention “fully” Asian since the VPO has three partially Asian members who are children of VPO fathers. This makes the exclusion of full Asian members even more complex.

  • Lothario Hunter says:

    “I once used the word oriental at a rehearsal in Chicago, and afterwards, during a break, I was politely pointed out, “Maestro, it would be better if you used the term asian instead of oriental.” I tried to explain that I wasn’t capable: ‘I’m sorry, I grew up with this word, for me the Orient is something wonderful. And besides, what am I if you’re Asian?’ The answer was, ‘You’re caucasian.’ Killed me. (laughs)” Riccardo Muti, quoted by Die Zeit in a September ’22 interview.

    “News started to circulate among the theater’s workers [at La Scala] who still remember some rants of Muti against other maestros (like the definition “il cinese” for Myung-Whun Chung)” from Il Mattino article “Teatro alla Scala, lite furiosa fra i direttori d’orchestra Muti e Chailly: cosa è successo” (“Teatro alla Scala, furious fight between conductors Muti and Chailly: what happened”)

  • EagleArts says:

    Why is it the generally older, experienced players are never chosen thru this audition process? The process clearly amounts to age discrimination. How many string players who are past 40 advance in auditions? The deck is stacked.

    • Munchee says:

      IMO that’s because of the blind auditions but it would be interesting to know how many of the applicants were above/below 40.

    • Violinist says:

      Perhaps because there are very few people over 40 who keep practicing like they did in their 20’s? Majority of people stop playing concertos and other demanding repertoire the moment they earn tenure so their playing level starts dropping ever so slightly, most of them are not even aware of it. The process is always blind so there is no grounds to claim discrimination

  • Cindy says:

    Of course two positions remain open from this audition, much like their recent double bass audition. Perhaps the CSO has deepened its already rubbish reputation for a shambolic audition process. There must be a myriad of reasons why many important players have left over the Muti tenure.

    How can orchestras continue to leave so many positions unfilled and not expect a slow decline of quality and morale? I can not speak for how the CSO sounds these days, but I am not hearing positive words from those in the know.

  • Roger Rocco says:

    Congratulations for your appointment to one of the greatest orchestras in the world! Bravo maestro!

  • Ernie says:

    Having heard the CSO in Mesa Arizona and again last night in Orange County my ears tell me that the demise of the great Chicago Symphony is greatly exaggerated. Also, last night, Muti was chatting and signing CD’s for the audience post-concert.

  • Michel Lemieux says:

    Who is he related to? The CSO is a hotbed of nepotism.