Reunion of Chung Myung-whun and SPO abruptly canceled

By Shim Woo-hyun
  • Published : Dec 3, 2018 - 16:31
  • Updated : Dec 3, 2018 - 16:50

The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra will not be reuniting with its former music director Chung Myung-whun after all as the conductor withdrew from an upcoming engagement, citing health reasons.

Chung has canceled all upcoming concerts until he recovers as advised by his doctor, according to a recent announcement made by management company Askonas Holt’s Martin Campbell-White.

Maestro Chung Myung-whun speaks during a press conference in August to promote the concert commemorating the 120th anniversary of Deutsche Grammophon. (Credia)

Young French conductor Lionel Bringuier will take Chung’s place at the podium Thursday and Saturday at the Seoul Arts Center.

The concerts would have been Chung’s second return to the SPO since his departure at the end of 2015 after 10 years with the orchestra. Chung last conducted the SPO in August 2016 at a concert marking the opening of the Lotte Concert Hall.

The cancellation of the much-anticipated reunion on the occasion of the 120th anniversary of the Deutsche Grammophon label comes as a disappointment to fans. Among the works to be performed are Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 Op. 74, which Chung and the SPO recorded under the Deutsche Grammophon label and released in 2012. Also among the label’s SPO-Chung recordings was “Unsuk Chin: 3 Concertos” from 2014, which was shortlisted for a prestigious Grammophon Award.

The programs for the upcoming concerts at Seoul Arts Center remain unchanged. Pianist Cho Seong-jin, the winner of the 2015 International Chopin Piano Competition, and internationally acclaimed violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter will perform with the SPO on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

By Shim Woo-hyun (ws@heraldcorp.com)