Conductor steps down from French orchestra

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Conductor steps down from French orchestra

Maestro Chung Myung-whun has put down the baton he held for 15 years as principal conductor and music director of Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France after a final concert on Friday.

According to the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, where he also serves as principal conductor and artistic director, Chung decided not to continue his positions in France.

His final performance with the orchestra was held at its concert hall under the title “Merci Maestro.” According to French media outlets, Chung conducted pieces including Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 and Mahler Symphony No. 5, for two and a half hours, receiving a standing ovation at the end.

He became the first maestro in the orchestra’s history to be given the title “honorary music director.”

Finnish maestro Mikko Franck will succeed Chung as the new music director.

In an interview with Yonhap’s correspondent in Paris after his final show, Chung revealed he aims to take German orchestra Staatskapelle Dresden to Pyongyang in November in the hopes of improving inter-Korean relations by holding a classical concert in the Communist nation.

The project has not yet been confirmed, however.

Chung also expressed his desire to finish working for the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, which was recently embroiled in controversy over accusations of sexual assault levied at its former president by staff members and allegations regarding Chung’s inappropriate use of its budget and his high salary.

He told Yonhap that it costs a lot of money to run the orchestra, but added that raising it to a world-class level will not come cheaply. He also expressed irritation about people accusing the orchestra of squandering taxes.


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